The Nuxalk Nation has declared a state of local emergency due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the community. (Black Press file photo)

The Nuxalk Nation has declared a state of local emergency due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the community. (Black Press file photo)

‘The COVID cases are skyrocketing’: Nuxalk Nation declares state of local emergency

“The only way we can get past this again is by working together.” - Iris Siwallace, EOC director

The Nuxalk Nation in the Bella Coola Valley has declared a state of local emergency due to increasing numbers of COVID-19 in the community.

“The COVID cases are skyrocketing,” said Iris Siwallace, the community’s emergency operations centre director Friday, Jan. 13. “We went from four to 30 cases in a few days.”

The local state of emergency will remain until Tuesday, Feb. 1.

An order issued by Chief Samuel Schooner on Jan. 12, states the community will remain closed to visitors, including Nuxalk members living outside the valley who are not fully vaccinated.

Self-isolation is also ‘strongly recommended’ for seven days for anyone travelling out of Nuxalk territory who has not received two vaccines and is 12 years and up.

Siwallace said by issuing the order the hope is to keep the case numbers down and get it under control.

“Be safe,” she added. “The only way we can get past this again is by working together. We’ve done it before and if we continue to have the momentum and that drive we will have safety in our community for the most vulnerable. That would be great to see. Love, peace and oolichan grease.”

Potential flooding

In anticipation of flooding due to the large snowfall recently, the Nuxalk Nation is providing sandbags to its members as a proactive move.

“We really did not get a big flood in the fall or during the freshet season so we will see flooding for sure after the snow melts,” Siwallace said. “We are going to see some flooded basements in our community.”

There are also efforts underway to remove some snow to alleviate potential floods.

Homes are not flooded yet, as of Friday Jan. 14.

Anyone needing sandbags can call the EOC 250-799-5613, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email eocdirector.nuxalk@gmail.com.

Environment Canada noted Thursday, Jan. 13 there was 39 cm of snow on the ground in Bella Coola. Its site does not differentiate snowfall from precipitation, however, it showed there has been 249.1 cm of precipitation December 2021 and to date in January 2022.

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