2 First Nations in northern B.C. see spike in COVID-19 cases

British Columbia

2 First Nations in northern B.C. see spike in COVID-19 cases

A female elder from the Nak'azdli Whut'en First Nation near Fort St. James died last week from the disease.

The disease killed a female Indigenous elder last week

Nak'azdli Whut'en First Nation Chief Aileen Prince, right, and the First Nation's health director confirmed several more COVID-19 cases during a live-streaming event on Friday. (Nak'azdli Whut'en)

Two First Nations in northern B.C. confirmed 27 new cases of COVID-19 last week, and reported the death of an elder due to the disease. 

Aileen Prince, chief of the Nak'azdli Whut'en First Nation near Fort St. James, confirmed 13 active cases on Friday, nearly double the number of active cases from the previous week.

On the same day, the Witset First Nation near Smithers confirmed 14 new cases.

The elder who died was a woman from the Nak'azdli Whut'en First Nation.

“It was a sad event for the family,” Prince said to Carolina de Ryk, host of CBC's Daybreak North. “There [were] other circumstances that came into play, so it wasn't very sudden.”

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged the death of the elder last week and offered her condolences.

Watch Aileen Prince confirm more COVID-19 cases on Friday:

The Nak'azdli Whut'en Nation also announced a COVID exposure event at the Nak'albun Elementary School in Fort St. James between Sept. 16 and 18.

Prince said the Nak'azdli Whut'en Nation's administration offices are already partly closed and businesses are limiting the number of customers allowed inside. She said the First Nation is providing food and medication pickup and delivery services to its members.

Earlier in September, the Takla Nation confirmed several COVID-19 cases in Fort St. James, and said potential exposure events included a headstone rising ceremony on Aug. 30 and a wedding on Sept. 5.


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With files from Daybreak North

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