Two Innu Nations in Labrador reporting double-digit COVID cases

Once free of COVID-19, Indigenous communities in Labrador are now seeing cases in the double digits.

Natuashish Innu Nation, about 300 km north of Goose Bay, is reporting 30 cases out of a population of just over 900 people.

Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation, 30 km north of Goose Bay, has 14 active cases with more than a 1,000 people.

So everyone is being told to stay home.

“We are all in this together,” said Erin Saunders, an Inuk from Goose Bay, who tested positive.

“And, you know, being afraid is a normal thing with this virus because it can be deadly. I’m just grateful that my symptoms are mild.”

But isolating is harder in a fly-in community with a shortage of housing like Natuashish, said Chief John Nui.

“I hope the numbers stay the same where they are,” the chief said.

“But if we run into problems with more numbers, and we need to isolate more people – we just don’t have no resources right now.”

Nui said he has been assured the province will provide additional supports.

“I have spoke with the premier,” he added, who said, “If there’s anything that you guys want us to do to help out more, please to call him. So I’m going to call him when I need to.”

In Sheshatshiu, approximately 40 residents received their second and third shots at the community centre this week.

Chief Eugene Hart is cautious yet confident it’s the best line of defence.

“It’s a whole new ballgame,” he said, “because you don’t know sometimes.”

The province is reporting more than 4,000 active cases, with 784 in the Labrador-Grenfell region.

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