The Lac La Ronge Indian Band is preparing in case a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in the La Ronge area.

The province is reporting 52 active cases in the far north region, and travel restrictions have been implemented to help stop the spread of the virus.

Chief Tammy Cook-Searson said the band is putting additional safety measures in place should the novel coronavirus spread in the area.

She said the band has been having weekly meetings with multiple health organizations and officials, such as the Medical Health Officer for the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority. The band’s own emergency control has been communicating twice a week.

“We’re getting ready in the event of a worst-case scenario if we have an outbreak,” she said. “And if we don’t have any cases then it’s good, but it’s better to plan and to be ready.”

The band is currently preparing alternative housing should a member contract the virus and is unable to self-isolate at home due to over-crowded housing. They are also ensuring extra staffing for hospitals and care homes is in place should any frontline workers contract COVID-19.

The band has added increased safety measures to protect one of the most vulnerable populations–the elderly. Nurses can only work in one care home and must wear all necessary personal protective equipment while at work.

Cook-Searson said severe cases of COVID-19 would be sent to Saskatoon for care whereas more mild cases could be treated in La Ronge.

Cook-Searson said while there is still work to do, she appreciates the efforts of all trying to help contain the virus.

“I’m really grateful for all the workers out there and everybody that’s helping,” she said. “Because it takes each and every one of us to make a difference in this pandemic that we’re in.”