OHSWEKEN — As Covid-19 case counts skyrocket across the province and surrounding communities, Six Nations has moved into pandemic alert level five, with tight new restrictions in place.
The colour-coded alert level, with five being black, the highest risk level, signals an out of control spread of the virus with the tightest restrictions possible.
Six Nations moved into level five on Monday, just four days after Premier Doug Ford issued a province-wide stay-at-home order meant to curb the spread of the out of control virus.
There are currently seven active cases of the virus on Six Nations, with 130 positive cases to date, and one death.
Six Nations elected council released a statement urging all community members to avoid all non-essential travel starting Mon. Jan. 18 at 12:01 a.m.
“Due to the rise in case numbers not only in the community but in surrounding communities
combined with the recent provincial Stay-At-Home order, this tells us that we have to move
into the black Covid-19 alert level to prevent any further spread of the virus and to protect
our community,” said Elected Chief Mark Hill.
The move to the black Covid-19 alert level means complete restriction of any gatherings
outside of your immediate household, but permits single-member households to gather
with only one other household.
Level five also includes a stay at home advisory to avoid all non-essential travel unless for essential purposes (including but not limited to work, health care, and groceries).
Businesses are advised to offer delivery, curbside, and other contactless business transactions only; schools and daycares will remain closed, along with gyms, the bingo hall, sports facilities, and other personal care services; as well as designating essential workers only to work within all community workplaces, which is subject to the discretion of each businesses management.
Six Nations is working on a notice that will be shared next week outlining essential businesses within the community.
With this in mind, federally-run schools and daycares within the community have a new
reopening date of Feb. 10, 2021, which will be reassessed over the next few weeks. The black alert level will be reassessed on Feb.1.
The statement said the community needs to be aware that surrounding hospitals are reaching capacity, and if capacity is reached, this will then mean elective surgeries, along with other non-emergency hospital visits will be put on hold.
Meanwhile, Six Nations Police say they’re getting notice of quarantine checks coming to their office from the Border Crossing Services, which means Six Nations community members are continuing to frequently travel and cross borders.
“Cross border travelling should only happen for essential workers and compassionate family issues at this point in alert level black,” read the statement. “It is strongly encouraged that when members are travelling for essential purposes only, try to shop local within the community as much as possible. Covid transmission is rising and at critical levels in surrounding communities.”
Six Nations’ transmission risk is “alarming” due to the nearby COVID hotspots that surround the territory, and members increase this risk not only for themselves but the entire community every time they leave the territory, the statement noted.
Six Nations elected council urged people to shop locally on the territory.
Six Nations will remain in the black alert level until its Emergency Control Group has determined that risk is declining and case numbers are under control.
“We are asking you to join us for what we hope will be one last push to slow and prevent the spread of the virus in our community,” said Chief Hill.
Six Nations members showing any symptoms and wanting to conduct a Covid-19 test are asked to book online at www.sixnationscovid19.ca or those that cannot access the website may also call the Six Nations Covid Assessment Centre at 1-855-977-7737 or 226-446-9909.
More information on the measures under the Black Covid-19 alert level can be found at
“Each community member must do their part by following the health and safety measures
that protect against COVID such as frequent hand washing, constant cleaning, and disinfecting
of commonly touched surfaces at home and at work, wearing a face-covering when around
others that are not from your household or those who have symptoms, reporting symptoms
to the community Covid assessment centre, and only travelling when necessary for essential
purposes. Off-reserve community members are also encouraged to be diligent in preventing the virus from spreading. Staying home is the easiest, safest and best way to keep everyone safe from further spread of Covid-19.”