The chief of Gull Bay says his community needs more testing after six people in the community tested positive for COVID-19.
Wilfred King says Gull Bay has the highest capita of positive cases in Ontario First Nations.
“We have two young children that have tested positive as well, so we’re really concerned about that,” he said.
Gull Bay is 180 km north of Thunder Bay with approximately 350 on reserve members.
The first positive case was confirmed on April 15, King told APTN New Wednesday evening.
The man, who owns the community store, was evacuated to Thunder Bay on April 11 where he remains in hospital.
On Monday, three more tests came back positive and two more positives were confirmed Wednesday.
One test has come back negative and four are still pending.
All eleven are connected to the store owner, according to King.
King says he’s worried the virus has already made its way through the community.
Lac Des Iles mine is about an hour drive away, where many community members work.
There have been 17 reported positive cases from the mine since the beginning of April. Workers have since been sent home or to hotels for isolation.
“That represents almost half of the cases in the Thunder Bay area and we feel the person might have caught it from there or it might have came from Thunder Bay, we’re not 100 per cent sure,” he said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit reported 18 active COVID-19 cases and 37 resolved cases in the district which includes Gull Bay.
King said he made his concerns clear to the provincial and federal governments about the mine but also the need for a community testing centre.
“Our concern is we’ll have people coming to our health centre requesting to be tested and there’s a good chance of cross-contamination in our building which other people are using for other medical reasons could get contaminated with that virus,” he said.
King said a field testing facility has been approved for Gull Bay and he hopes to have it finalized in a teleconference call with Indigenous Services Canada and Health Canada on Thursday.