Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)

Cowichan Tribes confirms 1st death amid growing COVID-19 outbreak

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

Cowichan Tribes has had its first death from COVID-19.

Chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the death on Tuesday, although he didn’t have any specific details.

“I never got a name,” he said. “I was just informed that we lost a community member.”

Cowichan Tribes announced on Monday that there had been 171 cases in the community, up from 128 a week earlier. Of those 171, 125 had recovered, six were in hospital, and 39 were in isolation. The First Nation was able to vaccinate 600 of its roughly 5,000 members on Jan. 13 and 14.

“It looks like the number of recoveries is pretty good,” the chief said. “I’m praying.”

In line with their traditional teachings, and to honour and respect the grieving family, Cowichan Tribes has also said it will take a break from providing updates on confirmed COVID numbers.

A shelter-in-place order for Cowichan Tribes members has been extended two weeks. It was originally scheduled to end on Jan. 22, but will now stay in effect through Feb. 5

Under the shelter-in-place order, all members are required to stay at home. Access to residential areas and residential buildings on reserve land is restricted. Barriers and checkpoints have been set up to enforce the order and provide information.

Residents may only leave their homes for work, school, medical appointments, to get groceries, medicine or other essential items, or to care for a family member who is ill. Households are asked to designate one person to go shopping, and to limit shopping trips to once per week. If possible, they should order over the phone and have essential items delivered to their homes.

Residents are not permitted to gather or hold events indoors or outdoors with people from outside their household.

Squtxulenhuw has also informed local businesses about the specifics of the order following some racist responses in the larger community to the Cowichan Tribes outbreak.

“It’s got to stop,” he said. “I sent a letter out to all the stores and restaurants explaining the order. We’re not locking up our community; only if someone has tested positive do they need to go into isolation. I hope they understand that. I’ve had a couple of calls apologizing. It’s getting out there. I’ve had some feedback, and it’s all been positive.”



kevin.rothbauer@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusCowichan Tribescowichan valley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aaron Harder and Lee-Anne Chisholm will be presenting a show at the Quesnel Art Gallery in August. (Cassidy Dankochik photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Art Gallery prepares for full 2021 schedule

Shows from March until December are planned and scheduled at the gallery

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

An aerial photograph captures snowmobile tracks in the Cameron Ridge area earlier this year, which is closed to snowmobilers. The closures are in place to protect sensitive caribou herds. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Snowmobilers fined for operating in closed caribou habitat near Likely, B.C.

The investigation revealed they had spent several hours in the closure leaving extensive tracks

Quesnel Safeway manager Gloria Moskalyk and assistant manager Rose Staats hand nearly $11,000 in gift cards donated by customers over the holidays to Major Randy Gatza of the Salvation Army. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Salvation Army gets boost from Safeway customers

Donations at the grocery store over the Christmas season totalled nearly 11K

A strong surplus in 2020 means smaller tax increases in 2021. (File Photo)
2020 surplus leads to smaller Quesnel tax increase

A planned tax increase of 4.7 per cent was reduced to 2.5 per cent

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Most Read