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COVID-19 cases rising on northern Saskatchewan First Nation

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A health authority in northern Saskatchewan says people are refusing to be tested for the coronavirus.

The Athabasca Health Authority reported the first COVID-19 case on the Fond du Lac Denesuline Nation just over two weeks ago.

As of Sunday, 63 cases had been reported at the remote northern First Nation, 52 that are active. The health authority said it has also identified 325 close contacts in the community of roughly 1,000.

Read more: Water, COVID-19 crisis hits northern Saskatchewan community

In a Facebook post, the health authority said along with people refusing to be tested, people directed to self-isolate are still out in the public.

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“Many of these people are frequenting the Northern Store and other areas of the community putting everyone at risk,” said the post signed by Derek Keller, the executive director of primary health care for the Athabasca Health Authority.

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“This includes the nurses and paramedics who are caring for everyone in the community. If they all go down with COVID-19 we may have a disruption of service in the community.”

Large gatherings are also a concern for the Athabasca Health Authority.

“There continues to be house parties in the community with many people attending,” the post said.

“We are aware of a party that had over 50 people attend this past week. This event has the potential to be a super spreader within the community.”

Read more: Mask mandate comes into effect provincewide as Saskatchewan tries to tame COVID-19

The Athabasca Health Authority said the virus will continue to spread in Fond du Lac until the “entire community complies with the recommendations of public health.”

“Whether you believe this virus is real or not, we all have an obligation to follow the public health orders that the federal and provincial governments have enacted. These have been implemented for everyone’s safety including our elders and young children.”

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A new public health order that came into effect on Nov. 19 in Saskatchewan restricts private gathering to five people.

Masks are now also mandatory in all public places in the province.

The measures are in place until at least Dec. 17.

Saskatchewan will do everything it can to avoid another lockdown: Moe
Saskatchewan will do everything it can to avoid another lockdown: Moe

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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