We were all relieved by the news that COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development have been shown to be safe and effective, but for now the pandemic remains as much a threat as ever. In Grey Bruce, we have avoided the worst by being diligent about following safety protocols, but there has been a concerning spike in cases in Bruce and Grey Counties recently.
The upward trend in cases reflects what is happening in the rest of Ontario, and Canada. Part of the problem is that we’re moving indoors with cooler weather and so we’re closer together more of the time. Another cause for the rise may be that people are becoming fatigued by the need for constant awareness of COVID-19 guidelines. As cases rise across the country, we cannot afford to let our guard down now. A generally available vaccine is still months away and we must remain vigilant to the risk of widespread COVID-19 spread, particularly in our vulnerable community of Neyaashiinigmiing.
Do your part. Follow the 3 W’s of COVID-19 safety:
- Wear a mask when indoors or around people not from your household.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Watch your distance and stay at least 2 meters (6 feet) from people not from your household.
Working together, we can keep our family, our friends, our community and ourselves safe until a vaccine is available. Thank you for your strength and patience during this difficult time.
One of the many ways the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation is helping our members during the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact on our lives, is with the Grocery Gift Card Distribution program. The program offers every member household in Canada, on and off reserve, a $150 grocery gift card. Members outside Canada can receive the equivalent value in their local currency.
We are pleased to announce that we are extending the Grocery Gift Card program until Friday, November 27, 2020. Every member household that has not yet received this benefit is entitled to one $150 grocery gift card. This is a difficult time and we could all use a little extra on the table. If you, or a member in your household, haven’t yet applied for this great benefit, we encourage you to send in your application!
More information and instructions for the easy application process are available on the Grocery Gift Card Distribution page.
Re-test shows sole presumptive case is a False Positive
October 27, 2020
To all Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Members:
On Sunday, October 25, 2020, the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Band Council announced the first presumptive COVID-19 case within Neyaashiinigmiing. The Chief and Council are now pleased to announce that follow-up tests have determined that the case was a FALSE positive. As of October 27, 2020, the community remains free of COVID-19.
We give our thanks to the Grey-Bruce Public Health Unit, and to our own Health & Wellness Centre, for their quick response to the identification of a presumed case. We are also grateful to the entire community for remaining calm and sharing their support and well-wishes.
While we are extremely relieved by this news, we would like to remind members that the pandemic is still going strong and COVID-19 remains a threat to us all. Our continued zero case count relies on you.
It is imperative that the whole community does their part in maintaining a safe, healthy community. Remain diligent and always follow COVID-19 risk-reduction protocols, wherever you may be living or travelling:
- Keep a physical distance of at least two meters from people not from your household.
- Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth when indoors, or when you cannot keep your physical distance from other people.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Remember that Provincial rules limit indoor gatherings to a maximum of 10 people.
- Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people.
- Self-quarantine if you feel ill, or suspect you have come in contact with someone who may have COVID-19. Call the Health Centre or other health care provider for further medical advice.
The Nawash Health Centre will provide cloth masks and hand sanitizer, free of charge. The Health Centre can be reached at 519-534-0373.
Chief Greg Nadjiwon, and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Council
COVID-19 Considerations for Halloween
This information has been compiled to provide guidance on how to enjoy a safe Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic. How we celebrate has a big impact on the level of risk we face. Being aware of the differences can help you celebrate Halloween as safely as possible. We have prepared some suggestions to spread the fun, but not the virus!
Know and Adhere to Gathering Limits
On September 19, 2020 the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Public Health Measures Table, reduced the limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the province. The new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering is:
- 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
- 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).
Celebrating at Home (Low Risk Activity)
- Host your own monster mash outdoors. Include only those monsters from your social bubble.
- Make your own spooky treats like clementine jack-o-lanterns, monster mix, or ghostly cookies.
- Invite your kids to help with your preparations. Decorating, making a Halloween music playlist, carving pumpkins, painting decorations, making paper chains and other crafts are great activities for all ages.
- Set up a scavenger hunt filled with tricks and treats for your social bubble, inside or outdoors.
- Pick out some Halloween themed books to read together with your kids.
Community Members giving out Halloween treats (Moderate Risk Activity)
- It is strongly recommended that you do not hand out Halloween candy from your front door. The door is an area where multiple people may touch the same surfaces and is a high risk area for any virus, especially COVID-19, to spread.
- Instead, set up a trick or treating station outside your home, just inside your open garage door, or outside in your driveway. Maintain a physical distance of two meters from visitors. Setting up a table can help with this. Provide hand sanitizer at your station.
- Portion treats out ahead of time in baggies to allow for touchless trick-or-treating. When trick-or-treaters arrive, direct them to take a bag without handling any others.
- Do not provide homemade treats. Please hand out pre-packaged items.
- In between visitors, clean and disinfect any frequently touched surfaces.
- Try to maintain physical distance from others while trick-or treating.
- Choose a costume that makes it easy to also wear a proper mask or face covering. Make sure your mask fits well, covers your nose, mouth, and chin, and does not have open air holes.
- Wash your hands before trick or treating, when you return home, and before snacking. Bring your hand sanitizer with you and use it when appropriate.
