April 3rd, 2020
Friday, April 3rd, 2020, at a duly convened meeting of the Council of the Kebaowek First Nation (KFN), it was recommended by the Kebaoweks’ Emergency Response Group (ERG) for the COVID 19 Pandemic that: A State of Emergency be declared for Kebaowek First Nation. Effective immediately on Friday, April 3rd, 2020, I Lance Haymond, Chief of Kebaowek First Nation, declare a State of Emergency for Kebaowek First Nation.
This declaration of Emergency activates the Kebaowek Emergency Response and Pandemic Plans.
This State of Emergency was declared:
- To protect all members of the community, especially our knowledge keepers and our most vulnerable.
- To maintain essential services within the community
- To ensure community members recognize the severity of the current risk to our community
- To ensure timely access to emergency funding programs and support
Together with the ERG, KFN closed all non-essential services on March 16th, 2020. All non- essential personnel were instructed to work from home; all essential employees and services were significantly reduced and placed on stand; vulnerable residents were identified and serviced; our food bank service was ramped up. Private businesses immediately implemented COVID-19 recommended precautions for the safety of their employees and our members.
Both Federal and Provincial governments have made recommendations to restrict travel, including local travel (this Means only leave your home when necessary to get essential like medication and groceries) don’t have large gatherings or house parties, physical distancing and hygiene protocols, notably to wash your hands regularly.
While other First Nation communities in Canada including those in Quebec are setting up control check points or closing down traffic all together. Kebaowek is monitoring the situation and if an increase in traffic becomes an issue, measures such as check points and limiting access to members currently living on reserve may be instituted as increase in traffic increases the risk of exposure to our members and front line workers. A significant number of our members have underlying health conditions (cancer, dialysis, respiratory problems, high blood pressure etc.) which puts them at higher risk of having serious complications from the virus including death.
Chief and Council, along with the Emergency Response Group will be communicating regularly to ensure that the needs of the community are met, and the State of Emergency is lifted where it is safe to do so. This situation is constantly changing, and it should be expected that’s additional communications will be released frequently to ensure that the community remains safe and up to date on the evolving situation. In conclusion, the fact remains that we may not stop the virus from coming in our community, but if we all work together, we can limit the spread and the impacts.