Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan Tribes reports fourth death from COVID-19

Second doses of Pfizer vaccine expected on March 8

Cowichan Tribes reported another death from COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the total to four since an outbreak began in the community at the beginning of 2021.

In a weekly update that came out on Monday, Feb. 22, the First Nation reported that it was up to 230 cases since Dec. 31. Of those, 202 have recovered, 20 are in isolation, four are hospitalized in intensive care, and four have died. A total of 84 households are affected.

Around 600 members of Cowichan Tribes, mostly elders, received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in January, and they can expect the second dose starting on March 8.

In a video posted to Facebook, also on Monday, Cowichan Tribes health director Derek Thompson reiterated the importance of sticking to the plan to keep the community safe.

“It’s really important to individually and collectively stay the course on the Provincial Health Officer’s directives and restrictions, as well as our own Cowichan Tribes shelter-in-place order, which chief and council have extended to March 5,” Thompson said. “And of course the pandemic response team will continue working together in an effort to respond appropriately to COVID-19. But until then, until we reach some semblance of contiunity around whatever our new normal is, it’s important for all of you to do your part and to really ask what you can be doing more in terms of keeping COVID-19 out of our community.”

Public health nurse Fairlie Mendoza also spoke in the video.

“It is at this time that we really need to double our efforts. We know what COVID-19 did to defeat us, so we know what our strengths are,” Mendoza said, listing off staying at home, making only necessary trips, and wearing a mask when out of the house or when asked to isolate at home.

She also urged people to get tested if they show any symptoms of COVID-19.

“Testing is an act of caring, not only for yourself, but your family and community,” she said. “Early symptoms can be very mild, so if you’re even feeling a little under the weather we encourage you to come and test.”

Testing is available at the Cowichan COVID-19 Assessment Centre at 5151 Polkey Rd. from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day. To make an appointment, call 1-844-901-8442. For transportation, call Ts’ewulhtun Health Medical Transportation at 250-746-6184.

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