Seabird Island Chief Jim Harris has reaffirmed the COVID-19 scare the community recently faced has passed.
“I’m glad the scare we had a couple of weeks ago passed by us without having to worry about anyone in our community getting sick,” Chief Harris said in a brief update.
During an addressed released to the nation on July 20, Chief Harris said a member of the community underwent testing for coronavirus; he further stated at the time it was unlikely there was any community exposure. The chief issued almost daily updates in the days following the initial address, in which he’d stated that as of July 23 he was not notified of any positive COVID-19 cases on Seabird Island.
During his late July updates, Chief Harris reminded the nation that the community continues at this time to be closed to visitors barring approval by Seabird Island leadership. Seabird Island was among the first First Nations in the Fraser Valley area to bar visitors, having had the precautionary measures in place since late March.
Though recent weather has seen a few cooler days, Seabird Island and the rest of the Fraser Valley found itself in the midst of a sweltering heat wave.
“Remember to keep yourselves hydrated by drinking a lot of water and keeping yourselves cool,” Chief Harris stated. “We still need to check in on our families to make sure they are ok in this heat.”
With the hot weather, fire season is also here, Chief Harris warned.
“There is a lot of dry grass, twigs, leaves, branches that can ignite easily, not only in the forest but in the parks, towns and city limits,” Chief Harris said. “This is one of the reasons for the campfire bans.”
A recent blaze near Harrison Hot Springs about four kilometres away from Sts’ailes Forest Service Road burned through 15 hectares of land as of Friday (August 7), further highlighting a need for extra precautions.
Chief Harris further urged caution when drinking while recreating outdoors, which can be particularly problematic with the hot summer weather.
“I hope the people that are enjoying their cold drink will do it responsibly. With these hot days, the heat might make the alcohol affect you faster than they normally would, so be careful,” he stated.
While there aren’t any formal measures in place, Chief Harris asked the nation to conserve water whenever possible during the summer heat as demand grows for a variety of reasons, including outdoor pools.
Chief Harris stated the forecast for fishing in the area is not looking good.
“There are some very low counts for sockeye runs heading up the Fraser,” Chief Harris said. “This is pretty sad that we are going to miss out on another year of harvesting sockeye for winter food again. I sure hope this gets better for our people to be able to preserve our sockeyes for the winter.”
– With Files from Emelie Peacock