- The COVID-19 virus does not survive indefinitely on surfaces. As a precaution, set aside any treats collected for 24 hours. Have some ready-to-enjoy favourites set aside for when you return home.
- Do not accept or offer homemade Halloween Treats: candy apples, popcorn, etc.
Help make a difference:
- Maintain physical distance of at least two meters from people not in your household or social bubble.
- Wear a face mask in indoor and outdoor public spaces where physical distancing is a challenge.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Practice good hygiene (cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your face).
- Clean frequently touched surfaces often.
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill or have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Get tested if there is a possibility you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Enjoy a Safe and Happy Halloween!
Chief Greg Nadjiwon announced today the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Neyaashiinigmiing. The Grey Bruce Health Unit is managing this case. The person has been contacted by GBHU and advised to isolate and re-test. The community member is currently at home in isolation.
Chief Nadjiwon is requesting that community members be vigilant about maintaining physical distance from people not in your household, frequent hand washing, and wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible. Unless necessary, please do not travel outside your home and avoid contact with persons outside your household. We will work together to help keep each other safe.
By resolution of the Council, as of October 3, 2020, Resident and Non-Resident Band Members may bring guests to visit in Neyaashiinigmiing without requiring an access letter.
Visitor Information Forms must be completed by all guests prior to entry. Guests may bring completed forms with them to the community entrance, or complete forms at the monitoring station when entering.
All guests must be sponsored by a Band Member at the time of entry. Guests must follow existing COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
The information being collected is to assist with contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in Neyaashiinigmiing, and will not be used for any other purpose. All information collected will be destroyed after six months.
With the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, we are reminded that we remain in the grips of the pandemic. There is still no vaccine approved for COVID-19, nor is there an effective treatment. COVID-19 is a dangerous illness that is particularly risky for people with compromised immune systems or pre-existing health conditions.
In order to keep the Neyaashiinigmiing community safe, the Council has passed Motion 478 accepting the recommendation of the Community Emergency Response Group to extend the State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing up to and including October 31, 2020. The state of the pandemic and local conditions will be reassessed near the scheduled end of the State of Emergency to determine our next, best actions.
The number of cases of COVID-19 in Ontario have unfortunately taken a turn for the worse, with increasing case counts in several jurisdictions. While the spike in cases is primarily in urban centres, it serves to caution us against letting our guard down now. The precautions we have been taking against an outbreak of COVID-19 in Neyaashiinigmiing have been successful, to date, and we must remain vigilant.
Access to the community remains restricted during the ongoing community State of Emergency. Non-residents, including guests, employees and essential services, must have a letter of entrance, provided by the Band, or have been pre-registered for entry into the community.
Many service providers are already cleared for entry, but to avoid having your visitor delayed, please remember to notify the Band Office if you are expecting a visit from a service provider for whatever reason. This can include but is not limited to: health care, home maintenance, telecom services, fuel delivery, and deliveries.
The Band Office can be reached by calling 519-534-1689.
Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health has extended the existing face covering order for the County. The previous order which had been set to expire Friday, September 11, will now remain in place for at least another 28 calendar days, expiring on October 8, 2020. The order requires all persons entering an indoor commercial establishment (e.g grocery store, gas station, bank, restaurant) to wear a covering over their noses and mouths. Neyaashiinigmiing has a parallel order in place covering businesses on the reserve.
Face masks have been conclusively shown to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, making them a daily wear item for people outside their homes. Help keep our community and people safe and healthy. Remember the face mask requirement when you are leaving your home and bring yours along.
An early and important step taken by the Council to protect the health and safety of Neyaashiinigmiing was to restrict access to the community to members, employees and essential services. Since March of this year, the Sydney Bay Road entrance has been closed and all traffic must enter by the remaining entrance on Port Elgin Road, which has been monitored around the clock by dedicated employees.
The initial restrictions were relaxed in phases to allow non-resident members to visit Neyaashiinigmiing, as well as seasonal campers in Cape Croker Park, and registered lease holders. In all cases, non-residents are required to register with the Health Centre prior to their visit, and leave their contact information for tracing in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Council is disappointed that some residents are risking the health of the community by not cooperating with these very simple protocols and registering their non-resident guests. The health and safety guidelines are designed to keep our entire, particularly vulnerable, community safe, but in order for them to work we all need to follow the health guidelines.
To help reduce the number of unregistered individuals in the community, the Council has passed Motion 404 giving the monitors at the Port Elgin Road station the temporary authority to refuse entry to Neyaashiinigmiing anyone who does not present an official letter of entry. Monitors will turn away any person who has not been registered. Please enjoy an uninterrupted visit from your guest – and help us keep our community safe – by registering your guests with the Health Centre.
Visitors must submit a request to the Health Centre, providing the following information, at least two days prior to their arrival. Note that currently non-resident, non-members are not permitted to visit the community without special permission from the Council.
- the full name, permanent address and phone number of each person in your visiting group
- the make, model and vehicle plate number of each vehicle a visitor or group who wishes to enter the reserve will be using
- where the visitor will be staying while in Neyaashiinigmiing
- the intended duration of the visitor’s stay
Contact Suzy Jones, Community Health Representative with your information.
Office Phone: 519-534-0373 ext 224
Cell phone (text or call): 519-375-6896