January 16th, 2021

Blood Tribe declares local state of emergency over COVID-19

By Kalinowski, Tim on March 18, 2020.

The Blood Tribe declared a state of local emergency earlier this week as it prepares to deal with COVID-19. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Lethbridge Herald

The Blood Tribe Reserve has declared a state of local emergency as it prepares to deal with COVID-19.

Chief Roy Fox issued a state of emergency declaration for the Blood Reserve on Monday.

He also announced $500,000 to be allocated to supports for Blood Reserve residents that need assistance for food and sanitation assistance.

“We will provide $500,000 and use the profits of our initiatives to ensure that we are able to cover those basic costs,” Fox said. “We would like to provide packages to our people especially to those of our people who cannot afford to acquire additional items for prevention.”

Fox said a portion of that money would be going toward ensuring members had proper hygiene and cleaning products like bleach at home.

“Our people, you have told us it is good you are informing us of what we ought to be practising at home so we do not allow this dangerous virus to come on to our lands and begin to harm us,” he said in an address to residents on Monday. “But you have also told us, ‘that’s all well and good but some of us can’t afford it.’ And so this is why we have made this important decision to mainly help those of our people who cannot afford to expend additional monies to their already limited resources.”

Fox said only those without employment on the Blood Tribe Reserve would be eligible to apply for extra assistance.

Fox also had some words of encouragement for those concerned about what could come.

“Much good work has been done by our people, by the team that has come together, from all the departments,” said Fox. “Our council, our staff, and others have worked hard to ensure no harm comes to any of our members.”

Other measures to deal with any potential COVID-19 outbreak on the reserve include:

– Blood Tribe administration will only be offering essential services while the outbreak continues.

– The Disaster and Emergency Management team will be meeting regularly to address the current COVID-19 situation.

– On top of closing daycares and primary and secondary schools, Red Crow College will also be suspending classes and moving classes online.

A statement released by the college says, “For students without computers and internet access you are asked to contact your programs immediately. Classes will be online operational by March 23. Please note that the student that was being tested for the coronavirus, tested negative. There is no threat to staff and students at this time.”

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