In light of the declaration by the Ontario government of a second state of emergency I am requesting that community members everywhere take these new lockdown requirements extremely seriously.
We all must spend as much time at home as possible because of the danger COVID-19 poses to the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3. We have been lucky so far, but the rising case count in both the Kenora and Fort Frances regions places us all at risk. Although 45 cases may seem like a small number, we must remember that the regional population is relatively small and we all use the same small numbers of services which places us all at risk.
What is very concerning is the fact that the majority of these new cases have no traceable source. Our medical professionals have no idea where most of these cases are coming from, so we cannot predict future spread. There are too many unknowns for any of the risks associated with gatherings or activities to be worthwhile. To reduce the number of unknowns I ask that people keep track of where they go and for anyone feeling unwell to seek testing.
Our region has very limited health care facilities and we must remember that Winnipeg and the rest of Manitoba may not be available to us in an emergency. Thunder Bay and the rest of Ontario is similarly becoming overloaded. If COVID-19 is allowed to become widespread, there is severe risk to our communities. The health and wellbeing of our loved ones and our knowledge keepers must be our top priority.
I want to assure citizens that leadership is doing what they can to contain the spread and plan a vaccine rollout, but in the meantime we all must do our part. We have all come this far and have lived nearly an entire year under some form of lockdown. We are certainly capable of living another month or two where we decide to make the best decision we can for our people: to stay home.
I wish everyone good health and remind you all that you are loved and valued during these difficult times.
Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh
For more information on the Province of Ontario’s Declaration of Emergency visit: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59922/ontario-declares-second-provincial-emergency-to-address-covid-19-crisis-and-save-lives