Positive COVID-19 Case Identified in Neyaashiinigmiing

Grey Bruce Public Health has confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 in Neyaashiinigmiing. Public Health will be undertaking all contact tracing for this case, and will notify affected individuals. There is no need for additional testing if you are not identified as a potential contact.

The Chief and Council ask the community to remain calm and continue to observe all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines with renewed diligence. Please also respect the privacy of all community members. Refrain from discussing the personal details of any person’s health status, including any identifying information.

This is a serious development for our community, but there is no cause for alarm. By adhering to safety protocols we can and will contain any COVID-19 outbreak in the community.

Remember to:

  • Wear a mask outside your home
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Watch your distance and remain at least 2 meters from anybody who does not live with you

Grey Bruce Public Health, which is handling this case, has prepared the following press release for immediate distribution.

COVID-19 Zones

To help coordinate regional responses to COVID-19 Ontario has been divided into COVID-19 zones, each of which is separately assessed for the severity of the pandemic and the risk to the public. The zones are defined as:

  • Green-Prevent
  • Yellow-Protect
  • Orange-Restrict
  • Red-Control
  • Grey-Lockdown

Each level from Green to Grey has a distinct and increasing set of public health measures aimed at containing COVID-19 and preventing further spread. Currently, Grey Bruce is a Yellow Zone.

Neyaashiinigmiing will respond appropriately to any change in the Grey Bruce COVID-19 Zone designation. To see a summary of the COVID-19 Zone restrictions that may most likely impact our community, click here. You can also find out more about COVID-19 Zones, including the current designation for Grey Bruce at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions.

COVID Alert Mobile App

We have been successful as a community at keeping the COVID-19 virus at bay. Effective vaccines are on the horizon, but for now we are still dealing with the pandemic and a recent increase in provincial and local cases.

To assist us all in keeping Neyaashiinigmiing safe and healthy, the Community Emergency Response Group and the Council recommend that anyone with a smartphone install the COVID Alert mobile app on their device.

The COVID Alert app notifies you when you may have been exposed to someone with the COVID-19 virus. The app is simple, secure and does not store or reveal any confidential or identifying information.

Links to downloads from both Google Play and the Apple App Store, as well as much more information are available at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covidalert.

How It Works

The app works by creating random, unique codes on your phone. Your codes are exchanged automatically and anonymously with other users of the app in your vicinity. Your phone stores your random codes, and the codes of the people you come in contact with, for 14 days.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be given a unique key to enter your app. The app will then upload your own anonymous, random codes.

Every day, when you are connected to the internet, the app will check the list of uploaded codes of users who have tested positive, to see if you have stored any of them, indicating that you were near them at some time in the past 14 days.

The COVID Alert app will then alert you and provide advice on what to do next. Because the app does not store or transmit any identifying information, it is not possible to know when or where you were exposed.

Community Gym Will be Closed for the Holidays

Band offices and programs will be closed for the holiday break, as of December 19, 2020.

Consequently, the last day the gym will be available this year will be Friday, December 18. The gym will be closed from December 19, 2020 to January 3, 2021, inclusive. The gym will open again on January 4, 2021.

The Community Health Nurse reminds residents that COVID-19 safety measures and community restrictions remain in place until further notice.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Merry (Safe) Christmas!

The Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Chief and Council, along with the Health Centre and Fire Department, offers Season’s Greetings to all of our members and their families!

We extend our sincere thanks to the community and membership for their ongoing vigilance, which has successfully kept COVID-19 out of Neyaashiinigmiing. Our community has remained strong and united through almost 8 months of this unprecedented pandemic and, to date, we have had zero confirmed cases of COVID-19.  We could not have achieved this without everybody doing their part to watch out for one another. We are incredibly grateful for everything members and residents have done to keep our home safe and healthy.

Even though vaccines are on the horizon, the need for caution is not yet over as COVID-19 cases are up in Ontario. We are very close to finally seeing the end of the pandemic, but we need to be patient until a vaccine is widely available. We don’t want to risk an infection in the community now, after we’ve come so far.

For that reason, we are asking that you avoid all non-essential travel this holiday season, particularly to and from High-Risk Zones (i.e. Orange, Red or Gray).  Please consider your loved ones and the community when deciding to enter or re-enter Neyaashiinigmiing from another zone.

The image above is current as at the time of this publication. For an up-to-date list of zones in Ontario, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions.


Celebrate a Safe and Happy Holiday Season

It has been nine months since we started protection measures to keep band members safe from COVID-19. Many people are now experiencing “COVID-19 fatigue” or “anticipatory stress disorder”. As the Christmas season approaches, we all just want to spend time with our family and friends.

