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COVID-19 cases rising sharply within Stoney Nakoda First Nation

Indigenous Services Canada warns those attending a public gathering in the last 10 days, such as a funeral, wedding or birthday party organized event, “may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus."
20200326 Stoney Nakoda COVID 19 0038
A sign along Morley Road notifies the residents of the Stoney Nakoda Nation about the risks of COVID-19 on Thursday (March 26). EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO⁠

STONEY NAKODA – As cases begin to climb at Stoney Nakoda at Morley, health authorities warn anyone who attended a recent public gathering to get tested immediately.

The current transmission risk is considered high, with seven new COVID-19 cases reported on May 5, bringing the total number of active cases being managed by Stoney Health Services to 43, including variants of concern.

Indigenous Services Canada warns those attending a public gathering in the last 10 days, such as a funeral, wedding or birthday party organized event, “may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.”

“We are very concerned about the high number of cases of COVID-19 in Morley,” said Dr. Chris Sarin, deputy medical officer of health in a letter to community members.

“We understand this is a difficult time, but continued adherence to all public health guidelines is important in limiting the spread of COVID-19.”

The food bank in Morley is also closed until May 17 due to a positive case within the organization.

The Iyahrhe Nakoda Food Bank Society says no further information can be provided at this time out of respect for the privacy of staff and volunteers.

“A deep cleaning and sanitization of the building will be occurring,” the society stated in a note to the community.

Indigenous Services Canada, Alberta region (ISC-AB), is working with Stoney Health Services to ensure contact tracing can continue and testing is available to all of those at risk.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is advised to visit the testing site at the Morley community gym between 11 a.m and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and this Saturday (May 8).

Community members experiencing symptoms of the virus must self-isolate for 10 days after the onset of symptoms, and until symptoms are resolved – whichever is longer.

Dr. Sarin said that under no circumstances should anyone leave their property during self-isolation, adding those requiring assistance with food, water, cleaning supplies or medication delivery to call the Stoney COVID line at 403-669-8511.

“At this time, ISC-AB continue to work closely with Stoney Health Services to support increased testing and case management,” he said.

“The health and safety of Morley community members remains our top priority.”

Since the pandemic began, there have been 527 cases of COVID-19 managed by Stoney Health Services at Morley. The running total of variant cases is 34.

Six people have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Stoney Health Services reports they have vaccinated 1,275 people so far. Moderna vaccine is available to any Nation members over the age of 18. Walk-ins are available Tuesday-Thursday from noon to 5 p.m.