Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse encourages all band members to err on the side of caution in light of the coronavirus. (File photo)

B.C. First Nation chief urges caution in rural areas amid COVID-19

“We all have to do our part and look out for one another”

As health officials work to get a grip on the spread of COVID-19, a vocal First Nation Chief in the north is urging his members to err on the side of caution.

“It never hurts to play it safe, especially if you have people in your family who have underlying health issues and illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, asthma and heart conditions,” Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonsetold Black Press Media Thursday, adding for the time being he is shutting himself down and will not be travelling to any big cities in the near future.

The new coronavirus has to be taken seriously, he said.

“On its own up against a healthy body the coronavirus might make a person really sick and they have a good chance of coming out of it OK, but if they have underlying issues it can get really serious.”

With Italy seeing the loss of more than 1,000 lives to COVID-19, Alphonse said it is concerning and very sad.

He encouraged band members to take the time to stock up on food, to limit contact with other people, be vigilant with handwashing and keep informed by checking with media.

“We all have to do our part and look out for one another, check on family and friends to make sure everyone is OK. Clean your homes — the best thing we can do is stop the spread of germs.”

Read more: Connect with your elderly neighbours during COVID-19 crisis

Read more: COVID-19: How the City of Williams Lake and School District 27 are responding to concerns



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