“As we head into the holiday season, I encourage Canadians to take some time today to make a plan for safer holidays, ensuring that you consider the risks to yourself and your loved ones. Our best protection, now and into the holiday season, is to limit errands and outings to the essentials, keep in-person social activities to our existing household and strictly and consistently maintain public health practices. That doesn’t mean we can’t continue to find safe ways to have the meaningful celebrations that are so important for maintaining our traditions and social connections.”
– Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer,

The safest way to celebrate is to do so only with those who are currently in your household (people who live with you, they don’t necessarily have to be your family members) or virtually (for instance, using teleconferencing or telephone calls).

If you are going to invite others in, choose people who have been sticking to the safety measures of wearing a mask, washing their hands often and maintaining social distancing.

You can also consider an outdoor celebration during the day, or around a fire in the evening. Note that being outdoors decreases the risk of transmission, but doesn’t eliminate it. You must still remember the “3 W’s”: Wear a mask, Wash your hands, and Watch your distance.

Please don’t attend any celebrations if:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19,
  • You have any symptoms of COVID-19,
  • You are waiting for the result of a COVID-19 test,
  • You have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or
  • You are at elevated risk of COVID-19 infection (over 65 years old, chronic disease)

Some tips to remember if you are hosting an event:

  • Ask your guests to wear a mask except when eating or drinking,
  • Have hand sanitizer available,
  • Clean commonly touched surfaces, such as light switches, door knobs, etc. often
  • Avoid potluck, buffet or family style dinners,
  • Encourage your guests to bring their own food and drinks,
  • Have one person, who is wearing a mask and gloves, plate the food and serve,
  • Use disposable plates and cutlery.

If at all possible, postpone travel, particularly to or from red zones. If you are having guests from areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases, encourage your guests to self-isolate for 14 days before coming to see you. Guests coming from outside the community should avoid public places such as restaurants, gas station, stores.

Keep yourself as healthy as possible by getting proper sleep, fresh air and healthy meals. Get your flu shot and stay away from people who are ill. Don’t forget to take care of your mental health. The holiday season often brings feelings of stress, loneliness and isolation. It’s okay to have those feelings, particularly this year. Consider engaging in activities that can reduce your own stress, like meditation, calling family or friends, reflecting on all that you are grateful for, or simply helping others.

Remember the public health measures that the Chief and Council have put into place: wear masks when out in public, restrict indoor gatherings to no more than 10 people not from your household, and outdoor gatherings to no more than 25 people not from your household.

Our understanding of the COVID-19 virus is constantly developing. While there are currently no positive cases in Neyaashiinigmiing, the Grey Bruce counties have changed status from a green zone to yellow because of the increase in cases in the local area. With that in mind, even though we are all tired of the need for ongoing precautions, it’s important that we continue to be careful and observant of safety protocols as long as necessary.

This will be a holiday season like none we have ever seen. We have spent the past nine months doing all we can to prevent COVID-19 from entering the community. Please, continue to be strong and vigilant for our relations, friends, and community. There is light at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine expected to be available in the new year. We will make it through this together.

We wish everybody a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!

Church Services Size Restrictions

Currently, in accordance with provincial guidelines, the Council has passed a resolution limiting gatherings within Neyaashiinigmiing to no more than ten (10) people indoors and twenty five (25) people outdoors, until further notice. This applies to gatherings of people not from the same household. Households of any size may gather together without restriction.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, there are times when we are compelled to gather. Coming together for the purposes of religious worship, or memorial services for the passing of a loved one, is sacred to all of us. To safely allow for these necessary observances, the Council has decided that gatherings at churches for the purpose of worship will be limited to 30% of the capacity of the church service area.

If a funeral is unfortunately required, representatives of the family or organizers of the service must request permission from the Council to hold the gathering. The Council asks that two band members who will be in attendance be designated as monitors to enforce the safety restrictions. All attendees of funerals must notify the funeral home providing the service, in advance. The designated monitors will be responsible for restricting attendance only to those who have pre-registered with the funeral home.

It’s important that we continue to take care of each other and provide support to our friends and loved ones, even as the pandemic poses unprecedented challenges. We are grateful for the patience and strength of the entire community as we keep each other safe during this difficult time.

Ontario Financial Support for Young Learners

With the ongoing pandemic putting financial strain on many Ontarians, the Ontario government is offering financial support to parents and caregivers of children to offset increased educational costs.

The program offers families $200 for each child, ages 0 – 12 years, and $250 for each child with special needs, ages 0 – 21 years. School enrollment is not a factor. All children are eligible, based on age, even if they are in daycare, homeschooled, or just staying home during the pandemic.

Details of the program, and the online application form, are available here.

The application deadline is January 15, 2021.

Note that when completing the application for children attending Kikendaasogamig Elementary, or other First Nations school, choose the option:

  • My child is not enrolled in either public or private school

You will then be given the option to select:

  • My child is attending a First Nation operated or Federally-operated school

COVID-19 Pandemic Ongoing – Remain Vigilant

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.

Grocery Gift Card Benefit Program Extended to November 27, 2020

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.