As La Loche deals with an outbreak of COVID-19 including cases in a long-term care facility and in hospital, the area MLA is demanding better provincial supports to help stop the spread.

Nearly two dozen people are being tested in what health officials believe as the transmission came from Alberta.

But Athabasca MLA Buckley Belanger said northern leasers have been diligently preparing for the coronavirus by creating local and regional plans. “Its not a question of if its going to happen, but when,” Belanger explained.

But what was considered a big fear among northern leaders and Chiefs is a reality in that Belanger said now the mission is to contact trace, test and stop the spread.

Yet Belanger asserts that many in the North are frustrated with the province in wanting more testing, equipment and direct municipal funding to deal with the issue.

“They are now considering, the mayors and Chief are, considering a total lockdown of the whole north because of the poor response by the provincial government,” Belanger explained.

New restrictions are coming next week for long-term care facilities, limiting staff to only work at one location, unless there is a staffing shortage.

La Loche has implemented a nightly curfew and could issue fines.

“We are hearing, loud and clear, the anxiety and frustration of people in the North,” said NDP leader Ryan Meili. “We know that too many of these communities already have less access to health care services and are more likely to face challenges such as crowded housing. It is urgent that the province deliver concrete supports for all communities in the North.”

Belanger said its time either the province lead the charge or provide the financial resources to the North so they ca do it alone.

The Sask. Health Authority is expected to provide an update on La Loche today.