Ian Reich, Public Health Manager with the Grey Bruce Health Unit has the following message for the community:
Considerations for Parents and Caregivers
We acknowledge that Indigenous families have had to alter their traditional ways of gathering and learning through celebrations, feasts and dances during COVID-19. The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health created a fact sheet to support parents and caregivers during this time of physical distancing and staying at home.
The fact sheet provides guidance with an Indigenous focus to coping with COVID-19 in addition to practicing recommended public health measures. The following is a summary of that fact sheet, see the original resource titled Maintaining the Health and Well-Being of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children and Teens during COVID-19 for more detailed information.
Remember to practice public health measures
- Wash your hands often.
- Try not to touch your face.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
- Stay home when you can.
- Practice physical distancing by keeping a distance of 2 metres from people not from your household.
Things to remember when speaking with children and youth about COVID-19
- Speak kindly and repeat key ideas.
- Allow for many questions but limit how much you say in each conversation.
- Use credible information from trusted sources to answer questions.
- Focus on ways they can protect themselves and others around them.
Strategies for well-being
- Respect guidelines about physical distancing and stay home as much as possible.
- Refrain from gatherings and celebrations to protect Elders who are at higher risk of contracting the virus and experiencing more severe consequences.
- Find creative ways to express the importance of connections to community, culture and ceremony.
- Explore online options with your children regarding Indigenous-specific cooking classes, workshops, concerts, books, and dances.
- Learn about the 4 R’s Youth Movement that is a youth-driven initiative connecting change makers across the country.
- Visit Connect with Culture for Life for Indigenous Youth who know the value of culture and living their best life, but need a little help getting there.
- Keep active in the absence of school, sports teams, and recreation centre activities.
- Take family walks and try to identify plants, birds, animals and local medicines.
Create an outlet for emotional expressions
Children and youth will be missing their friends, family and regular activities. They may feel sad, lonely, or bored. They may also feel anxious, scared or worried about getting sick or passing the illness on to an Elder. How can parents and caregivers help?
- Listen to and acknowledge your children’s worries.
- Comfort them and help them find activities to calm their spirits like colouring, drawing, journaling, painting, breathing, meditating, or playing board games with the family.
- Connect through online entertainment that focuses on Indigenous games, stories and videos such as:
- If you are concerned about your child or youth, connect to emergency services:
Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868
First Nation and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310
Teen Line at 1-800-852-8336 or text TEEN to 839863
National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health – Maintaining Health and Well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children and Youth during COVID-19
Assembly of First Nations – Coronavirus information
First Nations Health Authority – Staying Connected during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Nawash Wellness Centre would like to remind everyone that support resources are still available during this period of relative isolation, from both inside and outside Neyaashiinigmiing. If you are feeling vulnerable, scared or alone, for any reason, please call any of these available services for friendly and compassionate assistance.
We are cautiously hopeful that the spread of COVID-19 has reached a plateau in Ontario, but there is not yet a statistical decline in cases. The province wants to see a consistent two-to-four week decline in new cases before it begins re-opening the economy. The Council has voted to align with the provincial plans and extend the stay-at-home guidelines in the community until May 29th. Community safety is the top priority of the Council, so the situation will be reassessed during the week of May 19/20 to determine if the community can be safely opened on May 29th, or if the stay-at-home guidelines will be extended yet further.
The extension of the stay-at-home guidelines means that we will maintain the policies that have kept our community free of COVID-19 infection thus far. Non-essential Band programs will remain closed and non-essential Band staff will remain home until May 29th. Designated essential staff will continue to work remotely or on reduced hours, according to their program requirements. The elementary school will also remain closed during this period.
The Chief and Council are grateful for the community’s continued support and patience during this incredibly difficult period. We understand that this is immensely frustrating and challenging, for all of us, but we cannot afford to let our guard down now, out of impatience at the weeks and months spent at home. As the province tentatively seems to have reached a peak in the pandemic, and a decline in cases is forecast, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Stay strong and we will get through this, together.
