Six Nations COVID-19 openings underway with less than half the community vaccinated

By Victoria Gray
Six Nations is moving to change its local alert system to align with Ontario’s Stage Three opening plan despite the community have less than half the population vaccinated.
Six Nations COVID-19 stats show 42 per cent of the community has their first dose and 37 per cent has received their second dose.
Opening plans will mean sports associations and other organizations will soon have to ensure their health and safety plans align with restrictions and capacity limits on their own.
The Six Nations Elected Council’s (SNEC) General Finance Committee passed a motion to accept new changes to the territories COVID Alert System version 2.2, which includes having the Emergency Control Group (ECG) approve opening/event plans for businesses, sports teams, camps, and more.
Sara Curley Smith, an epidemiologist for Six Nations Health Services said slight changes to the alert system will help align Six Nations’ guidelines with Ontario’s Stage Three opening plan.
“Businesses and organizations are responsible for the safety and wellness of clients and customers. Ensuring businesses and organizations have safety plans in place to mitigate the level of transmission within their business or organization for the safety and wellness of the community,” she said.
Sports and other organizations are asked to follow the guidelines their association has established in addition to those regulations groups must follow the guidelines set out by the facility they are using. If that facility has a different capacity limit then the association, the facility’s restrictions must be followed.
There were few changes to other sections for example karaoke is now permitted in facilities. Gatherings are still limited to capacity restrictions inside with a two metre distance. SNEC recommends gatherings be held outside as much as possible and is limited to 100 people.
Curley Smith said larger community events are permitted in Green Alert Level Status, but those safety plans still need to go through the ECG.
The fair committee is looking to plan a one-day community gathering because their plan for the fair was not approved by ECG until last Friday.
The arena remains closed as vaccination equipment is still being moved out, Elected Chief Mark Hill said the plan is to have the arena open in September after councillors voiced concerns that facilities are not open for the community yet.
“I understand the arena is being prepared, but once again we’re late in doing that. We’re behind. People in the community have been going off the territory for a while to play their sports in other jurisdictions,” Councillor Wendy Johnson said.
Councillor Helen Miller said there is a lot of confusion in the community and council should be sending out weekly “blurbs” to the community to let them know what is going on.
Some councillors want the ECG to ease up on its control of community activities, which the eased restrictions allow, but others were grateful for the oversight.
“I hear all the confusion and disappointment and plans couldn’t be in place for various reasons. Wendy has mentioned ECG has been very stringent and there has been caution. ECG has certainly done a good job in allowing the community to continue. I know we’re very concerned about the hesitancy in getting further people vaccinated, we did a good job. ECG should be commended for that, even though there’s confusion getting back to, so called normal. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t move a little faster, but we’re safe. We’re doing very well and we’re safe,” Councillor Melba Thomas said.
There is currently three active case of COVID-19 in the community that was reported on August 17. and 54 people are in self-isolation with COVID-19 symptoms..
There have been a total of 535 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Curley Smith is still recommending that all eligible members should get both COVID-19 vaccinations.
Currently 42 per cent of people have their first dose and 37 per cent have received their second dose.
Cases are on the rise in Brantford with 19 cases confirmed over the weekend, 10 people are now in hospital, that’s up from five on Friday. There are 37 active cases, bringing the total confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 3,504.
Hamilton is reporting 114 new cases over the weekend bringing their total 22,147. There are currently 23 patients in Hamilton Health Sciences and 7 in the ICU. The ICU is at 84 per cent capacity and the hospital itself is at 96 per cent capacity.
St. Joseph’s healthcare has nine COVID-19 patients, with six in the ICU. The ICU occupancy is 78 per cent and the hospital is at 86 per cent capacity.
Six Nations Alert Status can change based on the local and surrounding healthcare capacity levels, Curley Smith says ECG continues to re-evaluate the situation on a weekly basis.

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