Elected Council to announce plans on Six Nations response to provincial lockdown, issues guidance on holiday safety

OHSWEKEN — With the provincial government breaking news that surrounding communities in the region will be moving into a 28-day lockdown on Boxing Day — Six Nations Elected Chief Mark Hill says he will make an announcement on Wednesday detailing how Six Nations will proceed.

The chief gave a brief overview to his pending message on during Tuesday’s General Council meeting which was live-streamed to the council’s Facebook page, but did not indicate if the provincial lockdown would result in a Six Nations community lockdown or a second round of community checkpoints.

Currently, Six Nations sits at the Yellow alert level in the community’s response plan with just 2 active cases reported. However there is a consistent spike in cases from health units in the surrounding region, raising the risk for Six Nations residents as they travel regularly off the Territory for critical services like medical appointments, grocery shopping and work.

Brantford is currently reporting 104 active cases with 11 new cases in the last 24 hours including 2 people in the hospital. That region is currently in the Red alert level and moving into grey lockdown on December 26.

Haldimand-Norfolk is reporting 81 active cases with 12 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours. The city of Hamilton is reporting 992 new cases. That region moved into red alert on Monday and will join the provincial lockdown on December 26.

Meanwhile, Chief Hill cautioned Six Nations residents to avoid family get-togethers and NuYah traditions ahead of the holidays.

“It is unrealistic to ask the community to not gather, however not gathering and having parties is the only way to guarantee slowing the spread of COVID into Six Nations.” Said Chief Hill. “However if you are planning to leave the safety of your home, please make sure to bring your mask, hand sanitizer and physical distance as much as possible from others.”

“We need to normalize mask wearing, especially when choosing to visit in other family and friends houses,” said Director of Six Nations Health Services, Lori Davis Hill. “Mask wearing and hand washing will protect you and the others you are around. Protecting our people is the best gift we can give to each other this year, so we all must do our part to remain diligent and committed with our safety measures.”

Ontario says it will provide new financial assistance for residents during the provincewide lockdown: cutting hydro prices for 28 days, starting Jan. 1.

The reduction to the off-peak rate of 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour will automatically be credited on ratepayers’ bills.

The government says it will also provide $200 to families with high school students aged 13 through to Grade 12.

The money can be used to help offset education expenses as all schools move lessons online for the first week of January. Students will then gradually return to in-class learning depending on their location and grade level.

The lockdown, announced Monday, is being imposed as Ontario tries to bring soaring COVID-19 cases under control.

It will shutter all non-essential businesses, ban indoor gatherings, close restaurant dining rooms, and means Ontarians are advised to leave home only for essential trips.

The restrictions will remain in place for southern Ontario until Jan. 23, but will lift for northern Ontario — where there are fewer cases — on Jan. 9.

The province reported 2,202 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 21 more deaths related to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 636 new cases in Toronto, 504 in Peel Region, and 218 in York Region.

COVID-19 cases that need hospitalization rose by 90 Tuesday to 1,005. There are currently 273 people in intensive care, and 172 on a ventilator.

Overall, there have been 160,255 cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario, 136,767 resolved, and 4,188 deaths.

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