Chief Daniel Miskokomon of Walpole Island First Nation declared a local state of emergency today, Monday, March 23, activating the Emergency Response Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reasons for declaring the state of emergency include enabling action to protect the community to ensure people take social distancing seriously, and to access funding and support from outside agencies and organizations during this time, Walpole Island First Nation officials said in a media release.
“By declaring a state of emergency, we hope to raise the level of awareness of how important it is to practice social distancing to help flatten the curve and protect our most vulnerable members,” Chief Miskokomon stated.
“The high prevalence of underlying health conditions makes our community particularly vulnerable and we would like to remind our members that we all have a responsibility to keep each other safe.”
James Jenkins, director of operations for Walpole Island First Nation, will be leading the Emergency Operations Control Group.
“We have taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of our staff to make sure we can continue operating our essential programs,” Jenkins stated.
“Programs are closed to the public, but we are ensuring that community needs are met by allocating additional resources to the Food Bank and Home and Community Care. We appreciate that the public by and large has understood the need for these measures and has taken these precautions seriously.”
Walpole Island officials say the best thing that individuals can do at this time is to stay home and limit exposure to people outside of their immediate family.
It is extremely important that we all take this seriously, Walpole Island officials added.
“Social distancing is the best way to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our elders and those with underlying health conditions,” Walpole Island officials stated.
“We are aware that there are some people who are returning from travel during the March break and we want to re-iterate that you must self-isolate for at least 14 days. This means, not going out to run errands, go to the grocery store, house parties, having visitors over, etc.”
Walpole Island officials added if people develop symptoms, they should call their doctor or TeleHeath Ontario 1-866-797-0000.
Chief & Councillors will provide updates and advice to the community daily via social media, website, and the community radio station.
“Gchi-Miigwech to the community for your cooperation at this time,” Walpole Island officials added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 as a pandemic on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Details, here.
For a list of local cancellations, postponement and further updates, click here.