Q. What does a State of Emergency mean?

A. A state of emergency is declared in response to an imminent threat to the community. Forest fires, power outages, and public health emergencies, like this pandemic, create similar situations as Chief and Council have to respond to the threat to the community. They must be able to use whatever personnel, other resources and infrastructure they have at their disposal. They must be able to issue Orders to reduce the threat. The Orders could affect individual freedoms and civil liberties. A declaration of a state of emergency enables leadership to do this to protect all of us.

Q. What does a “lockdown” mean?

A. Lockdown is a term that describes restrictions on businesses, transportation, and movement of people into a community and within a community. Countries, states, towns, cities and rural and northern areas around the world have imposed various types of restrictions and have used different enforcement mechanisms during the current global pandemic. As the pandemic spreads, more restrictions are imposed. For Wabaseemoong, “lockdown” currently means that we are restricting who can come into and go out of the community. This restriction is being imposed to try to keep the virus out of our community. Further restrictions may become necessary within the community if the virus spreads into our area.

Q. Will we still be able to get out of the community and then get back in?

A. At this time there is a ban on non-essential travel into and out of the community. This ban applies to all Wabaseemoong Citizens, whether resident or not, as well as visitors.

As a result of this declaration the Band operated services are required to be closed:

  • All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
  • All public events
  • Child care centres
  • Community School

We are strongly discouraging non-essential travel. Enforcement measures are being implemented.

Q. What is an essential service?

A. At this time, an essential service is being considered as a service that’s required to maintain our community’s safety and well-being. Public health services, food deliveries, repairing downed electrical wires, water treatment, delivery of medical supplies and personnel protective equipment are among the services that are considered essential.

Driving for out of the community or visiting people is not considered essential. Food and supplies will be delivered on a regular basis.

Q. How will checkstops know who is delivering essential services?

A. All authorized personnel will be identified to enter the community. A list of people and the positions they occupy will be identified by the checkstop workers. They are required to complete a pre-screening for each person who is entering the community to ensure compliance with the State of Emergency rules.

Q. Am I allowed to leave my house?

A. Yes, at this point as long as you are not sick. We encourage you to get outside and walk but stay away from people – practice physical distancing at all times. Do not go visiting a lot of family or friends. We recognize this is not how we normally live but these are extra-ordinary times and the world has never seen anything like this coronavirus.

Q. What is the difference between “social distancing” and “physical distancing”?

A. When the virus first started to spread the advice from health professionals was for governments to put in place “social distancing” measures. On Friday March 20, 2020, the World Health Organization recommended changing the terminology to “physical distancing” to make it clear that people are to keep their distance from each other. Whether they are inside their homes or outside they are to be physically separated by at least 2 meters or 6 feet.

Q. Will I be allowed back into the community if I have to go for a medical appointment or procedure?

A. People who have medical appointments or procedures will be allowed to go to them and return to the community. However, if they go to Kenora, Winnipeg or outside of the community for their appointments they will be required to self-isolate and self-monitor for 14 days upon return to the community. If they develop any symptoms such a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, flu-like muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea they must call for further medical advice.

Q. What is the difference between self isolation, self monitoring and isolation?

A. Depending on a person’s exposure (i.e., contact with an ill person or recent travel) and/or symptoms of COVID-19, they may be advised to self-monitor for symptoms, to self-isolate or to isolate.

Self-monitoring means: record your temperature twice a day – in the morning and evening; monitor how you feel to see if and when other symptoms develop (e.g., cough, sore throat, runny nose, sore muscles, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing).

Self-isolation means: staying home and keeping away from other people. This means not attending activities or gatherings outside of the home. It means getting groceries delivered and dropped off outside your house if possible. Self-isolation means avoiding situations where you could infect other people. This can help prevent the spread of infections.

Isolation means: if you have symptoms, even if mild, associated with COVID-19 or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are waiting for laboratory test results or have been advised to do so by your Public Health Authority, you must stay home until the local public health authority says you are no longer at risk of spreading the virus AND avoid contact with others. If your symptoms get worse, immediately contact your healthcare provider or Public Health Authority and follow their instructions.

Q. How am I supposed to self-isolate when I live with a number of other people in my house?

A. If you are in a home where other people have not been exposed, minimize close contact with the other members of your household. Do not use common spaces at the same time. Don’t share towels or
toiletries. Regularly clean spaces used by the person who is self-isolating.

Q. Should I wear a mask?

A. If you are healthy, it is not clear if there is any significant benefit to wearing masks to prevent COVID-19 in your home. Good hand hygiene will provide the most significant protection from viral respiratory illnesses including COVID-19.

A number of people are sewing masks for their families. If you do this it is very important that the mask be made of a tightly woven cloth like cotton, that the mask be properly fitted and worn over the nose and mouth and that it be washed frequently.

If you are sick and experiencing symptoms such as coughing or sneezing, wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of germs and viruses. This is why people who are experiencing cough or respiratory symptoms are provided with a mask to wear.

Q. Can I still share utensils, drinks, makeup, cigarettes?

A. ABSOLUTELY NOT as this is one of the ways the virus can spread. You should not be doing this whether there is a pandemic or not as other diseases like meningitis can spread this way also.

Q. What is the difference between screening and testing for COVID-19?

A. Screening is done to see if a person who has recently travelled or been exposed to an ill person has symptoms of the illness.

Diagnostic testing is done to identify an illness in an individual, which helps health care providers to determine the best way to provide treatment.

COVID-19 symptoms are similar other respiratory viruses like the cold or flu so tests are done to confirm which virus is causing their symptoms.

Q. Why isn’t everyone tested?

A. There are not enough tests or labs or qualified people to administer the tests so screening takes place to ensure those who are exhibiting potential symptoms of COVID-19 are tested. This is a global issue. Canada is testing more people every day.

Q. What does the test look like and how is it administered?

A. The test is called a swab but it looks like a miniature baby bottle scrubber. The doctor or nurse swabs the back of your throat and nose.

Q. Why does Wabaseemoong have to do all this when the virus is not even in the Community?

A. All of us have to assume that everyone has the virus and keep our distance for now.

Q. What will happen if I do not obey the rules during the State of Emergency?

A. We hope that everyone will take responsibility and protect themselves, their family and our community. If we find that people are not practicing social isolation and physically keeping their distance from people, then we may impose fines, remove benefits, or combination and use other forms of enforcement but we hope that will not be necessary. We will be monitoring the situation and really need everyone’s help to protect our community from this deadly virus.

Q. Who can I contact if I have question on COVID-19 or about the State of Emergency?

A. A Wabaseemoong Emergency Management Coordinator is being hired. Stay tuned for updates on Facebook and wabaseemoongnations.ca website.


For more information on COVID-19 please call the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations’ phone line: (807) 407-8791