Lower Post, B.C., 'getting hit pretty hard right now' by COVID-19

The small northern B.C. community of Lower Post is dealing with a number of COVID-19 cases, and local officials are asking visitors to stay away.

'We've just got to get on top of it while we can,' says Harlan Schilling of the Daylu Dena Council

'It's a little bit of a crazy time to be going through, said Harlan Schilling, deputy chief of the Daylu Dena Council, seen here last summer. Schilling and his two-year-old daughter have both tested positive for COVID-19. (Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada)

The community of Lower Post, B.C., is asking visitors to stay away as it deals with new cases of COVID-19.

"We're getting hit pretty hard right now," said Harlan Schilling, deputy chief of the Daylu Dena Council.

"We've had the rapid testing team here in the community for like four or five days now, and we're still getting more and more cases every day."

Schilling couldn't say exactly how many people in the northern Indigenous community are infected. About 200 people live there.

The community sits just south of the Yukon border, off the Alaska Highway. The nearest hospital is in Watson Lake, Yukon, about 23 kilometres away.

Schilling himself has tested positive, as has his two-year-old daughter, so they are isolating at home. He says his daughter has mild symptoms and he is asymptomatic. Schilling says he has been vaccinated.

"It's a little bit of a crazy time to be going through," he said. "It's all ages and you know, everybody's doing exactly what they have to. Like I said, we've just got to get on top of it while we can."

Schilling couldn't say how many in his community have been vaccinated, but said the number is "fairly high."

Schilling says the vaccination rate in Lower Post is 'fairly high.' (Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada)

"The children and the elders are our biggest concerns, and so, you know, the precautions are being put in place to protect them," he said.

Schilling says people are being asked to not visit the community right now. 

He said on Monday that he was planning to talk to other government officials about what kind of support Lower Post might need. He's already heard from Chris Irvin, mayor of nearby Watson Lake.

"We have the most supports in the world, I feel like, in our tiny little community and we're pretty grateful for that," he said.

"But, you know, I think the rest is just kind of up to us, to buckle down and beat this little bit of a scare we're going through right now." 

With files from George Maratos