October 12 COVID-19 Update

Current COVID-19 Situation in Ross River

Ross River Dena Council advises all community members that as of 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 there is now one confirmed case of COVID-19 involving a member of our community.

The individual has been self-isolating in Whitehorse since Friday. Contact tracing is now under way, which means close contacts and/or household contacts are now being notified by Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) about the requirement to self-isolate.

If you or someone you know has been contacted by YCDC, please follow their instructions carefully, and remember to contact the Ross River Health Centre at (867) 969-4444 if you have any health-related questions, and/or contact the Ross River COVID-19 Support Line at (867) 747-0099 if you require assistance with self-isolation (i.e. grocery delivery, laundry services, etc). 

Ross River has not had any cases of COVID-19 since mid-September, however the arrival of the Delta variant in Yukon – a highly transmissible version of the original COVID-19 virus – still poses a very serious risk to our community. 

Vaccinated or unvaccinated, anyone can become infected and spread this variant in Ross River, putting our elders, our families and the most vulnerable members of our community at risk. 

Recognizing that our current vaccination rate (54% fully vaccinated, 64% partially vaccinated) is still the lowest in the territory, Council once again advises that the threat posed by COVID-19 is very real, and that getting the vaccine is still your best bet to help protect yourself and your family this fall and winter. 

Council asks everyone, whether you have been vaccinated or not, to please remain diligent – please continue to monitor for symptoms and to take extra precautions while in Ross River, including: 

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Stay at least six feet apart 
  • Do not participate in gatherings
  • Do not visit with others
  • Self-isolate after travel if unvaccinated
  • Stay home if you are sick

To stay informed and/or to learn more about the current case count, vaccination rate and COVID-19 Risk Levels for Ross River, please visit our COVID-19 Dashboard for the latest information.

If You Are Sick, Stay Home and Stay Safe!

Council advises that if you are feeling sick, it is important to stay at home. 

Even if you are experiencing mild symptoms, the decision to go to work, school, the store or another person’s house could put the health of your friends, neighbours, co-workers, fellow students and their families at risk. 

If you or someone you know has a minor cough, sore throat or sniffles, this may or may not be COVID-19, but Council asks that you please take it very seriously – just stay home, even if you are fully vaccinated. If the symptoms persist or get worse, please contact the Health Centre and arrange for a COVID-19 test.

Symptoms can 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

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms please direct them to self-isolate immediately and contact the Health Centre at 969-4444 to arrange for a COVID-19 test. 

Above all, if you are not feeling well, please do not go to work. Be respectful of others by staying home and staying safe!

New!!! Mouth-Rinse and Gargle Test Available in Ross River

The Government of Yukon has today confirmed that the Ross River Health Centre is now offering a mouth-rinse and gargle test for anyone five years of age and older who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. 

This test is a far less-invasive approach to virus detection, and is an excellent solution for community members who have concerns about the standard test, which can sometimes be uncomfortable.

If you wish to go for a mouth-rinse and gargle test, please do not eat, drink, smoke, vape, brush your teeth or chew gum for at least one hour before you do the mouth-rinse and gargle test.

If you have any questions, or would like more information please contact the Health Centre at (867) 969-4444. The following resources are also available:

  • To book a COVID-19 test in Ross River, please call the Health Centre at (867) 969-4444;
  • To book a COVID-19 test in Whitehorse, visit the online booking tool here;
  • The mouth rinse and gargle instructions are available here;
  • To watch a video for kids on how to use the mouth-rinse and gargle test go here; and
  • To watch a video for adults on how to use the mouth-rinse and gargle test, go here.

Current COVID-19 Risk Level: 5 (Extreme Risk)  

As of October 12, 2021 there is one active case of COVID-19 involving a community member. Approximately 54% of our population is fully vaccinated. There are currently multiple exposure notices and a case count above 20 in Yukon. As a result, the current COVID-19 Risk Level for Ross River is Level 5 (Extreme Risk) and the following COVID-19 safety measures remain in effect: 

  • To prevent a closure of the store, Dena General Store staff will increase monitoring this week to prevent anyone with symptoms from entering the store (pick-up/delivery services will be available to those who are not feeling well). This enhanced safety measure will allow up to six customers in the store at one time, and avoids closure, however if more cases arise this week the situation will be reviewed. Pick-up and delivery services are always an option – to place an order please call (867) 969-2280 and/or send an email to dena.general@northwestel.net and someone will respond as soon as possible; 
  • 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. 
  • Tu-Lidlini Petroleum advises that the gas station will continue to 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; 
  • The following travel advisory is now in effect:  
    • VISITORS – Please refrain from visiting 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 are now in the second phase of a three-phase Re-Opening Plan, which allows access to up to six staff members into RRDC buildings at one time; 
  • At Level 5 (Extreme Risk) Ross River Dena Council offices remain closed to the public. Once at Level 3 (Medium Risk) access to RRDC buildings will resume by appointment only; 
  • 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. 

What Do the Risk Levels Mean for Me?

Level 5 (Extreme Risk) indicates that there is at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Ross River. As a result, a number of community-level safety measures will be deployed to help raise awareness, prevent the spread and support those community members who are in self isolation. Level 5 is also an indication of increased safety measures at the Dena General Store, Tu-Lidlini Petroleum and all RRDC Offices.

While at Level 4 (High Risk), the Dena General Store will continue to allow up to six customers can enter the store at one time. Banking and post office services will still be available at the front door to help keep things efficient. Also at Level 4, the store will be operating during regular business hours from Monday-Saturday, unlike at Level 5.

For those who may be uncomfortable entering the store, delivery and pick-up options will still be available as a value-added service. Simply call 969-2280 or email dena.general@northwestel.net to place your order. 

Level 3 (Medium Risk) could soon be on the horizon. Once the risk level reaches Level 3, members of the public will be permitted to enter RRDC Offices by appointment only. Level 3 would also mean it is no longer necessary to operate the COVID-19 Safety Stop, which was in place to provide additional community outreach and collect important visitor information during periods of high and/or extreme risk.

At Level 2 (Low Risk), the store will be fully opened, and RRDC buildings will once again be open to the public. Reaching Level 1 (New Normal) means there are no longer any active cases in the Yukon and the risk to the community is very, very low.

To learn more about the COVID-19 Risk Levels, please visit our COVID-19 Dashboard page.

Other COVID-19 Considerations

Here are some additional considerations and helpful COVID-19 resources:

  • The Government of Yukon has created a new “Living with COVID-19” page that contains important messages to help guide Yukoners on the way forward. To check out this helpful resource, click here.
  • For the latest COVID-19 Self-Isolation Guidelines: https://yukon.ca/en/self-isolation-covid-19;
  • 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.

Job Opportunities / Volunteering Opportunities

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. The Working Group is open to anyone who wishes to lend a helping hand.

Now Hiring:

Ross River Dena Council is now seeking motivated community members who thrive under pressure and enjoy helping others to join our team and help lead the fight against COVID-19. The following positions are anticipatory and include temporary, part-time and full-time opportunities dedicated to leading a range of COVID-19 Prevention and COVID-19 Support Services activities.

  • COVID-19 Community Outreach Coordinator
  • COVID-19 Safety Officers (COVID-19 Safety Stop)
  • Self-Isolation Support (Delivery Drivers)
  • Website Designer / Communications Officer
  • Ross River COVID-19 Support Line Worker

If you are interested in one or more of these positions, please contact RRDC COVID-19 Action Plan Working Group Co-Chairs Verna Nukon (email to: verna.nukon@gmail.com) and/or Dylan Loblaw (email to: dylanloblaw@gmail.com) today!

Thank you,

Ross River Dena Council