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First Nation sets curfew after resident in close contact with confirmed COVID-19 case

Chief says they're 'prepared and on stand-by should the situation in Taykwa Tagamou Nation change'
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Taykwa Tagamou Nation (TTN) has put in a curfew after learning a resident had been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. 

According to a news release, the community near Cochrane learned Aug. 5 that a TTN resident had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. The resident is in quarantine while waiting for the test results. Close contacts of the resident are self isolating.

A curfew went into effect in the community at 10 p.m. Aug. 6.

"As soon as we received the notice, we followed our community's COVID-19 plan that was created by our Emergency Response Team. We have been meeting regularly, following all updated guidelines, and working closely with our public health partners," said Chief Bruce Archibald in a news release. "We're prepared and on stand-by should the situation in Taykwa Tagamou Nation change."

In the Porcupine Health Unit area, there have been 72 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Of those, 63 are recovered and eight people have died. As of yesterday, there was one known active case in Timmins.

So far, there have been no cases in the First Nation communities in the area. 

One of the positive tests is an employee at Kirkland Lake Gold's Detour Mine Site near Cochrane. 

A health unit letter notes that close contacts of the case with high risk for exposure have been followed up with. There is potential for exposure for people on site at the mining camp July 30 to Aug. 3.

Yesterday, Moose Cree First Nation also shared an update on the positive test at the mine site.

"All those who have been in direct contact with the person have been isolated and those who have been potentially exposed have been followed up with by our nurses and are aware of our community measures for travel quarantine and prevention. We want to ensure that the curve in our communities remains flattened," reads a Facebook post with the letter from the health unit attached.

"As a reminder, if you or anyone in your family has recently travelled or worked away from the community and is quarantined, please reach out to them by phone or FaceTime, shop for them. This virus makes it a very lonely time for many and we need your kindness and caring as always."

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, runny or congested nose, loss of taste or smell, pink eye, headache that is unusual or long lasting, digestive issues, muscle aches, unusual extreme tiredness, falling down often, or a sluggish or lack of appetite in young children in infants. Any resident who notices a symptom is asked to contact the Porcupine Health Unit.

"We want to ensure the community is informed and alert, and provide accurate information and the tools and resources required to ensure you keep yourselves and your families safe," Alyssa Gagnon, TTN director of health. "As First Nations peoples, we are at a heightened risk when it comes to COVID-19. We need to continue to protect our community by following stringent health protocols, self-monitoring, and getting tested."

Archibald is also reminding people to be kind to one another.

"Continue to follow the measures proven to reduce the risk of spread — physical distancing, hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, not touching your face, washing commonly touched surfaces, and wearing a non-medical mask or face covering when inside public spaces and outdoors if physical distancing is a challenge. We will let the community know if the situation changes in any way," he said. 

COVID-19 testing is open to anyone who feels they need to be tested, even if you don't have symptoms. To access testing, call your health care provider or the health unit.

There are COVID-19 assessment centres in Timmins, Cochrane, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Smooth Rock Falls, Hearst and Hornepayne. 

It is now open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It can be reached at 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818.

Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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