Tla-o-qui-aht moves back to Stage One of recovery plan

Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, November 5, 2020

In order to protect residents in its remote communities, today the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation announced more stringent measures to protect from COVID-19 exposure, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for those returning to the coastal villages. (Sam Beebe/Wikimedia Commons)

Tofino, BC — 

As COVID-19 cases in B.C. begin to surge, the Tla-o-qui-aht Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and council have shifted gears. In an effort to keep their most valuable members safe, the nation announced that it is moving back to Phase One of their recovery plan.

On Thursday, the province announced that 425 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in B.C over the last 24 hours.

The majority of new cases were recorded in the Fraser Health region and Vancouver Coastal Health region, with seven cases confirmed on Vancouver Island.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that no new deaths have been recorded, but the number of active cases has risen to 3,389, with an additional 7,519 people isolating due to exposure.

“Our recovery plan may differ from the B.C. recovery plan due to our high number of vulnerable members and our unique remote location, in a popular tourist destination,” read a press release from Tla-o-qui-aht’s Emergency Operations Centre.

The EOC will continue to meet regularly to discuss the evolving circumstances around COVID-19 within the region and beyond.

“The COVID-19 cases are increasing across British Columbia and even increasing on Vancouver Island,” said Elmer Frank, Tla-o-qui-aht EOC chair. “We took it upon ourselves because of recent events to ensure that we maintain COVID-19-free communities in Tla-o-qui-aht territory. We want to continue ensuring that we’re ramping up our measures to continue that success that we’ve been having over the last eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The return to Phase One means that members who want to move home after spending time away will have a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon their return.

Entrances into communities will continue to be gated, allowing only residents and essential workers beyond the checkpoints.

A 9 p.m. curfew is still in effect and community members who live away from home are asked not to visit at this time.