All residents at Opaskwayak care home test positive for COVID-19 prompting expanded lockdown

WINNIPEG — All of the residents and a number of staff members at a care home on Opaskwayak Cree Nation have tested positive for COVID-19, which has prompted a community-wide lockdown.

In a statement posted to the First Nation’s Facebook page late Friday night, it said an outbreak has been declared at the Rod McGillivary Memorial Care Home after all 28 residents had tested positive for the virus. It also noted 13 out of 48 staff members had also contracted coronavirus.

Earlier this week, Opaskwayak announced a resident at the care home died as a result of COVID-19. 

“We are very concerned about the gravity of this situation and are working with all partners including the Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team, the Northern Health Region (NHR) and First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB),” the statement reads.

The First Nation noted the outbreak at the care home is occurring in the context of widespread community transmission across Manitoba, including in OCN, The Pas, and the RM of Kelsey. 

“We are actively working on staffing plans to ensure that all of the residents of the RMMCH continue to receive high quality care,” reads the statement. “The staff of RMMCH will increase the frequency of assessments to quickly identify any residents who require transfer to a hospital setting as soon as possible.”

In response to the outbreak, Opaskwayak has initiated an expanded, full lockdown in the community for a period of 28 days at the recommendation of the Rapid Response Team.

Under the lockdown, everyone must stay home, except for one person who can leave to pick up essential supplies. Essential workers can continue to leave their homes in order to work, as can people who are in need of testing or medical care. All non-essential businesses must close, and no gatherings are permitted with people outside of the household.

The entire province was moved to Code Red restrictions on Thursday in response to surging cases in Manitoba. OCN’s lockdown measures are on top of the current guidelines. 

The Rapid Response Team is conducting testing over the weekend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for OCN community members and employees who are showing COVID symptoms or who are close contacts of confirmed cases. 

OCN is located approximately 630 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. 

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