Chief reports ‘unchecked’ COVID outbreak at Kettle & Stony Point

Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. 24 August 2020. (BlackburnNews.com photo by Melanie Irwin)

The chief of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation is reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 after a spike in cases from tests done Monday.

In a Facebook post, Jason Henry said a total of 20 cases were confirmed Wednesday, bringing the community’s number of active infections to 22.

He said after doing a good job preventing the spread over the past 50 weeks, they let their guard down a bit.

“We do know that there is a community outbreak being spread person to person and between households in the community,” said Henry. “The protocols still are what they are. You have to wash your hands, wear a mask, and practice physical and social distancing by sticking to your bubbles.”

Henry said the spread is “unchecked so to speak” and there will likely be more confirmed cases in the coming days.

“There were 50 tests administered on Monday, 20 results have been sent back to us so far, and all 20 were positive,” he said. “That’s what was officially reported to the health centre. We know that there are more contacts in this outbreak, and likely more people involved. Other people have mentioned that they have had symptoms and haven’t been tested. I can’t put enough stress on the importance of getting tested.”

He said anyone who has been in contact with someone outside of their household, or has been to a gathering in the past 14 days, should get tested.

“Stay home except for essential purposes, and dedicate one shopper,” he said. “Sanitize things when you bring them into the house, and take all of the precautions necessary.”

Lambton Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade said they’re working closely with the First Nation.

“We’re actively working with them to help address things like contact tracing, while at the same time working with them to plan out their immunization clinic that’s going to happen very shortly.” said Dr. Ranade.

Hillside School was closed Monday until March 15 as a precaution and off-reserve schools remained open but students have been asked to study at home.

There’s been a total of 35 confirmed cases at Kettle and Stony Point since the pandemic began with 13 considered resolved.