Calgary

Siksika First Nation, Blood Tribe declare states of local emergency as COVID-19 spreads in southern Alberta

Siksika First Nation declared a state of local emergency on Monday evening as a precautionary measure in response to the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta.

There are no confirmed cases on the First Nation and the declaration was done as a precautionary measure

Chief Ouray Crowfoot announced that Siksika First Nation has declared a state of local emergency on Monday, in response to the spread of COVID-19 in southern Alberta. (Siksika First Nation/YouTube)

Siksika First Nation declared a state of local emergency on Monday evening as a precautionary measure in response to the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta.

There are no cases of COVID-19 on the First Nation. The declaration was done as a precaution given the rising number of cases in the southern part of the province, Chief Ouray Crowfoot said in a video posted to the First Nation's website.

Crowfoot said the First Nation and its members are well prepared to face the situation and is activating its 24-hour emergency coordination centre.

"We are a resilient people here at Siksika. We've had to overcome a lot over the years," said Crowfoot.

Emergency management director Stacy Doore said the state of local emergency allows officials to prepare for when COVID-19 reaches the community.

We all have a role to play in protecting our elders.- Kelsey Solway, Siksika First Nation

"The state of local emergency is just that next step so we can start focusing on how we can help and better prepare Siksika Nation," Doore said.

A notice posted to the First Nation's website stated that as transmission is expected to continue in the province for months, cases are expected to reach the First Nation.

"We all have a role to play in protecting our elders and those with chronic conditions," Kelsey Solway, the First Nation's communications director, wrote in the notice. 

Alberta reported 18 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 74, and the City of Calgary declared a local state of emergency on Sunday in response to the pandemic.

Siksika is located roughly 70 kilometres east of Calgary.

Blood Tribe also declared a state of local emergency late Monday evening, announcing $500,000 be allocated to support members. 

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde has said COVID-19 could pose a deadly threat to more remote First Nation communities. 

Indigenous communities were hit disproportionately hard during the 2009 outbreak of H1N1.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

Important reminder: The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.

  • Have you got a news tip tied to the COVID-19 outbreak? You can reach CBC Calgary at calgarynewstips@cbc.ca or CBC Edmonton here

With files from CBC Politics

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