July 16 COVID-19 Update

Current COVID-19 Situation in Ross River

Ross River Dena Council advises all community members that there are currently no active cases of COVID-19 in Ross River. 

This is welcomed news, however Council advises that the risk of COVID-19 returning to the community is still very high due to a combination of factors including the number of cases in Whitehorse and rural communities, vaccination rates, and the potential for new cases due to high-risk behaviour.

The current COVID-19 Risk Rating for Ross River is expected to remain at Level 5 (Extreme) until the territorial case count is significantly lower.

As a result, the following COVID-19 safety measures will remain in effect this weekend:

  • The Dena General Store will be temporarily closed to the public, however community members can place an order for pickup or delivery of groceries to your door – please call 969-2280 and/or send an email to dena.general@northwestel.net to place your order;
  • The Dena General Store will now be closed on Sundays and Tuesdays for cleaning and other necessary measures;
  • 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 – Travellers are asked to refrain from visiting Ross River at this time; 
    • ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY – Community members are asked to refrain from travelling to other communities unless it is absolutely essential (i.e. for medical reasons);
  • Ross River Dena Council offices will remain closed to the public until further notice;
  • Ross River Dena Council employees are now being contacted about a new office schedule that will take effect on Monday (see below re: Re-Opening Plan);
  • 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.

Re-Opening Plan Begins Monday 

The first phase of Ross River Dena Council’s three-phase re-opening plan will begin on Monday, July 19. All RRDC offices will remain closed to the public, however employees will be receiving a schedule that allows for up to three individuals to be in RRDC buildings at one time beginning next week.

Phase two will increase access to six, and could be introduced as early as Monday, July 26 if there are no cases in the community and the territorial case count continues to trend in the right direction.

Phase three will be the return to full operational capacity, with public access by appointment only, depending on the community’s overall COVID-19 Risk Level. Please watch for more information in the days and weeks ahead.

New Email To Support Re-Opening Plan and Workplace 2.0

A new email account was created to assist Ross River Dena Council employees during the upcoming transition period. Employees are asked to please send any inquiries regarding the Re-Opening Plan or the setup of RRDC Workplace 2.0 to operations@rossriverdenacouncil.com. Staff can also call the RRDC COVID-19 Support Line at 747-0099 for more information.

Employees are reminded that they must follow the Safe 6+1 at all times while at the office, and should prepare for the possibility of additional office closures in the coming weeks if there are new cases of COVID-19 in Ross River.

Reporting High-Risk Behaviour

To help support the re-opening plan and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community, Council is asking all community members to please be on the lookout for high-risk behaviour and to report individuals who are not following the Civil Emergency Measures Act by calling (867) 393-6210 or by filling out the online form.

High-risk behaviour consists of any activity that is not in accordance with current COVID-19 guidelines and/or the current safety measures put in place by Council to help keep Ross River safe. 

Examples of high-risk behaviour include:

  • Not following the Safe 6+1;
  • Participating in social gatherings that are outside of your bubble and involve more than six people;
  • Travelling to and from other communities for non-essential purposes;
  • Not wearing a mask while in close proximity to others;
  • Overcrowded vehicles and passengers are not wearing masks to protect one another; and
  • Visiting houses even when there is a sign on the door that says no visitors.

Not Feeling Well? Get Tested

Community members are reminded that if you are feeling sick – even with mild symptoms – it is important to immediately self-isolate and contact the Health Centre at 969-4444 to arrange for a test. Do not visit with others and do not come directly to the Health Centre, please call first.  

Symptoms include:

  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches

Other COVID-19 Considerations

Council recognizes that as part of the new normal, outbreaks may occur in Whitehorse and/or rural communities in the weeks and months ahead. When an outbreak occurs, Council asks that everyone remain calm, continue to follow the Safe 6 +1 and that we all work together to help protect vulnerable community members during these difficult times.

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.

Volunteers Needed

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 vernanukon@gmail.com and/or Dylan Loblaw at dylanloblaw@gmail.com. You can also reach us by calling the Ross River COVID-19 Support Line at 747-0099 at any time. 

Thank you,

Ross River Dena Council