The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said the province needs to ramp up efforts to help curb the rising COVID-19 infections impacting the Buffalo River Dene Nation.

The Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority which declared an outbreak there Thursday, said the rise in the number of confirmed cases is linked to the community evacuation due to wildfires. Contact tracing is now underway.

“Chief Elmer Campbell and his health staff are running out of options and the death of our most vulnerable could increase unless reinforcements are brought in,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “We support his calls for action and are calling on Premier Scott Moe to help immediately.”

The FSIN is blaming the cases on a lack of public health orders and restrictions. The province removed all COVID-19 restrictions July 11, which also rescinded enforcement efforts.

“They need more health support staff and they also need the RCMP to step in to enforce health and safety protocols to ensure gatherings are stopped and COVID-19 is taken seriously,” explained Meadow Lake Tribal Council Tribal Chief Richard Ben.

Of the 356 active cases province-wide, 103 are located in the Far North West region, which the Buffalo River Dene Nation is situated.

Public health officials are targeting residents in Beauval & La Plonge, Buffalo Narrows, Creighton, Cumberland House, Ile la a Crosse, La Ronge, Pinehouse and Prince Albert will be offered walk-in, drive-thru and booked appointments.

These communities have been identified as under and unvaccinated municipalities.