COVID-19 Testing Coming to Neyaashiinigmiing

Testing Site Important Details

Where: Kikendaasogamig Elementary School
When: Tuesdays, May 12-26, 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Bring: Health Card, if available

In partnership with Grey Bruce Public Health, an on-site testing centre will be set up at Kikendaasogamig Elementary School beginning Tuesday, May 12, and operating every Tuesday for the following two weeks. Nawash Health Centre staff will be present at all times. 

At this time, the testing centre will only be testing Neyaashiinigmiing residents who may have symptoms of COVID-19. The testing centre will have both walk-in and drive-through options.

Anyone who receives a test will be required to self-isolate until the test results are returned in 3 – 4 days. If the test result is positive, you will be required to maintain self-isolation until you are free of the virus.

Again, note that not every resident will be tested. At this time, testing priority is being given to clients with symptoms first. Symptoms of COVID-19 are subtle in many people. If you aren’t sure if you are experiencing symptoms, we encourage you to complete a self assessment on the Province of Ontario website.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or sneezing
  • Nasal congestion or stuffy nose
  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Digestive issues – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain

If you require a home visit to assess your symptoms, contact SpringDawn/CHN at 519-378-6028 or Cynthia Porter/HCC Nurse at 519-534-0373.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, go to the nearest emergency department.

When you arrive at the testing centre, please be ready to share the following information:

  • Name
  • Address and phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Health Card, if you have one

Staff will be wearing protective gear. You will be asked to:

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Wear the face mask provided.
  • Describe your symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, tired, etc).

A Grey Bruce Public Health Nurse will take a swab sample as follows:

  • You will tip your head back.
  • A swap will be inserted into your nose and stay there for 10-15 seconds. This will feel uncomfortable.
  • You will be given instructions on how to self-isolate and how to get your test results.

The testing centre is an important part of monitoring the health of the community during the pandemic, and will allow us to respond quickly should a case of COVID-19 appear in Neyaashiinigmiing. Our Health staff have the full support of the Council and are doing everything possible to keep the community safe during the pandemic. We are grateful for the immense patience and support of our residents. 

Cape Croker Park Remains Closed

We have received reports from the Neyaashiinigmiing Police that unauthorized campers have been found in Cape Croker Park, despite the Park closure. The Council is also concerned about the upcoming long weekend and the possibility that we may see campers attempting to access the Park over the holiday weekend.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents ongoing challenges to the safe operation of large public facilities like the Park. The Council and Cape Croker Park management want to remind the public that, in response to the continued risk of COVID-19 transmission, and our desire to delay infection in the community, the Park is completely closed to all patrons until further notice.

Cape Croker Park will not be open during the May Victoria Day long weekend. The Park is regularly patrolled by police and staff and persons violating the closure risk being cited for trespassing.

Would-be campers and non-residents should not attempt to enter the community. Note that provincial and federal parks are also closed until a minimum of May 31st. We know that this is disappointing to every supporter of our Park, and lovers of the great outdoors, but we advise people to stay home, at their primary residence, until we all receive official medical guidance that it is safe to move about again.

Summer Events Cancelled Due to Pandemic

With great regret, the Council has decided to cancel the 2020 Nawash Pow-wow, as well as the annual Charity Golf Tournament, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The highly anticipated events are joint highlights of the summer, and require months of planning. Provincial leaders, however, are still only tentatively talking about re-opening the economy, and there is no clear direction yet what that re-opening might look like, or what schedule it will follow. Given the amount of uncertainty about the duration and severity of the pandemic, and the lack of detail in the provincial re-opening plan to date, Council determined that the Pow-wow and Golf Tournament could not be held safely and responsibly this year.

Chief Nadjiwon, summing up the discussion of Council, said, “Safety is our number one priority. We have to put these events off until we’re sure we can keep the residents and the visitors safe.”

It was not an easy decision to cancel two of the most high-profile events of the year, both of which are typically profitable and return much-needed funds to the community. The Neyaashiinigmiing pow-wow is well-known for its friendly and intimate atmosphere, and is traditionally hosted in the popular Cape Croker Park. The Park is also currently closed due to the pandemic and looks to remain shuttered throughout the normally busy summer camping season. The annual Charity Golf Tournament has always been well-attended by Neyaashiinigmiing members, government representatives of all levels, business partners and supporters of the community. The funds raised by the Tournament are directed towards community initiatives, most recently the new ice rink being constructed adjacent to the ball field.

