CALGARY -- Alberta’s top doctor says it’s troubling and disappointing to hear reports that members of the Siksika First Nation were allegedly denied service at local businesses because of COVID-19 cases in their community. 

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of help, made the remarks during the province's COVID-19 update Tuesday. She noted that the pandemic does not discriminate and now is the time for compassion. 

"This is not the first time that we have heard such reports around COVID-19," said Hinshaw. "I know that Albertans of Chinese or other ethnic heritage and some religious groups have also at times been singled out and discriminated against.

"COVID-19 doesn't care where people come from or what a person's heritage may be. The virus is not restricted to any particular race, religion, or community."

Hinshaw did not disclose which businesses, or the services they offered, allegedly refused Siksika Nation members.

As of July 13, the Siksika Nation has confirmed that 17 of its 28 members with identified cases of COVID-19 have now fully recovered. 

Hinshaw says the community’s response to prevent the spread of the virus has been swift and the alleged discrimination is disheartening and could prove problematic in the battle against the spread of the coronavrirus. 

"When the result of that prompt and transparent action is stigma against their members, it sends a message against transparency and risks discouraging people from being tested, or cooperating with public health," said Hinshaw. "The members of the Siksika First Nation deserve better than that. All Albertans of every heritage deserve better than that."

In a tweet, the Siksika Nation thanked Hinshaw for her compassion. 

"We will fight stigma with kindness. We continue to proactively respond to COVID-19 in our community while showing compassion to those surrounding communities."

The Siksika Nation is located approximately an hour east of Calgary.