British Columbia

Nisga'a Valley Health Authority warns of potential COVID-19 exposure in Nass Valley

The authority is warning that all those who attended several ceremonies contact their community clinics, their village government chief administrative health officer and self-isolate.

A person who tested positive traveled to the Nass Valley between August 17 and 28

The Nisga'a Visitor Centre, along with washrooms and other facilities in the Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park, have been closed after a potential COVID-19 exposure in Nass Valley in northwestern B.C. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

The Nisga'a Valley Health Authority is warning of potential exposure to COVID-19 after someone who tested positive for the virus travelled to the Nass Valley at some point between Aug.17 and 28.

The Nass Valley, in northwestern B.C., is home to the Nisga'a Nation.

The authority is warning that all those who attended several ceremonies, including a funeral, contact their community clinics, their village government chief administrative health officer and self-isolate.

The funeral was for Nisga'a leader Joe Gosnell, according to a tweet from his niece. Gosnell was one of the key negotiators in the historic Nisga'a treaty.

The ceremonies include the arrival of the deceased, the memorial, the funeral and the settlement feast for the Gitlax̱t'aamiks, between Aug. 21 and Aug. 25.

MP Taylor Bachrach, who attended the funeral, said he is now in self-isolation in accordance with the guidelines set out by the province and the health authority.

"We're following the steps and the recommendations from the health authority and just taking an absolute abundance of caution," he said. 

"These exposures are a bit of a wake-up call for all of us, it can be easy to become complacent and we need to guard against that."

A 14-day mandatory self-isolation period has been implemented for all those who attended the funeral, memorial, and feast on August 24 and 25.

Drive-through and walk-up testing and contact tracing are now available at all community health centres.

There are currently travel restrictions on who can enter Nisga'a land in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. All B.C. Parks in the area are also closed, including Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park.

With files from Andrew Kurjata

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