Alberta’s Blood Tribe sees 1st death related to COVID-19

Southern Alberta’s Blood Tribe confirmed its first COVID-19-related death on Friday, saying one of its elders had lost their fight with the illness.

“Sadly, earlier this week, the tribe reported the loss of one of our elders, related to complications due to COVID-19,” the nation said.

“The emergency management respected the time and space of family and friends in coping with their significant loss.”

The Blood Tribe saw its first case of the novel coronavirus on April 29. By May 14, the total had risen to seven. Within four days, seven more people had fallen ill with COVID-19.

The tribe didn’t give an update on case numbers on Friday.

The tribe said Friday its emergency management team is continuing its work to keep the outbreak from spreading further.

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“We need to ensure our members are following the safety precautions and measures that have been put in place,” director of the emergency management team, Rick Soop, said.

As of Friday, more than 1,490 tests have been administered to residents of the Blood Tribe by the emergency management team.

As part of her Friday update on the novel coronavirus in Alberta, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw applauded the Blood Tribe as she shared success stories about the First Nations’ response to the virus.

“Staff in this community have implemented measures like establishing a 35-bed clinical isolation facility for community members who fall ill with COVID-19 or for those who were ill and need a place to isolate while awaiting swabbing results,” Hinshaw said.

She also commended the tribe on its delivery of 2,540 food and cleaning packages to its members to ensure they had support they needed.

“Also, the community health and essential services staff in this community are working hard to continue testing, contact tracing and care for those in quarantine and isolation and all Blood Tribe administration programs and departments have shown dedication to the well-being of their people.”

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