Six Nations waits: COVID-19 Vaccine priority is north, areas with highest cases

With COVID-19 cases rising in communities surround Six Nations it could be awhile before Six Nations sees any COVID-19 vaccine coming its way.
Six Nations Elected Chief Mark Hill told the finance committee Monday Ontario is focusing on northern Indigenous communities and those with higher COVID-19 cases.
Six Nations has no active cases of the virus.
Since the spring Six Nations has seen 100 cases of COVID-19 with one death.
SNEC discussed a possible COVID-19 vaccination schedule at its General Finance Committee meeting on Dec. 21.
Elected Chief Mark Hill attended a vaccination taskforce meeting last week regarding the rollout.
Coun. Nathan Wright said the First Nations vaccination subcommittee will host a meeting on Dec. 22 to start to organize a schedule and more information will be available in the next week or two.
SNEC is asking the community to be COVID-19 safe through the holidays including No:IA the community’s annual New Year’s day celebration.
Elected Council and the Emergency Control Group encourage community members to celebrate this 2021 New Year safely, and remind members that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic.
“Typically the community would be seen travelling from family members and friends houses on New Year’s Day happily exchanging No:ia fruits, cookies and donuts – however this year we must not become lax with the COVID safety measures or the potential for another holiday outbreak in the community could take place,” a SNEC release said.
“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 Elected Chief Mark 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.”
Six Nations Health Services director Lori Davis Hill urged community members to wear masks.
“We need to normalize mask wearing, especially when choosing to visit in other family and friends houses,” said 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.”
No:ia COVID-19 safe alternatives to consider bringing in the New Year are:
• Host a No:ia virtual zoom party with family and friends (for those with internet access),
• Host a No:ia conference call party with family and friends (for those with phone access),
• Drop-off pre-packaged No:ia treats for family and friends to pick-up contactless,
• Plan a No:ia drive-by parade with your friends and family,
• But remember the mask
“Regardless of your No:ia plans, please ensure you are wearing your mask/face covering when around others not from your immediate household to Protect Our People.”
Community members are reminded to also not drink and drive this holiday season.
Band operations are closed two weeks from Wednesday Dec., 23 to Monday January 4, 2020. Please contact your service provider in advance to check on availability during the holiday period for which services. are available over the holidays, which include:
• Six Nations Crisis Line (text or chat): 519-445-2204 or 1-866-445-2204
• Walk in Crisis Services or Call Six Nations Mental Health & Addictions: 1769 Chiefswood Road 519-445-2143
• Ganohkwasra Support Line: 519-445-4324
• Kids Help Line Call: 1-800-668-6868 OR Young People Text “TALK” to 686868 OR Adult Text “WELLNESS” to 741741 OR search online (online chat available)
• First Nations & Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310 OR search online (online chat available)
• Indigenous Victim Services: toll free 1-866-964-5920 (servicing Six Nations, Brantford, Hamilton and Cayuga Areas)
• Six Nations COVID-19 Information & Assessment Centre: toll free 1-855-977-7737 or 226-446-9909.
Ohsweken Public Health will remain open over the holiday season on non-statutory holidays. Please call 519-445-2672 as needed.
Remember to stay home as much as possible
-Continue to wash hands or use hand sanitizer, wear face coverings around those that do not live in your immediate household and reporting symptoms (even the mildest ones), as well as constant cleaning of commonly touched surfaces are all excellent measures to keep ourselves and others safe this holiday season.
This holiday season you should avoid any parties or gatherings and avoid holiday traveling (especially outside of the country).
“This 2020 holiday season will be different for everyone across Turtle Island,” said Elected Chief Mark Hill, “We must keep in mind that this is just one holiday season, and if we all continue to do our part to Protect Our People we can look forward to a 2021 holiday season where we can safely gather.”
He said “it will be extremely hard to stay away from friends and family at a time where we usually get to be close and celebrate. But please remember that with no sign that cases are slowing down and hospitals nearing or exceeding capacity that it’s not worth it to put the ones you love the most at risk.”
He added with the most recent vaccine developments and a roll-out strategy in place, there will come a time when it will be less risky to gather.
“Until then, protect your family by staying apart.”
Meanwhile the Brant County Health Unit reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, four of those were men and seven were women. Eight are from Brant County.
Of those four are in the 20 to 39 and 40 to 59 year groups; one is in the 60 to 79 group, and two are under the age of 20.
There are 103 active cases in Brantford and Brant County.
The area moved into Ontario’s Red-Control level of the provincial COVID-19 response framework Monday with two people in hospital with the virus on Monday.
Brantford/Brant County as of the week ending Sunday had 89 new cases reported. Brant/Brantford has since the spring had 740 confirmed cases with 632 resolved. Five people have died.
Brantford residents make up 550 of the total number of cases with 190 from Brant County.
A total of 15 outbreaks occurred at six places, theTelfer Place retirement home in Paris, the John Noble Home, Lions McInnes House, St. John’s College a food processing operation and a manufacturing/industrial facility.
Brantford and Brant County stringent Red-Control zone restrictions effective midnight Monday, include:
–Shoppers in line at retail stores must observe physical distancing of two metres.
–Restaurants, bars and event spaces limited to 10 patrons indoors, no singing, dancing or live music permitted.
–A limit of five people at indoor organized public gatherings.
– Weddings, funerals and religious services limited to 30 per cent capacity of the facility they are in.
–All athletic activities involving players must be two metres apart.
–No team sports except for training (no scrimmages),
–Fitness studios are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors in classes and exercise areas.
–All movie theatres and performing arts centres are to be closed, only drive-in format presentations allowed.
– Shopping mall food courts are limited to a seating of 10 people.
–Casinos will be limited to 10 guests at a time.
Great Canadian Gaming Corporation announced late Friday the Elements Casino in downtown Brantford would close at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

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