Tuesday, November 24, 2020

COVID-19: Saskatchewan’s northernmost communities hit with outbreak

SASKATOON, SASK.; DECEMBER 18,2014 - Flying around Fond du Lac in northern Saskatchewan, December 18, 2014.  (Gord Waldner/The StarPhoenix)

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He said the actual number of cases in Fond du Lac is likely higher, but a small number of people are refusing tests, declining to have their children tested or opting to self-isolate with family. Keller said he is urging people in the community to follow health advice, as most have, and stand together.

“We’re not doing this because we want to flaunt our power or anything. We want to keep the community safe,” he said. “Health care workers are putting themselves at risk too, because we don’t know who may have the virus and who does not.”

Ndubuka said the region was previously untouched by COVID-19, but on Nov. 6 someone with the virus travelled in by plane, and it spread quickly through gatherings and a school outbreak. Ndubuka added that overcrowded housing and issues with food security in the far north have exacerbated the challenges of self-isolation.

On a per-capita basis, the far north central subzone now has more cases than any other part of the province for which the Saskatchewan Health Authority provides data.

The outbreak has coincided with another problem: a mechanical issue at the local water treatment plant that has left Fond du Lac without potable water.

RCMP Sgt. Dave Pidlisny said the community has ordered 500 18-litre jugs of water by plane, which his detachment and volunteers are helping distribute.

“We want the community to recover from this and get life going back to normal,” he said. “It’s a huge strain on everybody.”

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