COVID-19 has delayed the election for the Acho Dene Koe First Nation (ADKFN) in Fort Liard, again.
This announcement comes days after the election process was scheduled to begin on Jan. 22.
ADKFN says the delay is due to the current COVID-19 infections and related restrictions in the community.
According to a press release, Mary Beckett, the electoral officer for ADKFN was unable to travel into the community in order to assist the nomination process and won’t be allowed in until the lockdown is lifted, hopefully, on Jan. 30.
Fort Liard has been under a mandatory lockdown, advised by the chief public health officer (CPHO), since Jan. 16 – after a recent cluster of COVID cases were found in the community.
ADKFN says the actions to suspend the election are “necessary” and wants to assure members they will have a “fair opportunity” to submit nomination packages – with “a fair and reasonable timeline.”
ADKFN’s band office has been closed and staff are on leave, reads a press release.
Eligible nominees will now have more time to pay off any outstanding debts if they wish to participate in this year’s chief and council elections.
Dr. Kandola says she is “optimistic” the containment order in Fort Liard will expire on Jan. 30.
Territorial health leaders spoke on the recent cases of COVID-19 in a virtual media briefing on Jan. 27. Dr.Kandola was joined by Dr. AnneMarie Pegg, the territory’s medical director.
However, health officials say they have yet to identify the source of the mysterious case of COVID-19 found on Jan. 15 in Yellowknife.
Roughly 400 tests have been completed since, says the CPHO, with no change to the wastewater signal.
“These last two weeks have come with uncertainty and real sacrifice to keep COVID-19 under control,” she adds.
Nearly, 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the territory, while the territory awaits its third delivery of vaccines next month.