We’re all spending a lot of time during this pandemic at home with Netflix and baking, and likely running out of other things to do. Why not try one of literally hundreds of free online courses that institutions and companies have made available for free?
Before you jump in, start with a couple of short programs from Humber College and Carleton University, about how to successfully complete an online course, where you are the only one responsible for your time and focus. Successful students don’t forget to be mindful of their own mental health needs as well, as this course on self-care and resilience from Laurier University teaches.
Then consider surfing over to Coursera.org, where you can sign up for free, and search almost 2000 free courses, ranging from cooking to computers, psychology to sewing. Duolingo offers free language classes so you can express your desire to get out of the house in 35 different languages. Want to study at Harvard? You can do that. Yale? Sign me up. MIT? Think big!
With your new found skills, plus the ones you already have, you may want to start your own business to capitalize on your hard work. Check out McMaster University’s free course on how to Be Your Own Boss.
The Adult Learning Centre wants to remind you that with the vast reach of the Internet, knowledge is just a few clicks of a mouse or taps of a screen away! Make your time at home more interesting and more productive while we wait for the world to re-open.
You have started to see face masks become more common as people take action to protect their communities and themselves from the COVID-19 virus. While face masks have a small protective effect when worn by people who are not ill, they are much more effective in preventing the spread of disease when worn by people who are ill. For the sake of caution, many of us are acting as if we have the virus already, and doing whatever we can to avoid spreading it, including wearing face masks. To help, our Community Health Nurse has prepared a useful video on how to properly use a face mask.
Watch in on YouTube.
We are all a little nervous about getting sick with the COVID-19 virus, particularly with all of the rumors and misinformation circulating in the community. I would like to help put your mind at ease.
People get sick, whether it’s with allergies, asthma, cold/flu or an exacerbation of a chronic illness. I know that when you hear that someone is “sick” the first reaction is to think of the coronavirus, but not everyone seeking medical advice, going to the hospital or out by ambulance has COVID-19.
Please, try not to become anxious when someone is needing to look after their health.
In the event that someone in the community tests positive for COVID-19, the Community Health Nurse (CHN), SpringDawn Keeshig, will be notified by Grey/Bruce Health Unit. She will share that there is a positive case in the community, with no other details. At this time, there is no one in Neyaashiinigmiing who has tested positive for COVID-19.
You can protect yourself by continuing to remain 6 feet/2 meters away from others and washing your hands often.
Please respect everyone’s right to confidentiality by not following the ambulance that comes into the community, gossiping about other people’s health or asking questions from health care professionals that cannot be answered.
It is the Health Centre’s mission to support the community’s health and safety, and our goal to keep everyone informed with the most current health information available to us.
Stay strong! You can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Together, we can do this.
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse
These ideas have come from an open letter written by Professor Jonathon Smith, a lecturer in epidemiology at Yale University while completing a PhD at Emory University.
There are two truths about social distancing that should be emphasized and clarified.
- Social distancing is tiresome and frustrating, but it does work.
- The people you live with are like a chain in which the weakest link can affect the entire household.
We are still in the early stages of the pandemic. That means that no matter what we do, there will still be new cases of COVID-19 and even more deaths. However, this does not mean that social distancing is not working. In fact, by staying 6 feet or 2 meters away from each other, you are reducing the number of new cases.
You may feel discouraged as you see the number of cases rise. You shouldn’t. This is the normal path of a pandemic. Stay calm. Everyone must hold the line and continue their social distancing as the pandemic most certainly will get worse. Stay strong knowing that what you are doing by isolating is saving people’s lives.
As you self-isolate, you are decreasing your contact with others in the community, but you are increasing your time with your family. If you consider your family as a chain, one link holding onto the next. As long as the chain stays strong, it will stay together. However, if there is one weak link, the chain may fall apart. In the family, if one person puts themselves at risk, they become the weak link. They are putting everyone in the household at risk.
