COVID-19 Six Nations officials plead with community to STAY HOME!
By Victoria Gray
Six Nations officials are pleading with community members to stop gathering with more than 100 active COVID-19 cases in the community and little external help on the horizon.
“This is the most amount of active cases within the territory since the beginning of the pandemic,” a press release from Six Nations Elected Council said.
Meanwhile Geneviève Guibert, media relations for Indigenous Services Canada, (ISC) said the federal government has already provided $12,464,927 to Six Nations of the Grand River for its COVID-19 pandemic response and it’s not their responsibility to advocate for vaccines for the community.
“The federal government’s role is to lead the development of a common set of principles to allocate, distribute and administer vaccines as efficiently, equitably and effectively as possible and work alongside provinces and territories based on a common understanding of key populations identified for early COVID-19 vaccination,” she said in an email.
Six Nations currently has four people hospitalized for COVID-19 and on March 1st 116 active cases of COVID-19 bringing the total to 367 cases and three deaths. There have been 107 cases in the past 7 days. The community didn’t hit 100 total cases until after December 25.
Ontario Health is working to get rapid testing kits to Indigenous communities including Six Nations, but they are waiting for SNEC to decide which brand of tests they would prefer.
“Ontario Health is working support the decisions of First Nation and Indigenous providers around rapid testing needs,” David Jensen a media relations person from the ministry of heath said.
More than 33,000 ID NOW tests have been sent to 56 communities and Aboriginal Health Access Centres, Health Authorities and partners across Ontario while 12 First Nations communities and their healthcare providers were given 10,950 Panbio test kits.
Jensen said they’ve been meeting with Six Nations representatives on a weekly basis and given them information on both tests.
“[We] have provided information on both ID NOW and Panbio, and will support once a decision about choice of test is made,” he said.
Councillor Nathan Wright, who chairs the emergency control group and meets with provincial counterparts to advocate for vaccines did not respond to requests for comment.
In the meantime SNEC and public heath are urging people waiting for test results or who have come in contact with a COVID-19 positive person to self-isolate and even isolate from other members of the household.
“Following these guidelines is more crucial than ever as the case count within the community continues to rise. Each swab is being monitored for variants of concern. While none have been identified, we are concerned about the rapid spread of the virus,” a press release said.
Community members are being asked to continue following public health and safety guidelines like washing your hands frequently and physical distance because asymptomatic cases are just as contagious and could have a sever impact on others.
They are also urging people strongly to adhere to Black Alert Level Status guidelines that include no gathering outside of your immediate household, only leave home when absolutely necessary, follow isolations guidelines.
SNEC is also suggesting community members, “wear masks within your household as a preventative measure to protect your high-risk family members.”
“Six Nations Elected Council recognizes that we have been fighting this virus for almost a year and that the community is tired. We all need to come together to contain and defeat this virus so that we may gather once again,” the press release said.
For more information go to www.sixnationscovid19.com or call call 1-855-977-7737 or 226-446-9909.