Red Sucker Lake First Nation in Manitoba latest community to be hit with COVID-19 outbreak

Red Sucker Lake First Nation is the latest community in Manitoba to face an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and has declared a state of emergency and initiated a lockdown to contain the spread.

The remote fly-in community roughly 535 km north of Winnipeg

Chief Samuel Knott and his family are one of many in the community to have tested positive for the virus in the fly-in community roughly 535 km north of Winnipeg.

Knott, who has been in isolation since Dec. 11, says most households in Red Sucker Lake use a pail as their primary source of water.

“We’re vulnerable, we’re in third world living conditions here in the community. I have often addressed that to the department many times before and you know I did predict this if we were to get hit this Covid you know we won’t be able to contain or handle this outbreak and sure enough you know it’s upon us,” Knott told APTN News from his home in Red Sucker Lake.

Knott added the number of positive cases is at 57 as of today but he says the actual number is much higher due to testing limits within the community.

A reconnaissance team from the military was sent in over the weekend to assess the situation.

NDP MP Niki Ashton said the situation in Red Sucker Lake is much the same as Shamattawa.

“This is the moment where we need to see the federal government pull out all the stops for Red Sucker Lake, ensure that they are there for every single community dealing with the COVID-19 crises, recognizing that for remote communities it is particularly challenging and let’s see everything to be done to save lives in this community,” said Ashton. “That’s what this is about, lives are on the line, we need to see the federal government step up and save lives now.”

In Shamattawa – the community has over 350 cases.

More military arrived in Shamattawa over the weekend and the number of military personnel sits just below 60.

Chief Eric Redhead said Monday once a vaccine arrives he will be getting it and encouraging others to get it, but not before those most vulnerable.

“When we do get the vaccine I am going to take it, I’m going to encourage everyone to take it. It is a choice but I choose to protect my family, I choose to protect my friends and I choose to protect the community by getting vaccinated,” Redhead said in a Facebook video Monday.

Manitoba has 21,535 cases of which 5,762 are active. Another 508 people have died.

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