Six Nations Public Health Services is sounding the alarm and begging people to stay home as the community grapples with a record 116 active cases of the virus this week.
It’s the highest number of positive cases on the territory since the pandemic was declared a year ago.
Four Six Nations people are currently battling the virus in hospital. Three people have died.
The spike in cases caused Six Nations of the Grand River (SNGR) and Six Nations Health Services to urge people to stay home and only go out when necessary.
“Our healthcare workers are overwhelmed,” read a press release from SNGR on Monday. “They are working diligently to keep our community safe, perform an increasing amount of Covid-19 tests, and conduct contact tracing. We owe it to them to follow public health guidelines to prevent any further spread of Covid-19 within the community.”
Six Nations has been in alert level black – the most restrictive Covid alert level for the community – since January. Level black means most businesses are shuttered for the time being, aside from essential services.
Although there is no official statement on what caused the recent spike in cases, SNGR has asked the community to “avoid gatherings of any size outside of your immediate household.”
Public health is also encouraging people to self-isolate if they’ve been exposed to someone with Covid-19 and to only leave their homes if absolutely necessary, encouraging online shopping and the use of curbside pick-up for essential items.
“Following these guidelines is more crucial than ever as the case count within the community continues to rise. Each swab is being monitored for variants of concern. While none have been identified, we are concerned about the rapid spread of the virus.”
Six Nations declared a state of emergency almost a year ago after the World Health Organization deemed Covid-19 a global pandemic in mid-March, citing repeatedly the vulnerability of Six Nations people and their high rates of underlying health conditions that could make Covid outcomes worse for the community.
Despite that, Six Nations was not prioritized for the Covid-19 vaccine as were remote northern First Nations in Ontario.
Only health care workers, frontline workers and elders in long-term and assisted living facilities have received the Covid vaccine on Six Nations.
Six Nations Health Services did not respond to numerous requests for comment questioning why case counts rose rapidly and when the vaccine rollout will begin for the rest of the community.