Chief and council vote for two-week lockdown following COVID-19 case in Montreal Lake

Montreal Lake Cree Nation is in total lockdown until July 24 at 8 p.m. in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Chief Frank Roberts made the announcement on July 8 after receiving confirmation of one new case in the community. Residents were allowed to leave to check trap lines or purchase essential goods, but had to return before the lockdown went into effect at 8 p.m. on July 10.

“The ones who came into contact with the person who tested positive, they’re going to have to self-isolate.” Roberts said in a video posted to the Montreal Lake Cree Nation Inter Agency Facebook page. “All others are encouraged to remain within or around their households to prevent cross contamination.”

The community also closed public access to daycare, public works and housing administration, education centres and the Camp Hope detox centre. They will still provide essential services, but residents must phone ahead for an appointment.

Public gatherings are also banned, with the expectation of funerals and weddings. However, any participants must use hand sanitizer, wear masks and socially distance, and only 10 people can be in the room at one time.

Amanda Nelson, the nurse manager at the William Charles Community Health Centre in Montreal Lake, asked residents to be respectful and patient over the next two weeks as they try and keep the lone case from spreading.

“From everyone at the health centre, we have been preparing for this for the last couple of months,” Nelson said in the video. “Thanks to all the families and households who have been self-isolating and completing their social distancing. Hopefully we can nip this in the bud and come out of this healthy and stronger.”

Nelson encouraged any residents to stay home when sick, even if they didn’t think they had COVID-19. She also encouraged residents to call the 811 health line to schedule testing appointments.

Montreal Lake is located roughly 106 km north of Prince Albert.