Chief reminds people Seabird Island is still closed, after resident tested for COVID-19

Latest instance a reminder that ‘pandemic is not over yet’ says Chief Jim Harris

After a Seabird Island community member experienced flu-like symptoms and was tested for COVID-19, the community’s chief reminded residents about the continued closure of the nation to visitors.

Jim Harris, chief of the Seabird Island Band, informed community members on Monday (July 20) via the nation’s Facebook page that a community member had undergone testing yet it was unlikely there had been community exposure. “While privacy is protected, if you have been exposed you would know very quickly,” he stated. Harris added a result from the test would normally come in 24 hours.

In an update on July 21, Harris stated he understood the community’s concern about the “scare” the community had the day prior. He reminded members that the province’s contact tracing “is one of the strongest in North America.”

A protocol agreement is in place between the First Nations Health Authority and Fraser Health’s public health unit where a community’s chief is informed should someone test positive for COVID-19. “At this point, I have not been notified of any positive COVID-19 cases on Seabird Island,” Harris stated in a July 23 update.

Harris reminded people of the continued closure of the around 1,000 strong community to visitors, unless approved by Seabird Island leadership. Seabird is one of several First Nations from the Fraser Canyon into the Fraser Valley who have closed their doors to visitors since mid-March. Many nations posted closure notices, with some communities posting security guards at checkpoints at the entrance to their lands.

Read more: ‘Closed to the public’: Hope area First Nations brace for COVID-19

Pandemic ‘not over yet’ Harris reminds community

“This pandemic is not over yet,” Harris said in a July 21 video address to the community. He reminded people about the need to maintain physical distance and to only socialize within their own household ‘bubbles’ as B.C. moves into stage three of pandemic recovery.

“Don’t be afraid to wear a mask in public, when you’re out shopping or if you need to ride a transit bus,” Harris said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

In the video message, Harris acknowledged how difficult these restrictions have been on the community as it has prevented summer gatherings, sports events and meeting during times of mourning.

“The hardest part about not being allowed to gather is when we lose a family member,” he said. “We like to show our respect to the family that has lost someone by going to sit with the family, offering them help and support in any way we can.”

The Seabird Island band office, Harris wrote, has been following protocols including symptom checks for staff on a daily basis, reducing the amount of staff in the office at one time to 2 at a time as well as cleaning protocols and making sure staff work from home where possible.

The Hope Standard was unable to reach Chief Jim Harris for an interview as of publication time.

Read more: First case of COVID-19 reported on Haida Gwaii: Haida Nation

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Multi-vehicle crash shuts down eastbound lanes of Highway 1 at Annis Road in Chilliwack

Everyone asked to take detour at Annis Road and expect delays

First rainstorm of the season pelting the Lower Mainland

Batten down the hatches as heavy rains, wind, and some localized flooding possible

Atchelitz Threshermen’s big garage sale in Chilliwack goes ahead this weekend

The annual fundraiser for the association was delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Sprinkler system extinguishes fire in industrial building in Chilliwack

Progress Way building had only minor fire, smoke and water damage thanks to sprinkler system

UPDATE: Suspect who once killed a man in jail was arrested in Chilliwack after truck fire

Jordan Cole Burt was taken into RCMP custody while wanted on an outstanding warrant

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

RCMP investigating man reportedly hiking nude on Summerland’s Full Frontal trail

Potential charges against the man could include indecent exposure.

Grand jury indicts police officer in Breonna Taylor death

Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Attorney General of Canada defends Kelowna Mountie involved in rough arrest

Tyler Russell filed a lawsuit against Const. Siggy Pietrzak in June of this year

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Most Read