June 25 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 Friday, June 25, 2021 the number of active cases involving members of our community remains at two, however some test results are still pending.

Both active cases are now self-isolating in Whitehorse. Contact tracing continues along with rapid testing – important measures to help determine if COVID-19 is still present in our community. 

As of Friday at 5:00 p.m. approximately 90 community members have been tested using the rapid testing system that was made available to our community this week. Council advises that almost everyone who participated has tested negative – but not all. A very small number of test results are still pending. These individuals have been contacted by the testing team and advised that additional time is needed to verify their test results and to continue self-isolating as a precaution.

In order to continue detecting the virus before it can spread, the rapid testing team is now being replaced by a new weekend team, and the clinic has been extended to Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to help as many community members as possible arrange for this important test.

Council is asking all community members to help protect our elders and vulnerable citizens by going for testing – even if you feel fine. Rapid testing is far less invasive than standard tests, and results are available within 15 minutes. Above all, you will be helping to protect your community during an unprecedented public health emergency.

And finally, Council advises that the following COVID-19 safety measures will remain in place until further notice: 

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Ross River Dena Council offices will remain closed to the public until further notice;
  • Ross River Dena Council staff will continue to work from home until further notice; and
  • Ross River Dena Council continues to engage with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the COVID Response Unit and efforts to help strengthen community-level support measures are now advancing.

These measures are in response to the current outbreak in Whitehorse and the presence of COVID-19 in multiple rural 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.

Rapid Testing Extended to Saturday and Sunday

Rapid testing in Ross River has been extended to Saturday and Sunday (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. both days). A new weekend team is scheduled to replace the current team of testers on Saturday morning. 

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. 

Rapid testing is available for anyone in the community who would like a test – no appointment is necessary, simply come to the gymnasium with your health card (preferred) and be sure to practice the  Safe 6 +1  if there is a lineup outside. 

Any elders or community members who feel nervous about visiting the testing site can contact the Health Centre at 969-4444 to discuss other available options.

Upcoming Vaccination Opportunities

Adults interested in participating in upcoming vaccination opportunities are encouraged to contact the Ross River Health Centre at 969-4444. Clinics for adults (18 and older) are organized on demand, and can be arranged quickly if enough community members express interest.

Ross River COVID-19 Support Line

It is expected that multiple community members will be self-isolating this week and may have questions and/or need assistance with essential tasks such as grocery shopping or laundry. Council has set up the RRDC COVID-19 Support Line for precisely this reason, and it is encouraged that anyone who is in self-isolation please call 747-0099 if you need assistance.

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 this historic public health emergency. If you would like more information about this Working Group or would be interested in volunteering to help keep our community safe, 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