A local state of emergency has been declared by the Nuxalk Nation requesting a shutdown of all non-essential travel in and out of the community for 14 days. The declaration, dated March 21, describes the COVID-19 virus as an “imminent threat” to the Nuxalk Nation and requests anyone who has traveled in from outside the community self-isolate for 14 days.
The declaration states that “the Nuxalk Nation’s employees, servants, and agents will pursue closure of all non-essential access to Nuxalk Nation traditional territory.”
The Central Coast Regional District has also followed suit and declared a local state of emergency, saying that the district “must take immediate action to prevent the imminent introduction and transmission of COVID-19 into the Regional District and throughout each of its Electoral Areas, while ensuring the continued operation of essential services and the delivery of goods and supplies.”
Many small and remote communities have already taken similar measures to prevent an influx of visitors into their territories. Haida Gwaii, Denman and Hornby Island, and even Squamish have issued pleas for people to stay out while they grapple with the situation. The Northwest Territories has closed its borders entirely to non-essential traffic after confirming its first case of the disease.
At present there are NO cases of COVID-19 in the Bella Coola Valley but officials are warning even one case could put immense strain on the local healthcare system.
People are being requested to take social distancing seriously across the country with federal Minister of Health Patty Hadju saying the people who don’t could ‘put our civil liberties in jeopardy.’ Hadju anticipates these measures will last months, stressing ‘now is not the time to take your foot off the social distancing measures.’