A civilian employee for the RCMP in La Loche has tested positive for COVID-19 and another six employees are in isolation as a precautionary measure, the police service announced on Friday.
The employee was tested on April 20 after they began displaying symptoms. The employee confirmed the results to the RCMP on April 23.
“Anyone who’s a first responder … they are at higher risk of COVID and they are first priority to get tested,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer.
“All first responders are recommended to seek testing quickly and there’s a dedicated OHS line for them, health care and others, to fast-track testing.”
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has a policy in place to order immediate isolation for first responders, including civilian employees, according to Dr. Rim Zayed, northern medical health officer.
Four of the other six in isolation in La Loche are civilian employees as well. The remaining two are officers. As a result, the RCMP said seven employees will be brought temporarily during the next few weeks.
The detachment, its vehicle fleet and other areas are being decontaminated.
There are 25 active cases in Saskatchewan’s far north, the most of any region in the province and more than the two largest cities combined. Saskatoon has 13 active cases as of Friday, while Regina has nine.
“We understand people who live in smaller, remote communities are worried about the spread of COVID-19. We share this concern,” RCMP said in a news release.
The detachment had been preparing for the possibility of a positive case for the last six weeks, the release said. Measures are in place so that employees and officers can continue responding to calls as needed.