Update on COVID Matters – December 8, 2020
The following is a brief update on the COVID situation and conditions as of today.
10 Active Cases now in Marathon- Testing Available in Mobert
3 additional positive cases were announced yesterday bringing the total number of active cases to 10.
A positive case has also been reported in Manitouwadge.
There is evidence of community spread in Marathon.
There are still no confirmed cases in Mobert.
All persons who were potentially in contact with a positive case at the Barrick mine site have been contacted and are self-isolating.
All of our health and social services staff are scheduled for COVID testing.
Community clinics for COVID testing will be held in Mobert on December 9 and again on December 14 – please consult with the health centre to schedule an appointment.
Why aren’t we on a lockdown?
Our First Nation introduced new guidelines and restrictions a couple of weeks ago in response to the first positive COVID case being announced.
We considered a lockdown, but instead are strongly recommending that our citizens follow the guidelines and precautions that we have announced. Lockdowns bring with them a whole set of challenges and health issues as we experienced earlier this year. There are challenges with people accessing essential needs and services, and due to health risks and precautions, we don’t necessarily have enough staff to safely provide the extra demands of being on lockdown.
We locked down during the first wave of COVID because no one anywhere in the world really understood the virus on how to best protect yourself with them. It’s months later and now we understand the precautions that can help protect us from and carry on life while the virus is still circulating.
As a reminder, here are the measures that are currently in place for Mobert:
Mobert continues under Stage 2 – Controlled Access – this means that:
All Mobert residents are strongly advised to avoid non-essential trips to Marathon and Manitouwadge until further notice and should consider White River or other communities for grocery shopping and accessing other essential goods and services
All non-essential staff who reside in Marathon and Manitouwadge will be required to work from home until further notice – Managers will identify who is an essential staff with the CEO, and this will include most of our Health and Social teams
Any employees who are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with COVID are required to stay away from work until their symptoms resolve (this has been effect for several months now)
All non-essential employee trips to Marathon and Manitowadge are cancelled – employees are directed to utilize shops and services from White River (or other communities except Thunder Bay) until further notice
Only essential service providers will be allowed to enter the community, and even then they will be subject to strict screening procedures
Any visits to Mobert by non-residents, including immediate family and friends, should be avoided if possible
All persons entering Mobert will be subjected to a full screening including completing a COVID questionnaire and temperature screening – we will also ask if they were in Marathon and provide advice on not travelling there for the short-term
Highschool students and Mobert school students will continue under remote learning until after the Christmas holidays
In addition to these measures, our citizens who are under a physicians care should consult with their physician on any additional measures that they should follow.
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit today reported 114 (which includes the 10 in Marathon).
While the entire Thunder Bay District Health Unit area including Mobert is now under an “Orange” zone, we are concerned that with the growing number of cases in Thunder Bay and therefore are maintain the following procedures:
All Mobert residents should continue to avoid all non-essential travel to Thunder Bay and outside of Northern Ontario until further notice.
· Essential travel would include trips to attend an important medical appointment, access counselling or other similar services that you cannot complete over a video or conference call, to visit someone in your immediate family who is seriously ill (if you are can confirm that you will be allowed to visit them in hospital, etc.), to attend a funeral, and others (please consult with our Health Dept. for further guidance)
Persons who need to make an essential trip to Thunder Bay or outside of Northern Ontario must:
Contact our Health Department (Shelly Livingston, Manager) before the travel to receive instructions and guidance;
Provide us with information on your travel plans including departure and return dates;
On return, complete a COVID screening questionnaire and temperature scan; and
Contact the Health Manager immediately on your return for further instructions, which may include self-isolation and/or a COVID test, if precautions and conditions of travel were not followed.
Persons who make non-essential trips (e.g shopping, visits) to Thunder Bay or outside of Northern Ontario will be required to self-isolate for 14 days or until such time as they have provided a negative COVID test.
No non-essential visitors from Thunder Bay are permitted, and in the event of an essential visitor, non-residents must self-isolate for 14 days or until such time as they have provided a negative COVID test.
In addition, no visitors from outside of all other areas of Northern Ontario, including Manitoba, will be permitted at this tim
Resident Mine Workers are on a temporary leave
In an effort to further protect our community, we have negotiated a paid leave for our mine workers at Barrick that live in Mobert so that they can stay at home and avoid circulating in the community. This is because Mobert is a close knit and small indigenous community and has much higher public risks than other non-indigenous communities. That is, we need to continue to do everything to keep possible COVID exposures out of Mobert.
Based on current information, that last known possible contact with a positive contact at the mine occurred on November 29, 2020 and all of those possible contacts have been identified, contacted and are self-isolating.
Employees who live outside of Mobert who have unique health issues or who are just uneasy about returning to work now, do have options and should contact their supervisor at White Lake LP to discuss these.
Vaccines are Coming
Canada has recently announced that the first COVID vaccines will be delivered before the end of the year.
Vaccines are distributed by the federal government to the Provinces.
Ontario has announced that Indigenous adults, especially in remote communities, will be part of the first priority group to receive the vaccines.
Details are slowly being announced and we will provide further information as we receive it.
Pic Mobert First Nation/Netmizaagamig Nishnaabeg