Muchalat Inlet, near Gold River, British Columbia. (Wikimedia commons)

‘It’s scary’: Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation identifies first COVID-19 case

After the First Nation member tested positive in Gold River, the community is being closely monitored for more cases

A resident of Mowachaht/Muchalaht Fist Nation (MMFN) in Gold River has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

In a letter to MMFN members, Dr. Mike Benusic, Island Health’s medical health officer for Central Island, said that the resident who tested positive for COVID-19 stayed home as soon as they were feeling unwell and decided to get tested.

Island Health communicable disease nurses have traced and identified people who were in contact with the person who tested positive from the First Nation. They have been notified, assessed for symptoms and are isolating.

“We are intensely looking for other cases of COVID-19 in the community by closely monitoring those who have been exposed,” said Dr. Benusic in the statement, and added that there may be additional cases detected in the process.

“We are all working with community leadership and First Nation Health Authority to ensure that everyone is supported,” said Dr. Benusic.

Gold River residents and MMFN members have been asked to stay at home if they are sick. To get tested, residents can call the Gold River Health Unit at 250-283-2626 to book an appointment.

MMFN has continued its shutdown, and limited access to visitors like most First Nations in the vicinity despite B.C. moving into phase three of its reopening plan. Yuquot, also known as Friendly Cove, is still closed to visitors. In June, the First Nation opened its boat ramp in Gold River for B.C. residents after it was closed to all visitors.

READ MORE: First Nation announces Gold River boat ramp open to B.C. visitors from June 26

“It’s scary,” said Dorothy Hunt, MMFN lands manager after the first COVID-19 case was identified in the community and added, “this is exactly what the chiefs were worried about and wanted to avoid.”

Rene Mitchell, MMFN’s acting administrator said that the resident tested positive after travelling back from the mainland. Three other people who were in close contact are isolating and are being closely monitored, said Mitchell.

“We are closely working with Island Health, FNHA and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council nurses,” said Mitchell.

CoronavirusFirst NationsGold River