Current COVID-19 Situation in Ross River
Ross River Dena Council advises all community members that as of 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 14, 2021 the number of active cases involving members of our community has increased to nine after four new cases were confirmed today.
Council advises that three of the active cases are currently self-isolating in Whitehorse, and a total of six active cases are self-isolating in Ross River.
It was the largest single-day jump in cases since the outbreak began in June. This is also the highest active case count for Ross River since the start of the pandemic. It is anticipated that cases may continue to climb in the coming days largely due to the number of individuals who were in close contact with an active case last week, along with new household contacts that occurred this week.
Contact tracing is under way and a rapid testing team is now being assembled (see below for details).
Contact tracing is led by Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) in Whitehorse and involves reaching out to those who were in direct contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. If you are contacted, a representative of YCDC will play an extremely important role to guide you on next steps and help answer any questions you may have about your current situation.
Generally speaking, YCDC gets involved within the first 24 hours following a positive test result, however it is possible that some individuals will take longer to reach. With that in mind, if you or someone you know may have been exposed to an individual who tested positive it is important to immediately self-isolate, contact the Ross River Health Centre at 969-4444 and begin to self-monitor for symptoms. For more information about self-isolation or what to do if you may have been exposed, go here.
As the COVID-19 situation in Ross River advances Council is asking everyone to please remain calm, to keep looking out for one another and to continue taking every possible precaution in the days ahead. Your efforts to practise the Safe 6+1 and follow the local COVID-19 safety measures will be instrumental to keeping our elders, our families and the most vulnerable members of our community safe right now.
While in Ross River please continue to:
- Wear a mask
- Wash your hands
- Stay six feet apart
- Do not participate in gatherings
- Do not visit with others
- Self-isolate after travel if unvaccinated
For community members who are unvaccinated, please note that the vaccine is still considered to be the best way to protect yourself and your family against this virus. If you have questions or would like assistance with booking an appointment please contact the Health Centre at 969-4444.
Rapid Testing Begins On Tuesday
Due to this spike in cases, a rapid testing clinic is now scheduled for Tuesday, August 17 and Wednesday, August 18 at the Ross River School gymnasium from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days.
Anyone concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in Ross River is asked to please go to the school for a test – this will play an instrumental role to finding and containing COVID-19 in our community.
Rapid testing can generate results in approximately 15 minutes – much faster than the normal 24-48-hour turnaround time. It is also less invasive than standard tests.
Another important feature of rapid testing is that you do not need to be showing symptoms in order to get a test, unlike with the standard test.
All community members are encouraged to get tested – no appointment is necessary, simply bring your health card (preferred) to the clinic and be sure to practice the Safe 6+1 if there is a lineup outside.
What To Do If You (Or Someone You Know) Feels Sick
It is really important to contact the Ross River COVID-19 Support Line at 747-0099 or the Ross River Health Centre at 969-4444 if you observe anyone who is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of sense of taste or smell
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle aches
If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of these symptoms please self-isolate immediately and contact the Health Centre at 969-4444 to arrange for a COVID-19 test.
Help Us Stay Connected
While there is ongoing support for the individuals in self-isolation using the Ross River COVID-19 Support Line, there may be some individuals who do not have phones, and may be unaware of the dangers and/or may be showing symptoms.
If you observe a community member who is sick and is not self-isolating, please call the COVID-19 Support Line at 747-0099 and we can help by providing temporary cel phones and self-isolation support for individuals in need.
Travel Advisory – Do Not Visit Ross River At This Time
We can all help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following travel advisories that have been put in place by Yukon First Nations and municipalities.
With the current outbreak impacting families in Watson Lake, Carmacks and Faro, Council is asking Yukoners and travellers from outside of the territory to please continue to respect the travel advisory for Ross River, which reads as follows:
- NO VISITORS – Please do not visit Ross River at this time;
- ROSS RIVER CITIZENS: ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY – Ross River citizens are asked to respect all travel advisories currently in effect and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our neighbouring communities of Watson Lake, Faro and Carmacks. Please refrain from travelling to these communities unless it is absolutely necessary (i.e. for medical reasons)
Please visit the Council of Yukon First Nations website for more information about current travel advisories.
