SASKATOON -- The long term care home and hospital in the northern village of Ile-a-la-Crosse is restricting visitors after three people from the community tested positive for COVID-19.

The community is located more than 200 kilometres northeast of Meadow Lake. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will not allow any visitors inside both facilities unless its family members and support people for compassionate reasons.

That includes end-of-life care, major surgery, intensive care/critical care, maternal/pediatrics, long term care residents whose quality of life or care needs are unmet or those inpatients and outpatients with specific challenges.

“The health and safety of our patients and the employees who care for them is of utmost importance to the SHA and keeping people and employees healthy,” SHA said in a statement.

Ile a la Crosse RCMP have also restricted access to its detachment buildings because of the positive COVID cases and counter services will be available for appointments and emergency services only. Both the SHA and RCMP restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.

“We have been working closely with SHA along with the Chief Medical Officer for northern Saskatchewan. They’ve isolated the three people with COVID-19. They’ve done all the contact tracing. There’s other people in isolation in the community. We have been getting a lot of support from northern region 3 Metis Nation-Saskatchewan,” said Duane Favel, mayor of Ile-a-la-Crosse.

Favel said the three people who have COVID-19 were part of the Full Gospel Outreach series of events in Prince Albert from Sept. 14 to Oct. 4. The gatherings resulted in six cases of COVID-19 and many of the participants were reported not wearing a face mask. Favel said the health of the three in quarantine is good.

“They’re doing extremely well. I’ve spoken with them over the couple of days. They’re doing well and we’re hoping that trend can continue. Anytime when older people end up with COVID, it’s always a concern for us. There’s no more positive cases so we are optimistic that we can contain this and within 14 days be COVID-free again within our community,” said Favel.

Favel says it is now more important than ever for the community to continue with physical distancing and do their part to contain the virus.

“Continue to take the precautionary measures. Continue to social distance, hand sanitizing and of course now we move back to wearing masks within all public facilities within the community of Ile-a-la-Crosse. Social gatherings can only be 30 outside and 15 inside, as long as you can continue with social distancing. The community has been pretty good and we had no mass gatherings sanctioned by the community, people have been excellent in that sense in make sure we are all responsible,” added Favel.