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Onion Lake Cree Nation announces COVID-19 testing kit recall, confirms one active case in area

The Onion Lake Cree Nation has announced that some of the COVID-19 testing kits used in the area have been recalled.

The Cree Nation says they received word from Indigenous Services Canada this week that the EZ PRO SWAB HANKS MEDIUM kits distributed in Saskatchewan had been recalled by the manufacturer. Some of these kits have been used for COVID-19 tests in Onion Lake as far back as June 11th, 2020.

As a result, Indigenous Services Canada Medical Health Officer Dr. Ibrahim Khan has endorsed retesting anyone from the Cree Nation who may have been checked using the recalled items.

Onion Lake Health Director Albert Jimmy said in a video statement that the recall was not initiated by the Onion Lake Health Board, and these tests should no longer be used.

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“ISC has arranged for [an] immediate supply of testing kits from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and these replacements have been received as of yesterday [July 8th]”

The Onion Lake Health Board is currently contacting people who may have been tested with the recalled kits as needed. They are still encouraging people to make use of community testing, which they have conducted 650 of since the pandemic began.  This can be arranged by calling Health Link 8-1-1 or the Onion Lake Healthline.

Albert Jimmy also confirmed one active COVID-19 case in Onion Lake during his update. He says this person may have travelled between Lloydminster and Onion Lake.

“We are presently investigating more contacts, and the public health officials have taken steps to notify the community residents.”

As of July 9th, Onion Lake remains in Phase One of re-opening, by their own decision. There is not a travel restriction for people leaving the OLCN, and checkpoints will be unmanned starting July 10th. Jimmy reminds residents to continue monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, practice hand cleaning, wear a mask when outside, physically distance, and if residents travel to a large gathering outside the community, to self isolate for 14 days.

Residents who think they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 should also self-isolate, and contact health authorities for next steps.

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