Spike in coronavirus tests, back up generator secured for pandemic care site

OHSWEKEN — A large generator capable of powering electric hospital beds and ventilators is being rented by Six Nations of the Grand River as a back up for the community’s soon to be established Alternative Care Site.

Six Nations Director of Public Works Micheal Montour told Six Nations of the Grand River during Tuesday’s General Council meeting that the generator was secured at a cost of $2400 a month or $240,000 a year in preparation for a possible power outage during the coronavirus pandemic’s second wave.

SNGR confirmed that there have been 320 tests done to date at the community’s coronavirus testing centre – but that over the last week there have been a spike of calls. On Friday there were a total of 20 tests conducted compared to just 3 the previous week.

Montour said while it is unclear what the pandemic situation will play out like in the coming year – having a powerful generator will ensure Six Nations has what it needs to protect band members should a second wave of COVID-19 hit Ontario in numbers worse than it has to date.

Six Nations could be setting up an Alternative Care Site at the Six Nations Parks and Recreation home base – repurposing the Dajoh Gym into a temporary hospital ward to treat coronavirus patients in need of medical intervention should local hospitals become overwhelmed with cases in the potential second wave of the pandemic.

Montour said Six Nations Director of Health Services Lori Davis Hill is currently in discussions with the province to iron out logistics for how Six Nations Alternative Care Site will be established. Montour said right now the site has not been approved by the province because area hospitals are well positioned in treating patients.

In the kind of chilling details no one wants to talk about, council asked Montour if the generator on top of the Gaylord Powless Arena could be used. Councillor Hazel Johnson articulated that the community’s pandemic plan previously identified that in the event of mass casualties due to pandemic illness that the arena ice could be retained and kept cold to house the remains of those who have passed if local funeral homes are unable to keep up with the numbers.

Montour confirmed that there is a generator for the arena but that instead, the Emergency Control Group has purchased a refrigerated truck to cope with the potential high number of deaths that could happen if the coronavirus pandemic hits Six Nations with a vengeance.

Montour said that renting the generator was done immediately without prior consent of council because it was the last one available and that costs to purchase a similar generator would end up being around $2 million.

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