- If your son visits his girlfriend and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor.
- Your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with.
Social distancing is about community members working together in unison. There must be continued self-isolation before results can be seen. By knowing what to expect and knowing the critical importance of maintaining these measures, the hope is to encourage continued community spirit and steadfastness in social distancing.
“Even once the war ended, famously on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the flu’s devastation did not let up. In spontaneous celebrations marking the armistice, ecstatic Americans jammed city streets to celebrate the end of the “Great War,” Philadelphians again flocked to Broad Street, even though health officials knew that close contact in crowds might set off a new round of influenza cases. And it did.”
(Davis, Kenneth C. “Philadelphia Threw a WWI Parade That Gave Thousands of Onlookers the Flu.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution,21 Sept. 2018,https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/philadelphia-threw-wwi-parade-gave-thousands-onlookers-flu-180970372/.)
Stay strong! You can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Together, we’ve got this.
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse
While most of us are sheltering at home and maintaining social distance, the Nawash Food Bank volunteers are working hard all week to keep the food and necessaries stocked and organized. The Food Bank is available to all Neyaashiinigmiing residents, and may be accessed twice monthly by each household.
While the Food Bank is open for public pick-up on Tuesdays, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, and Thursdays, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, the volunteer organization would prefer that you take advantage of their delivery service. Call the Maadookii Seniors Centre, or the Daycare to arrange for safe, convenient delivery, and avoid crowding and outdoor line-ups at the Community Centre. If you do visit the Food Bank in person, please remember to stay safe and keep your distance from other patrons, even if you know them well.
The Maadookii Seniors Centre telephone number is 519-534-4918. The Nawash Nshiime Daycare telephone number is 519-534-3909. Call today to arrange your free food delivery!
The Federal government has relaxed some regulations around who can apply for and receive Employment Insurance, and the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and made benefits retroactive in some cases as well. Reports indicate that applicants are receiving funds under the programs in under a week. These developments have made the Chippewas of Nawash Small Business/Entrepreneur Living Wage Program no longer necessary. The Chief and Council have closed the Living Wage Program as of April 11, 2020. Members are urged to apply for Federal Employment Insurance benefits or CERB, as soon as possible.
The Business and Employment Support Worker is available to assist members making applications under these Federal programs.
Service Canada has also announced a dedicated toll-free phone line for First Nations members who need help with applications for both Employment Insurance and the CERB. The number for Service Canada’s Outreach Support Centre Line is 1-877-631-2657.
To all community members:
An employee in the band office has developed flu-like symptoms and is resting at home. The employee has consulted a doctor and the symptoms do NOT indicate a COVID-19 test is necessary. The employee is taking medical advice to self-quarantine for 14 days, in case the illness should worsen or develop symptoms of COVID-19.
Out of a similar abundance of caution, the Band Office will be closed to employees and the public until Monday, April 27th. The Council is being extremely vigilant for signs of illness in the community. During the closure, the Band Office will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, to ensure the environment is safe for the return of essential employees. Payroll for all Band staff will still be processed despite the closure.
Again, this is NOT considered a possible case of COVID-19. The Community Health Nurse is diligent in investigating any reports of flu-like illness or symptoms in the community, and to date there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Neyaashiinigmiing. If a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified in the community that information will be shared with the community by Health Services and the Chief and Council.
We urge all residents to continue to follow all the safety protocols that have been recently issued. Observe social distancing; hand wash frequently; do not gather; stay home except for essential trips out.
If you are personally experiencing flu-like symptoms, please call the Community Health Nurse, Springdawn Keeshig, at 519-378-6028 for assessment and advice on what to do next.
We understand that social distancing and staying home is difficult, but be assured that it is working. So far we have been able to avoid a single positive case of COVID-19 in the community. Please be strong in your resolve and help keep our community safe!
Chief Greg Nadjiwon and Council