Danchea. My name is Doris Bill and I am Chief of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation.
I am putting out this message to Citizens and to the community because on Sunday, June 13, a COVID-19 outbreak was declared in Whitehorse.
Since then, COVID-19 case numbers, including the highly contagious variant, have climbed at an alarming rate.
I want to take this opportunity to send condolences to the family of the Yukoner who has died due to COVID-19. And send our best wishes to everyone who is sick.
We know that we have a small number confirmed cases in the McIntyre subdivision. And we are asking people to NOT visit our community at this time unless they’re working or have an essential reason to be here.
We have a number of Kwanlin Dün students and families self-isolating as a result of positive cases at Elijah Smith Elementary School.
We know that this is a scary time for many people in the community. You may be unsure of what to do. The situation has been changing quickly.
Kwanlin Dün government offices remain closed to the public without an appointment. Programs, such as youth recreation, have been paused and events have been postponed.
Basic essential services will continue, and our staff will continue working, but if they can they’ll work from home instead of coming into an office.
Many of our meetings are taking place virtually instead of in person.
And we have a directive in place that says a person may not enter a Kwanlin Dün workplace within 14 days of travelling outside the Yukon bubble or having contact with someone who has travelled outside the Yukon bubble.
We are also working alongside Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health to keep you as informed as possible.
I would like to reassure you that there are a few things we can all do to keep everyone in our community safe – our families, friends, youth, Elders and the most vulnerable.
First, we can all get vaccinated. If you have been waiting to get those shots, now is the time. Especially youth ages 12 to 18, and adults over 18.
I cannot say this enough: Vaccination is our BEST PROTECTION against COVID-19 and the variants.
This outbreak is linked to the Gamma variant, which is more contagious. It will seek out a host, which is unvaccinated people and target them. Our ultimate goal here is to have no hosts for this virus.
Research is showing that it’s rare that fully vaccinated people get sick from this virus. And if they do, their symptoms are much less severe than people who are not vaccinated.
The vaccine is free and it’s available to everyone in Yukon over age 12 now. You can book at the Whitehorse vaccine clinic or call the Health Centre if you need any assistance.
Second, please follow the Safe 6 + 1.
That means keeping a 2 metre distance from anyone outside your close bubble. And we encourage you to keep your bubble small until we get through this outbreak.
Following the Safe 6 + 1 also means self-isolating when you’ve been asked to, not travelling unless it’s essential, and… this one is really important because this is where we see transmission happening in the Yukon … no gathering or partying.
The recent outbreak is linked to youth and adults gathering at parties, bush parties, and in bars. Now is NOT the time to invite people to your house… now is NOT the time to invite people into the community … now is NOT the time to have a gathering or party…. Now is NOT the time to go house to house.
But that doesn’t mean you need to stay home. We encourage you – if you can — to go out on the land, be with people you love and do the things you love doing.
Third, I know that many of you have been wondering whether you should get a COVID-19 test.
The answer is that you need to get a test if you have new or worsening COVID-19 symptoms. .. Especially if you are not fully vaccinated.
These symptoms include
• Shortness of breath
• Runny nose
• Sore throat
• Loss of sense of taste or smell
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea and vomiting
• Muscle aches
If you have symptoms, phone the Health Centre to arrange testing. Or book a test online through Yukon.ca.
And the fourth and final thing…. It’s more important than ever that we be kind to one another.
Many people are going through difficult times. And now is the time to be supportive and lift each other up.
Let’s take care of ourselves and let’s take care of each other.
As we work toward healing and moving through this outbreak, I also ask that anyone who needs mental wellness support reach out for help.
We have gone through many tragedies lately and it has been hard on our people.
I want you to know you are not alone.
Reach out to the Health Centre, to the National Residential School Crisis Line or through Rapid Access Counselling through the Yukon government.
Stay safe, everyone.
Shä̀w níthän, Gùnáłchîsh, Mähsi’cho, Thank you.