January 15, 2021




The number of daily new cases in Northern Manitoba has been higher than in Winnipeg almost every day this week. This is of major concern given that the population of Winnipeg is over 10 times larger than Northern Manitoba. In addition, First Nations peoples currently make up 70% of the active COVID-19 cases in Manitoba. As of today, there are 77 active cases in the Thompson/Mystery Lake health district, 142 in Lynn Lake/Leaf Rapids/SIL, 339 in Shamattawa/York Factory/TCN/Split Lake, 75 in The Pas/OCN, 59 Cross Lake and 36 in Norway House.

While my Council and I know that everyone is suffering from Pandemic Fatigue. We must all continue to be very diligent. The current restrictions must remain in place as they are the only way we can keep this virus from spreading in our community. COVID-19 is all around us and people in neighbouring communities are getting sick and dying. So far the restrictions we have had in place for the past 10 months have kept us safe. We have had only one case. If this virus gets back into our community a full and complete lockdown will go into effect which is what has happened in South Indian Lake and Split Lake this week.

We are not keeping the restrictions in place to make everyone’s life miserable. As leaders, we would be negligent if we did nothing and allowed the virus to run rampant in our community. We refuse to cave in to a few disgruntled people preaching about how their rights take precedent over the health and safety of the rest of us. The restrictions are in place for all of our protection. We remind everyone that our staff and members of Council must also abide by the restrictions we have in place. The restrictions are saving lives.

Being in contact with even a single person outside your household is risky. Being in contact with anyone from outside our community who has not been following public health measures is downright dangerous, not just for you, but for all of us. We have limited the number of people coming into and going out of the community to try to reduce this danger to the maximum extent possible.

Given the widespread community transmission of this virus in Manitoba and across Canada as well as the new more contagious variants of the virus that have also begun to spread, we must all remain in our community and limit our contacts. Wear your masks, wash your hands and sanitize your homes and vehicles frequently. Take every step you can to protect your health.

The vaccine is starting to be administered and we hope that over the next few months enough vaccine will arrive to vaccinate all of us. We will require two doses of the Moderna vaccine given 28 days apart. It will then take a few weeks for our bodies to build up immunity so that we will be about 95% protected from COVID-19. All of this is going to take time so we need to remain strong and be patient.

We received 150 doses last Friday. With the vaccine received so far we have started to vaccinate the PCH residents and staff and those who are 70 years of age or older. As we receive more vaccine, we will then do ages 65 to 69 and continue vaccinating down in 5-year categories. Currently, we have health staff going around the community with consent forms and fact sheets. To book an appointment or ask any questions may have about the COVID vaccine please call the Family and Community Wellness Centre at 204 484 2341 ext. 128.

We remind everyone not to listen to misinformation about the vaccine or anything else. Any of the potential risks of the vaccine that have been studied are minor when compared to the risks of dying or suffering from the long term effects of COVID-19 (for example, heart, lung and mental health problems).

We have a great team, a great community and we will get through this pandemic safely if we all follow the rules. Remember it is important not to let your guard down even once as the studies have shown that is when COVID-19 manages to get in and destroy communities.

Be vigilant, be patient, and be kind to each other. We are in this fight of our lives together. Caring for each other is important as this will help reduce the stress we are all feeling.