October 18 COVID-19 Update

Current COVID-19 Situation in Ross River

Ross River Dena Council advises that as of 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 18, 2021 there are no longer any active cases of COVID-19 in Ross River. 

A case that was announced last Tuesday has now recovered, and no new cases have been reported by Yukon Communicable Disease Control in Whitehorse. 

As a result, the case count will return to zero and the COVID-19 Risk Level for Ross River will be lowered from Level 5 (Extreme Risk) to Level 4 (High Risk), with the possibility of reaching Level 3 (Medium Risk) later this month or early next month, depending on the situation in neighbouring communities, the overall case count in Yukon and other factors, such as vaccination rates.

Council acknowledges that the return to zero active cases is excellent news, however cases of COVID-19 are still on the rise across the North and across Canada and the probability that the virus will return to our community in the weeks and months ahead remains very high. 

Currently the case count for Yukon is at 66, with 24 new cases over the weekend and another two exposure notices announced today. This has been a consistent trend over the past two weeks, and an unfriendly reminder that COVID-19 is not going away.

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

Please Remain Diligent This Week

As our Risk Level is once again lowered to Level 4 (High Risk), and as we continue take steps in the right direction, please note that if/when there is a new case in the community, the Risk Level will automatically return to Level 5 (Extreme) to ensure community members are well aware that the virus has been detected in Ross River.

Until last week, the community had not seen a COVID-19 case since mid-September, but with the arrival of the Delta variant in Yukon last month – a highly transmissible version of the original COVID-19 virus – and with our vaccination rate still the lowest in the territory (54% fully vaccinated, 64% partially vaccinated), it means the risk to our elders, our families and our most vulnerable community members is still very high. 

For this reason, Council 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 also reminds all community members – whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated – to please remain diligent and 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

If You Are Sick, Stay Home and Stay Safe!

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

If you or someone you know has symptoms, please contact the Health Centre at (867) 747-0099 to discuss the situation 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

Even if you or someone you know has just a minor cough, sore throat or sniffles, it is important to stay home. This may or may not be COVID-19, but Council asks that everyone please take this matter seriously – even if you are fully vaccinated. 

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

Last week the Government of Yukon 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: 4 (High Risk)  

As of October 18, 2021 there are no active cases of COVID-19 in Ross River. Approximately 54% of our population is fully vaccinated. There are currently a significant number of exposure notices and a case count above 20 in Yukon (currently 66). As a result, the current COVID-19 Risk Level for Ross River will be lowered to Level 4 (High Risk) and the following COVID-19 safety measures remain in effect: 

  • The Dena General Store will allow up to six customers in the store at one time. 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 4 (High Risk) Ross River Dena Council offices remain closed to the public, however at Level 3 (Medium Risk) access can 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 allow up to six customers in 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 (867) 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