Chippewas of Nawash Supports Local Food Banks

Food banks have always been important to communities, helping residents in times of need. The support of food banks is now more critical than ever, as we try to maintain our social distance and avoid unnecessary trips to the supermarket. The Nawash Food Bank has been blessed with donations from many people and organizations, including other food banks in the area who found extra to share with us from their own supplies. The Chief and Council are pleased to announce that Chippewas of Nawash is paying that generosity forward with donations of fresh-caught whitefish and salmon to area food banks.

Nawash fishing boats are the only ones on the water these days, making local fish a rarity. The Wiarton Salvation Army Food Bank, and Owen Sound M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre Food Bank each gratefully received 200 pounds of fresh whitefish and salmon, caught and packaged by Nawash fishermen and their crews. The Council and all of Chippewas of Nawash are happy to support local food banks, who are doing such good and vital work during the pandemic. We also hope that our members who live these communities, and may be in need, can visit the food banks and enjoy a taste of home. Chi-meegwech!

Contained Fires Will Be Allowed

The Chippewas of Nawash Fire Department and the Chief and Council would like to thank the community for their cooperation in refraining from having fires during the Covid-19 crisis. Although we are not out of the woods yet, with respect to the pandemic, we are confident enough in our response that we are going to allow sacred fires, fires for cooking and warmth, and burning barrels.
For safety, ensure that all fires are contained and that you have water or sand nearby to extinguish the fire after you are done. We ask that you CONTINUE TO REFRAIN from having grass fires and bonfires.
Please be mindful of the ongoing social distancing measures. Lifting the fire ban does not mean that we should be gathering with people outside our households, or having friends over to socialize around the fire. All residents are asked to maintain their social distance and not abuse the partial lifting of the fire ban.
We thank you for your patience and support.
Chi-Meegwetch,
Chippewas of Nawash Fire Dept
Chief and Council

Gloves versus Hands

Some of us may think it’s best to wear rubber gloves when we do our necessary shopping. I want to explain why you are no safer wearing gloves when you go out, than if your hands are bare.

First, note that COVID-19 cannot enter your body through your skin. It enters through your nose, eyes and mouth. This means that grocery shopping isn’t as scary as some sites on the internet have made out, provided you follow the guidelines we’ve all heard so often: remain 6 feet apart from others not from your household, and wash your hands frequently.

Second, it doesn’t matter how the corona virus gets to your face; once it’s there, you are at risk. Whether you touch your face with contaminated hands, gloves or objects (i.e. contaminated shirt), there is a chance of you contracting the virus.

If you touch a contaminated surface with either your gloved or bare hand, and then touch something else, you may have just spread the virus. If you touch a contaminated surface with either your gloved or bare hand, and then touch your face, you may have put yourself at risk of infection. There is also some evidence that the coronavirus may actually stick better to the gloves.

Wearing gloves may even increase your risk by giving you a false sense of security. While wearing gloves you may not be as mindful of what you are doing and how you may be contaminating other surfaces.

For example, you wear your gloves to the grocery store and then decide to stop into the pharmacy. It’s only a short ride, or you don’t have many gloves left, so you decide to wear the gloves in the car rather than changing them. If your gloves were contaminated in the grocery store, you may have now contaminated your steering wheel and other areas of your car.

Instead of wearing a fresh pair of gloves at every stop, or risking contamination, it’s much easier to use hand sanitizer on your bare hands as you leave one business and before you enter the next.

If you wear gloves, you must take them off properly to reduce the risk of contaminating yourself. Follow the directions below to safely remove used gloves.


Finally, a few DO’s and DON’Ts to remember:

  • DON’T touch environmental surfaces – eg: door handles, a keyboard, a computer mouse – with contaminated gloves
  • DON’T touch your face or adjust PPE with contaminated gloves
  • DON’T remove one glove, and then pull the other glove off by the fingertips
  • DON’T reuse disposable gloves once they have been removed
  • DO Be sure that you wash your hands before putting gloves on and after taking gloves off.
  • DO change gloves when heavily soiled or if torn
  • DO dispose of used gloves appropriately,

Stay strong!  You can help stop the spread of COVID-19.  Together, we can do this.

Thank you,
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse

Health and Well-Being of Indigenous Children and Youth 

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

Sources 

National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous HealthMaintaining Health and Well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children and Youth during COVID-19

Assembly of First NationsCoronavirus information

First Nations Health Authority – Staying Connected during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Crisis Support is Available

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.

Neyaashiinigmiing Stay-At-Home Guidelines Extended Until May 29th

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.