July 20 COVID-19 Update (9 p.m.)

Current COVID-19 Situation in Ross River

Ross River Dena Council advises all community members that as of 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 there is a new active case of COVID-19 in Ross River. It is the only known case in our community at this time.

The individual has been self-isolating in Ross River since Sunday. Contact tracing is under way.

Contact tracing is organized by the Yukon Centre for 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 instrumental role to guide you on next steps and will offer important advice and support for your situation.

The new case appears to be the result of a community member who visited another community and was in close contact with an individual who had COVID-19. The individual was unaware at the time and has since tested positive.

Based on the current situation in the community and current active cases in Yukon, the COVID-19 Risk Level for Ross River remains at Level 5 (Extreme), which means the following COVID-19 safety measures are in effect:

  • The Dena General Store will be 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 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 (see below for an update as of 9 p.m.);
  • 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.

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

Re-Opening Plan Update (as of 9 p.m.)

The first phase of Ross River Dena Council’s three-phase re-opening plan launched on Monday. While RRDC offices remain closed to the public, employees are now following a schedule and guidelines that will allow up to three staff members to access RRDC buildings at one time.

In this phase of the Re-Opening Plan, staff members are allocated enough time to access email, voicemail and printers for a few hours, and will work from home for the remainder of the day.

With a new active case in the community, as reported above, Council is advising employees that the current phase of the Re-Opening Plan remains in effect, however if an employee does not feel safe and/or does not wish to access the office this week he/she should notify their Director accordingly.

Employees are reminded that they must follow the Safe 6+1 while at the office, and should prepare for the possibility of future office closures when there are active cases of COVID-19 in the community.

Upcoming Vaccination Opportunities

Adults (18+)

A clinic for adults (18 and older) who are interested in receiving the Moderna vaccine will be held on Thursday, July 22 and Friday, July 23 at the Ross River Health Centre. Please call 969-4444 for more information and/or to arrange for an appointment. Community clinics are organized based on demand, and can be arranged quickly if enough community members express interest. 

Youth (ages 12-17)

The next vaccination opportunity for Ross River youth (ages 12-17) has not yet been announced, but is expected in early August. Youth vaccinations are also available in Whitehorse. To book an appointment, please visit the online booking system here.

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