Snuneymuxw reduces new COVID-19 cases to zero, lifts shelter-in-place order  

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There is finally some relief on the Snuneymuxw First Nation, after a COVID-19 shelter-in place-order was lifted Wednesday.

Chamin Manson saw eyes smiling from behind masks Thursday as he allowed vehicles to come and go from the COVID-19 roadblock he mans on the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

“Yeah the energy’s picked up,” said the Snuneymuxw First Nation member. “Everybody has a little more breathing room, a little more stretching.”

“Today’s new numbers we have zero test positive cases in the community,” said Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse.

“So we’re very happy to hear that today,” he said.

A shelter-in-place order that had been in effect for three weeks was lifted Wednesday by Chief and council after testing revealed the fast spread of COVID-19 on the Nanaimo First Nation had been stopped in its tracks.

“We care tremendously about each other and each other’s families,” said Wyse.

“Yeah everybody’s looking after one another and making sure everybody else is safe,” he said.

The order was put in place on January 1 when testing revealed 5 members of Snuneymuxw had active cases of COVID-19. According to Chief Wyse, the restrictions worked. From December 30 to January 21 there were 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Snuneymuxw, with one person dying as a result of the virus.

Now the community has dropped to zero new cases.

“To come to a day like this,” said Wyse. “That there are no new cases.”

Resident Tracy White credited Chief Mike Wyse’s quick actions for the breakthrough.

“He’s done a fantastic job,” said the Snuneymuxw member.

“With his leadership and leading the community through this challenging time and we’re just so grateful,” she said.

“Everybody can feel the pat on each other’s back somewhat,” said Manson.

“We’re very happy that we’re at the point today, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” said Wyse. “We got a lot of work to do yet.”

According to Wyse, the lifting of the order will mean re-opening the Snuneymuxw band office and a few more freedoms, but physical distancing and mask-wearing will still be in effect to stop COVID from gaining an upper hand again.

The community now turns its thoughts and prayers to Cowichan Tribes where residents continue to battle a growing spread.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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