An ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 has pushed the start day of Ahousaht’s elementary and high schools back to the second week of October.
On Friday, Sept. 24, Ahousaht administration issued an update stating that there were 18 confirmed cases in the village of Maaqtusiis, with an addition four cases away from home. One of those cases was reported to be hospitalized.
On Monday, Sept. 27, the First Nation reported 19 active cases in the village with another 8 members testing positive for COVID-19 away from home.
For this reason, Chief Councillor Greg Louie announced that Ahousaht is closed to non-residents until further notice.
Both elected and hereditary leadership extended condolences to the family of Mark Jack, who passed away on the weekend. They noted that the decision to close the village came after the passing of the elder and former councillor. Louie said they would make exceptions for family members that are already enroute to the village that are not experiencing flu-like symptoms.
The secondary school principal issued an announcement stating that the Ahousaht Education Authority is taking the advice of B.C.’s medical health officer and extending the school closures until Oct. 8.
Free food distribution started shortly after the pandemic began, to help people access food without risk of exposure to the virus. But that ended several months ago. The nation continues to offer food purchase service where people can make a grocery order, pay for it, and have it delivered to the village.
The grocery is being restricted to window service to help prevent unnecessary person-to-person contact.
The Ahousaht General Store is offering to deliver ordered groceries to Mattie’s Dock to further help people avoid unnecessary trips out of Ahousaht.
Ahousaht administration is working on getting two or three trailers for people that need to isolate. For now, if a person has tested positive the entire household must isolate together for the duration of the quarantine period, said Louie.
The First Nation is concerned about residents that are partying. Louie says they receive reports from members concerned that partyers are mingling and going from house to house.
“People need to stay home and we need the cooperation from family members,” said Louie. He asked them to monitor their family members and bring them home.
“If you need support, call Cha chum hiyup at 250-670-9558 for support if you need it,” Louie implored. “We have children under the age of 11 who are not vaccinated and we have people whose immune systems are severely compromised.”
Ahousaht administration is delivering food care packages to those that are isolating in the community, but they don’t have the names of people that tested positive. Swan noted that people can email firstname.lastname@example.org if they are in need of food and cleaning supplies. That includes members living away from home. Those needing support must provide proof of positive test result.
Of its population of approximately 1,000, Ahousaht has vaccinated 508 adults in the village, 428 of whom are fully vaccinated. A further 57 youth ages 12-17 are at least partially vaccinated.
On Friday, Sept. 24, there were 5,979 active COVID cases in BC, with 660 active cases reported by Island Health.
From Sept. 9 – 22, 73 per cent of active COVID patients that required hospitalization were not vaccinated. Eight per cent of hospital cases were partially vaccinated and 18.1 percent were fully vaccinated.
The BC Centre for Disease Control advises people that the two doses of Pfizer-BioNtech or AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD provide very good protection against the Delta variant, especially against severe outcomes.