OHSWEKEN — Six Nations Emergency Control Group says they are supporting the elected council’s decision to remain in Phase Two of the community’s recovery plan.
Despite growing transitions across the province to move towards easing pandemic restrictions — Six Nations leadership is opting to carry on with publicly mandated face masks, closed public buildings and allowing staff to continue working from home.
“We have been witnessing just how devastating COVID-19 can be on First Nations and racialized communities south of the border,” says Elected Chief Mark Hill. “And in most Canadian provinces, we have witnessed that continuing along the path of recovery essentially guarantees at least a small increase in COVID-19 cases. Unlike municipalities our health services and supports are fewer and we have underlying factors that already increase our risk of spread – which means this is a risk we cannot take at this time.”
The ECG says overcrowding on First Nations as well as limited access to clean water and food insecurity increase the risk factors for Six Nations members to possibly contract the virus. Additionally, higher rates of pre-existing illnesses that make people more susceptible to the threat of additional illnesses and infections.
“ECG continues to monitor our pandemic response and is confident that we are in a good position within our Recovery Plan. However, we must remain committed to the plan and reduce any risks to increased exposures and spread of the virus. We must consistently consider all factors in our healthy pandemic response,” says Director of Health Services Lori Davis Hill.
Davis Hill says Six Nations members should continue to exercise caution and to avoid situations that will increase their risk to exposure, which in turn may result in public health staff and other frontline workers overwhelmed and supports exhausted.
Ongoing public health and safety measures currently in place under Six Nation’s second phase include: a limit of 10 people for outside gatherings; mandatory masks in public spaces and staying at home if feeling ill or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
In a statement SNGR says “Public health officials are also reminding community members of their responsibility when it comes to contact-tracing, a tool that continues to prove extremely effective in finding and containing the COVID-19 virus, but only when an infected person can list the people they have been in contact with over the past 14 days.”
Mandatory 14-day self-isolation is required for any Six Nations resident that has travelled outside of the Country, and must report his or her return from travel to Ohsweken Public Health at 519-445-2672.
“If you cannot list all of the people you have come into contact with over the past two weeks, you are overdoing it and should consider limiting your interactions and visits with others,” says Davis Hill.
If you or somebody you know is experiencing any symptoms, please contact the COVID-19 Information and Assessment centre at 226-446-9909 OR 1-855-977-7737 to arrange for a free test.