Last week I urgently reminded everyone how important it is to stick close to home. This is now more critical than ever as there are at least 12 active cases in northern Manitoba and 599 active cases throughout Manitoba. Winnipeg and a large part of southern Manitoba have been designated as ORANGE as there is widespread community transmission. Gathering sizes have been limited to 10 and masks are required in all public places. If this pandemic is not brought under control quickly in Manitoba, we could face even more restrictions as have been imposed by a number of communities in the north. We must each do our part now or things will get much worse.

The chief provincial public health officer strongly encourages Manitobans to reduce the number of close contacts outside their household, and avoid closed-in or crowded spaces.
Given the increasing numbers in Manitoba, Chief and Council has made the following changes to the NCN Order in Council:

  • Effective 8:00 pm today travel to southern Manitoba is prohibited except for medical appointments, medical treatments and serious family emergencies;
  • Anyone travelling south will require a written authorization from NCN’s Executive Director of Justice and Public Safety BEFORE travelling;
  • Everyone who travels south for medical or family emergencies will be required to isolate for at least 14 days upon their return in a location directed by NCN’s Health Director; April 1, 2020
  • Travel within northern Manitoba will continue to be allowed as long as it is not to an area where there are active cases;
  • Travel out of province or to any areas that are designated by the Province as ORANGE or RED zones is not allowed without authorization;
  • NCN Citizens living in northern Manitoba will be allowed to visit the community as long as there are no active cases in the areas they live and they obtain a special pass from the Executive Director of Justice and Public Safety;
  • Persons who carry out essential worker duties will be allowed to enter the community as long as they do not have COVID-19 symptoms and are not waiting for COVID-19 test results. Authorization will need to be obtained in advance from the NCN Executive Director of Justice and Public Safety in consultation with the NCN Health Director.
  • Children and youth will not be allowed to participate in sporting activities in southern Manitoba or where there are active cases in the north.
  • The curfew hours will be 10:00 pm to 7:00 am for children and youth.

Please think carefully about whether you really need to travel even to Thompson and if you do go, finish your business quickly and return home. Stay as far away from people as possible while you are there. Wear your mask at all times. Now is not the time to go visiting.

Given the number of people with pre-existing health conditions the situation could quickly become very tragic for many of our families. This is particularly true with the regular flu and cold seasons now upon us. As soon as the flu shots are available we urge everyone to get your flu shot this year.

None of us want this virus in our community so this is an urgent reminder to:

  • Stay home and isolate from others in your house if you are sick with even mild symptoms (cough, sore throat, chills, runny nose, fever, diarrhea, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell);
  • Wash your hands frequently, cough or sneeze into your sleeves/elbows and physically distance when you are with people outside your household (including friends and relatives who do not live with you);
  • Wear a mask to help reduce your risk;
  • Reduce the number of close contacts outside your household and avoid closed-in or crowded spaces – restaurants, bars, house parties, casinos.
    I also want to remind everyone to:
  • Stock up on essentials such as groceries, cleaning supplies, traditional medications such as weekis, over the counter medications like Tylenol and vitamins;
  • Make sure you have your own face masks and hand sanitizers with you at all times;
  • Wear your facemask in all public places on NCN Lands as it is mandatory in all our buildings and businesses – as we said a few weeks ago, as of tomorrow, October 1st, no-one will be allowed to enter a store or building unless they have or purchase a facemask;
  • Keep track of the dates, times and places you go to and who you are in contact with as if an active case develops in our community or in Thompson then this will help with contact tracing which is essential to stop the spread of this disease;
  • Refrain from posting inaccurate COVID-19 information on social media as this can cause anxiety, fear and confusion in the community – our health professionals can provide you with accurate information if you have questions;
  • Above all, be kind, supportive and respectful of each other as we are in this together.

To avoid another complete lockdown in our community we must all be very careful. AYAKWAMISIWIN.

I want to again remind everyone that the screening process at the check stop is an extremely important measure to help protect our families and the community from COVID-19. Therefore, please be respectful at the check stop as the FNSO’s are trying their best to keep the rest of us safe.

We recognize that many people have pandemic fatigue but there is now far more community transmission in the Winnipeg area and the numbers in the north are now much larger than there were last March. Therefore, for everyone’s sake we must follow the rules to keep ourselves safe.

We appreciate your ongoing support as this pandemic continues and is worsening. Let’s do everything we can to prevent another total lockdown in our community. Be careful and be safe.