Health officials on the Siksika First Nation are recommending additional public health restrictions after a new COVID-19 case cluster was identified on Tuesday.

Almost 80 nation members are currently in isolation, as health officials on the reserve work to contain the spread.

Community member Alayna Doore said her teenage son and mother tested positive weeks ago and both have since made a full recovery.

“It was terrifying,” Doore said.

“The first thing, you think the worst… We are blessed, they have recovered fully and tested negative a few times already, and are continuing to be safe and protecting the community,” Doore said.

The fear is an unfamiliar feeling for such a close and social community, located east of Calgary. Doore said Nation members aren’t used to being afraid to gather. But it’s something they know is too risky right now given the latest numbers.

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Siksika health officials have revealed 191 people are under active investigation for COVID-19, a number which has tripled over the past several days.

“In the beginning, chief and council implemented the local state of emergency that shut down business and community events, and that helped a lot,” Doore said. “People were starting to feel comfortable going out and going to the store. We still need to be careful, be kind and be supportive and take precautions.”

With 600 vulnerable nation members, Siksika health officials are pleading for people to follow health guidelines. There are currently 8 active cases.

“There is a high risk of community transmission on the Nation,” said a tweet on the Siksika Nation’s Twitter. “Please remember that COVID-19 can spread rapidly and gatherings are a significant cause of spread during this pandemic. A case of COVID-19 can spread like wildfire in groups of people who are in contact.”

“It’s creating anxiety and fear and blaming,” Doore said. “We have to remember to support each other and nobody did this voluntarily — it’s something that happened and we need to support each other.”

Additional health measures are in place on the nation in hopes of getting the virus under control and stabilizing the case numbers. Recommendations include limiting non-essential travel for nation members and restricting the numbers of gatherings both indoor and outdoor to 10.

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