The acting chief of the T'kemlups te Secwepemc First Nation says COVID-19 cases are rapidly emerging in the community.
Acting Chief Justin Gottfriedson, who is filling in for Chief Rosanne Casimir following a COVID-19 diagnosis of her own, said the community went from 12 to 20 cases over the weekend.
"Exposures are happening at a rapid rate. Numbers are starting to double," he wrote in a letter to the Tk'emlups te Secwépemc community posted to Facebook on Monday (Feb. 8).
The letter asks people to stay home if they have symptoms, to use physical distancing and to wear masks.
"It is hard not to visit our friends and family. That is not our way. But it is time to stay vigilant," he wrote.
Gottfriedson said vaccines are on the way, but noted there is no definitive date they will be received.
B.C.'s COVID-19 vaccination plan includes Indigenous seniors ages 65 and older in its second phase, which is supposed to take place from February to March. But recent supply-related delays have limited the number of vaccines available to administer.
Gottfriedson said until everyone is vaccinated, health guidelines need to be followed.
"We need to continue to look after ourselves and each other by being committed to upholding COVID compliance measures," he wrote.
Gottfriedson says band members who require COVID-related support can contact Ron Tronson and the emergency line at 1-877-346-0792.
Casimir announced on Feb. 5 that she and her husband had tested positive for COVID-19.
Casimir appealed to others to be safe, noting she contracted COVID-19 even while following advice of health officials.
“I am an example of someone who has kept my bubble small, upheld all the safety precautions, wore a mask, washed my hands and still caught the virus,” she said.
“I am proof that even one person from your household bubble can bring home the virus. Take every precaution you can. Continue to practise and limit exposure. Stay home as much as possible. Wear a mask if you must go out to public places and wash your hands frequently. If you are not feeling well, stay home. The more we practise this, the sooner we can limit virus’ spread and get us closer to a more social normal one day.”