You have to be aware of what you are in control of and what you are not, said the chief of Tl’etinqox First Nation which is beginning its first 14-day lockdown due to the novel coronavirus.
The community 100 kilometers west of Williams Lake went into lockdown at 6 p.m. on April 24 after the Tsilhqot’in National Government learned on April 21 a Tsilhqot’in member released from a Lower Mainland correctional institution had stopped in to visit family and later tested positive for COVID-19.
Access to the community has been reduced to one entry point, which is being manned by security.
“Any situation you have to be aware that in times like this, in times of crisis that people are going to be overacting,” Chief Joe Alphonse said. “You have to take one issue at a time and control your own emotions and not get too high or too low at any point and keep doing the best that we can.”
The two-week lockdown was not immediately implemented so to give time to members who were not in direct contact with the positive individual time to gather supplies and food.
“We all have to do our part and we have to be thoughtful of being protective and isolating ourselves as much as we can,” Alphonse said. “If everybody does this then this crisis will be over as quickly as it came.”
Calling education the best tool they have, Alphonse added they continue to move forward and do everything they can to protect their community and that nobody wants to be discriminated against.
“The vast majority of our people are supportive in what we’re doing and whether or not our community was exposed, this is good practice,” Alphonse said. “It’s not a matter of if your community is going to be exposed, it’s a matter of when.”
-Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to note it is the community’s first lockdown.