Piikani Nation reports 1st case of COVID-19

Piikani Nation has reported its first case of COVID-19.

Reserve borders continue to be closed to the public

Piikani Nation Chief Stanley Grier is pictured in a file photo. The Nation has confirmed its first case of COVID-19. (Reid Southwick/CBC)

Piikani Nation has reported its first case of COVID-19.

"The confirmation came late last night, and we are taking all the necessary precautions to prevent further contamination," Chief Stanley Grier wrote in a letter posted to the Nation's Facebook page on Saturday. 

Grier said the identity of the person who tested positive will not be released to protect their privacy, but said close contacts of the person have been contacted.

Due to the positive test, Aakom-Kiyii Health Services, administration, parks and recreation and the Piikani Nation Lands department will be closed until further notice as a precaution, he said.

Grier said members are asked to continue to take precautions like washing and sanitizing their hands and practicing physical distancing.

Reserve borders continue to be closed to the public, and public gathering sites are closed as well.

"We have the members' best interest at heart and our thoughts and prayers go out to he member currently fighting this virus, as well as their family," he said.

The Nation has about 3,600 members, many of whom live on two reserves in southern Alberta. As of Friday afternoon, there were no active cases of COVID-19 in the Municipal District of Pincher Creek, which has a population of 8,302. There were 592 active cases across the province.

First Nations across Canada have implemented curfews, lockdowns and checkpoints in efforts to keep residents safe during the pandemic.

Experts have expressed concerns that COVID-19 could disproportionately hit Indigenous communities, which could be at higher risk for negative health and economic outcomes.