Manitoba First Nation moves to code red; goes back into lockdown

A remote Manitoba First Nation has been moved to the code red (critical) level on the pandemic response system, and has gone back into lockdown.

According to Manitoba’s COVID-19 update for Oct. 7, health officials have been seeing “concerning” COVID-19 case numbers in Mathias Colomb Cree Nation.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the chief and council have directed that public gatherings aren’t allowed and residents must stay home, except to go for testing, medical care, or to get essential supplies.

Mathias Colomb is making exemptions to these measures for hunting and fishing season, as well as for people who work in essential services and need to leave home for work. Residents must also wear non-medical masks outside of their homes.

Manitoba’s First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team (PRCT) said there have been 88 cases of COVID-19 on reserves in Manitoba since Monday. The team is urging people to get vaccinated.

"On reserve, there are about 27,500 First Nations people who are 12 or over who need either one or both doses to be fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Marcia Anderson, public health lead of the PRCT.

“This is going to have significant public health impacts in terms of reducing transmission chains and reducing likelihood of outbreaks. So we can't slow down or stop promoting the COVID-19 vaccine or providing it.”

Anderson noted more than half the cases are in the 12 to 29 age group, adding that outreach continues in communities with low vaccine uptake.

Provincial public health officials are working with community members and other partners to address the situation in Mathias Colomb.