By Georgia LaForme
Six Nations is rolling out a colour-coded COVID-19 response framework, stricter than Ontario’s.
The new framework comes just as Six Nations announced a new COVID-19 case over the weekend.
Six Nations COVID-19 Stats Report shows that as of Saturday Nov., 28th Ohsweken Public Health reported one active case in the community.
Contact tracing is underway.No further information was provided.
Six Nations has had 98 total cases, with 97 resolved, and one death.
Under the new colour coded framework the community will no longer be using Stages to determine COVID-19 .
The new colour-coded framework mimicks Ontario’s.
Nicole Bilodeau, of the Six Nations Emergency and Control group, presented the new framework to the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) at a zoom meeting last Tuesday.
“Given the new Ontario response framework that moved away from Stages and into a new colour-coded system, we thought it was time to make our own pandemic recovery plan more public and use it to make the community and local businesses more aware of what our status is,” she said.
Ontario unveiled colour coded framework on Nov 9. At the time, Six Nations sent a statement to the Turtle Island News and said they have “made it clear from the start that Six Nations is Six Nations” and they will not be using the plan.
However, this plan reads very similar, but stricter measures were needed, says Bilodeau.
“We reviewed Ontario’s framework and their numbers are much too high so their measures are too relaxed for us. We have a high-risk population and we need to be more strict with our measures,” she said.
She added health issues in the community were a big reason why they chose not to follow it.
“Our population is at greater risk because of chronic conditions and diseases that are prevalent in our community. We have to protect our people.”
The categories of the framework that was presented to SNEC were: low risk (green,) moderate risk (yellow,) high risk (red,) and very high risk (black.)
Low risk would be less than two cases a week, with communities having less than three cases tied to a community transmission, no outbreaks in workplace settings, and over 70% capacity at health care facilities.
High risk would be greater than nine cases a week, with an increasing trend, outbreaks in multiple settings and less than 90% capacity at health care facilities.
In Ontario’s COVID-19 framework the categories are: prevent (green,) protect (yellow,) restrict (orange,) control (red,) and lockdown (grey.)
In the prevent stage the weekly incident rate is less than ten per 100,000 people, and the level of community transmission is “stable.”
In the control stage, weekly incidents are greater than forty per 100,000 people, repeated outbreaks, and hospitals are “at risk of being overwhelmed.” The lockdown stage occurs when the control stage is worsening in any way.
As far as schools go, Six Nations schools would remain open unless they go into the high risk stage.However Six Nations schools are currently closed until the new year.
In Ontario’s framework, schools remain open in lockdown.
In the green category of Ontario’s framework the limits for functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbeques or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, or parks are ten people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Six Nations will also be much stricter with this.
“We don’t recommend any gatherings with anyone outside your immediate household. If you have private gatherings where everyone can maintain social distancing and wear masks then that is then much lower risk,” said Bilodeau.
The different wording and colours (black instead of grey for a lockdown situation) of the Six Nations plan compared to Ontario’s raised concerns for SNEC.
“You look at the symbolism with what the province has done, it’s very simple. I’m thinking about what we are going to present to the community, and what the community has been hearing for some time. I’m just wondering why we wouldn’t be consistent?” asked Councillor Wendy Johnson. “I’m concerned about community members getting all messed up.”
“I share the same concern in terms of confusing the community. I understand why we did this, but you even saw with the province’s, people were confused. It wasn’t until there were lockdown situations that people have been made aware,” added Elected Chief Mark Hill.
SNEC and the Emergency Control group were to meet again last Friday to discuss these changes to make rolling out the plan as simple as possible.
“I think in terms of communication to help manage this we need to be simple, simple, simple. We need to have that consistency,” said Councillor Wendy Johnson.
Based on this framework, Six Nations currently is in Green.
By provincial standard, Brant is in Orange.
If the province considers Brant to be in Orange, that would not change anything for what colour Six Nations determines themselves to be in.
The only time Six Nations would be affected by the surrounding areas is if they were in lockdown, where Bilodeau said Six Nations would also go into lockdown due to them relying on their healthcare systems and other services.
After the framework is rolled out, the Six Nations COVID website will be updated weekly with all of the new statistics, as well you will always be able to see what colour Six Nations is currently in.
By Georgia LaForme