WINNIPEG -- The chief of a Manitoba First Nation said they are dealing with the COVID-19 situation in the area "day by day, hour by hour" as it continues to be hit hard.

The Opaskwayak Cree Nation has 124 positive cases of COVID and one death. The hardest-hit area in the community is the Rod McGillivary Memorial Care Home, where all 28 residents are positive cases.

On Monday, Chief Christian Sinclair said the situation is dire at the care home as many staff are also at home self-isolating because they too have COVID-19.

"We are getting some that are coming back. We did talk with Mr. (Brent) Roussin at the province to waive our normal policies for professional medical staff who have to wait 14 days," said Sinclair, who added this will help fill the void for the staff that are working and also get a more regular schedule back in place.

He noted, of the residents at the care home, 17 have symptoms of COVID-19, while the other 11 are asymptomatic.

Sinclair has said the First Nation is in contact with the federal government to provide additional help if needed, which could include bringing in the military.

Depending on how much support is needed, Sinclair said they could have additional support from the feds within the next 24-48 hours.

He said right now, they are doing the best they can to support those in the care home and they have learned from other regions the importance of nutrition and hydration especially when a resident has COVID-19.

All residents have also been given cell phones so they can communicate with their loved ones while they self-isolate.

Outbreaks in surrounding communities are also becoming a problem for the area according to Sinclair.

"Knowing that those are going to create demands for medical supports as well and that's already putting pressure here on the region in Opaskwayak and The Pas."

Sinclair said they are working on testing everyone in the community using rapid testing and that blockades continue to be set up to help prevent the spread of the disease.

The First Nation is roughly 600 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg and has an on-reserve population of 3,800 people.