Tk’emlups te Secwépemc is mandating that masks be worn in public buildings on its reserve.
The face-covering protocol is to be adhered to whenever a two-metre (six-foot) distance between people cannot be maintained, such as in hallways, staircases or shared vehicles.
In a video update, Tk’emlups Chief Rosanne Casimir said the decision comes in response to the impending second wave of COIVD-19 as case numbers have been rising in B.C.
“The use of face coverings have shown to significantly reduce the transmission and exposure of the virus,” Casimir said.
Anyone who visits TTS offices, such as couriers, band members or staff from other buildings, will also be asked to complete a contact tracing sheet.
The band has been stockpiling personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies in preparation for the second wave.
Casimir noted there have been exposures to COVID-19 cases within neighbouring First Nations communities, including a recent case among the Adams Lake Indian band west of Kamloops.
“These cases are a reminder of the need to be diligent,” she said.
Entering this weekend, there were 12 active cases of COVID-19 in the Interior Health region, including two people who are in hospital. The region has a population of about 725,000 and stretches from Lillooet, east to the B.C./Alberta border, and from the Williams Lake area, south to the Canada/U.S. border.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 123 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed across the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap region, including 12 between Sept. 18 and Oct.1, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. Within the Kamloops region alone, there have been 60 confirmed cases of the virus between January and the end of August.