Message to the Snuneymuxw community regarding the COVID-19 Disease - Update Jan. 3, 2021

Jan. 3/21

Dear Snuneymuxw,

I am writing to update you that our Nation has confirmed five( 5) more test positive cases for covid-19 in our community, for a total of twelve( 12) active cases. The affected persons are in isolation and in addition to Island Health nurses conducting daily check- ins with the affected families, our Nation is providing support to the families as well.

The rate of transmission in our community is rising and we all need to help flatten the curve. Now more than ever, it is extremely important everyone in our community abide by the shelter- in-place order and community security procedures. These emergency measures are put in place to contain the spread of the virus and prevent further transmission. Significantly reducing movement and interactions within our community is critical at this time. The more you go outside your home and interact and gather with people, the risk for transmission increases.

We have a community responsibility to do everything in our power to flatten the curve. This means stay home and protect yourself and your families. The stay-at-home order is not forever. We will get through this as a community, with one heart and one mind. Keep in touch with your relatives through telephone, social media, or virtual meetings.

Yesterday, our Nation announced that QQS School will be closed during the stay-at-home order is in place. Principal Kevin Brand is in the process of contacting students and families to support them, and share the plan going forward. Additionally, the Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools ( NLPS) will support Snuneymuxw students with remote learning while during the stay- at- home order is in place. Please see the joint letter that our Nation issued with NLPS in this newsletter.

On behalf of our Nation, I want to thank NLPS, the medical health officers, First Nations Health Authority, Island Health and others for recognizing and enforcing Snuneymuxw jurisdiction and decision- making authority to enact Snuneymuxw laws, plans, policies and procedures which provide a culturally appropriate rapid response. I am proud that we are abiding by the provincial health orders as a Nation, and in most cases exceeding those minimum standards. Your Councillors are asking that you follow our Snuneymuxw emergency response measures to help save lives in our community.

I would like to briefly address our community security. Last night was the first night for the checkpoints and I want to thank you all for following these security procedures. However, it is reported that some of these checkpoints were challenged by people trying to enter or exit the reserve. Please be mindful that we are at the beginning stages for the virus spreading in our community. Restricted access helps to reduce movement and interactions to slow the spread. On behalf of Council, we ask that you please respect these community security procedures. Safety for everyone involved is the highest importance.

Finally, I would like to inform you that Snuneymuxw made a request to the medical health officer for expedited access to vaccinations. We are advised that our request has been elevated to the Minister of Health. As well, our team is working to have mobile covid- 19 testing sites in our community. I will share information with you as it comes in. Updates will be published daily and the next one will be tomorrow. Please be safe, reach out to our Nation at any time, and be kind to one another.

Sincerely,

Chief Mike Wyse