'Step up': Sask. Indigenous leaders call on province, RCMP to help as COVID-19 rips through northern community
SASKATOON -- The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is calling on the provincial government to "step up" as a northern community battles a COVID-19 outbreak.
In a news release, the FSIN said both public health orders and RCMP enforcement to ensure people who test positive for COVID-19 self-isolate are needed to get an outbreak in Buffalo River Dene Nation under control.
"Chief Elmer Campbell and health staff are running out of options and the death of our most vulnerable could increase unless reinforcements are brought in," Chief Bobby Cameron said in the release.
In the release, Cameron and Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) Chief Richard Ben also ask community members to do their part to control the spread of the virus.
"We encourage anyone who can get vaccinated to do so immediately and to continue to wear a mask and self-isolate if you've tested positive," Ben said.
Ben echoed Cameron's call for additional help.
"We're doing all that we can to support Chief Elmer Campbell and his staff who are working around the clock to contain this COVID-19 outbreak,": Ben said.
"They need more health support staff and they also need the RCMP to step in and enforce health and safety protocols and ensure gatherings are stopped."
The outbreak in the community began after 250 people from the community were temporarily evacuated to Lloydminster due to a nearby wildfire.
The number of cases in the community started to climb following their return.
On July 15, Buffalo River Dene Nation had only five active cases of COVID-19.
As of Thursday, there were more than 60 cases in the community according to the MLTC.