Current Risk Level 5 (Extreme)
As of July 30, Ross River continues to have the lowest vaccination rate in Yukon, with approximately 45% of our population now fully vaccinated. Today Ross River had the most new cases in a single day and reached the highest number of active cases since the start of the pandemic. For this reason, the current COVID-19 Risk Level for Ross River remains at Level 5 (Extreme) and the following COVID-19 safety measures remain in effect:
- The Dena General Store will now be closed on Sundays and Tuesdays for cleaning and other necessary measures;
- The Dena General Store will also be closed on Monday of this week (holiday). Store management advises that new safety measures will be in place to support pick-up and delivery services as early as Wednesday, depending on the COVID-19 situation in Ross River. To place an order for delivery on Wednesday (or possibly sooner), please call 969-2280 and/or send an email to email@example.com and someone will respond as quickly as possible;
- Tu-Lidlini Petroleum advises that the gas station will have reduced hours from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. until further notice and that customers are strongly encouraged to use the Cardlock system to pay for fuel;
- Banking services will be available at the Dena General Store on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – services are provided at the door, as the store is currently closed to the public.
- The following travel advisory is now in effect:
- NO VISITORS – Please do not visit Ross River at this time;
- ROSS RIVER CITIZENS: ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY – Ross River citizens are asked to respect all travel advisories currently in effect and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our neighbouring communities of Watson Lake, Faro and Carmacks. Please refrain from travelling to these communities unless it is absolutely necessary (i.e. for medical reasons) Ross River Dena Council offices will remain closed to the public until further notice;
- Ross River Dena Council offices are now in the first phase of a three-phase Re-Opening Plan, which allows access to up to three staff members into RRDC buildings at one time; Ross River Dena Council will continue to engage with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Department of Health and Social Services and the COVID Response Unit to help strengthen community-level support.
These measures were introduced in response to the outbreak in Whitehorse and the presence of COVID-19 in multiple communities, including Ross River. Council continues to work with territorial health authorities and our neighbouring communities to monitor the situation and takes this matter very seriously.
Other COVID-19 Considerations
Here are some additional considerations and resources to help keep Ross River safe:
- If you or someone you know had really mild symptoms and recently tested negative for COVID-19 this is good news, however it is not the end of the story. If symptoms get worse in the days (and weeks) following a test, it’s a good idea to self-isolate and call the Health Centre at 969-4444 to arrange for another test – when it comes to COVID-19, it’s way better to be safe than sorry;
- For the latest COVID-19 Self-Isolation Guidelines: https://yukon.ca/en/self-isolation-covid-19;
- If you see someone who was known to be self-isolating but may not be following the current the self-isolation guidelines, you can report this activity here;
- If you live with others and are not able to self-isolate, please inform the Health Centre or Ross River Dena Council and efforts will be made to arrange for temporary self-isolation options; and
- Anyone seeking mental health and wellness support are encouraged to call the LifeWorks Crisis Support Line at 1-844-751-2133 (open 24 hours, 7 days a week) or call (867) 332-5468 to reach the Mental Health, Counselling and Crisis Support Line for Ross River, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks and Faro citizens.
Ross River Dena Council has established the RRDC COVID-19 Action Plan Working Group to advise Council and help coordinate COVID-19 community outreach and support efforts during an unprecedented public health emergency. For more information about the Working Group or if you would like to volunteer and help make a difference, please send an email to the Working Group Co-Chairs Verna Nukon at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Dylan Loblaw at email@example.com. You can also reach us by calling the Ross River COVID-19 Support Line at 747-0099 at any time.
Ross River Dena Council