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.

Chi-Meegwetch!

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.

Neyaashiinigmiing Remains COVID-19 Free

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.

Miigwech!

Chief Greg Nadjiwon, and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Council

A Neyaashiinigmiing Halloween: How to Stay Safe While Enjoying a Spooky Holiday

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. 

Going Door to Door (High Risk Activity)

  • 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!