Nisga'a health authority warns of COVID-19 exposure at treaty negotiator's funeral
The funeral procession for Dr. Joseph Gosnell, also known as Sim’oogit Hleek, is seen in this still from a video posted to YouTube by the Nisga'a Nation. (Nisga'a Lisims Government/YouTube)
VANCOUVER -- The Nisga'a Valley Health Authority is warning members of the Nisga'a Nation and others who visited the Nass Valley last week about a possible COVID-19 exposure.
According to a notification posted on the nation's website Saturday, someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus travelled into the valley sometime between Aug. 17 and 28.
The health authority says anyone who attended events related to the funeral of Dr. Joseph Gosnell between Aug. 21 and 25 should contact the NVHA Clinic in their community and also notify the chief administrative officer of their village government.
Those residing outside of the Nass Valley are asked to contact their local health authority and identify as a possible COVID-19 contact.
The Nisga'a Nation is also imposing travel restrictions and a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for those who attended services that took place on Aug. 24 and 25, according to the notification.
Gosnell, also known as Sim’oogit Hleek, was a hereditary chief of the Nisga'a Laxsgiik (Eagle) Clan. He was the president of the Nisga'a Nation when it finalized the first modern treaty between a First Nation and the governments of British Columbia and Canada in 2000.
He died of cancer on Aug. 18 at the age of 84.
Possible exposures in northeastern B.C.
The Nisga'a announcement comes just a day after Northern Health announced possible COVID-19 exposures in northeastern B.C.
A notice from the health authority on Friday indicates that recent events and gatherings in the Prespatou region, north of Fort St. John, may have led to exposures to the coronavirus.
Northern health says it is unable to identify and follow up with all possible contacts of the person or people who tested positive in the area, and is advising anyone who attended "any events, services or gatherings (however large or small)" in the region since early August to self-monitor for symptoms and seek testing if they develop any.