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Bulletin 17: CAFN COVID-19 Planning and Response

December 11, 2020

Message from the Chief

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) is encouraged by the announcement yesterday that a COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be available to every adult Yukoner in early 2021.  It is very good news and something to look forward to.  But we must remember to stay vigilant now.  The COVID-19 virus is still present and spreading in the Yukon, and will continue to be a risk through the holidays and into 2021.  There is no cure available yet, so please continue to be a Safe 6 Champion and wear your mask. 

Gunałchish

Kaaxnox, Dän Nätthe Äda (Chief Steve Smith)

What We Heard: CAFN Virtual Community Meetings CAFN hosted virtual meetings this November 25-29 and asked two questions to Citizens to help inform what each individual community required: What do you believe is most needed to keep everyone in your community healthy and safe?What do you think is the most important role for Community Information Officers? During the five meetings, each community shared their concerns, questions, and needs. CAFN recognizes that giving each community their voice is the best path forward to protect and provide Citizens with the most effective supports possible. There was broad support for establishing CAFN community COVID-19 safety staff in all communities to monitor who is coming and going for contact tracing purposes, and to provide citizens with the contacts and key COVID-19 safety information. Mental wellness and communication were identified in all communities as a large concern.  As the pandemic changes rapidly and unexpectedly, CAFN needs to support Citizen resilience by providing timely, clear, concise, and accurate information.  Protecting the Elders and vulnerable Citizens is a priority for CAFN communities through education, communication, food security, transportation, and general supports. Citizens showed appreciation for CAFN’s cautious and swift approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.   They suggested expanding efforts to include: education supports for homeschooling, kits for traditional crafts, and COVID-safe outdoor traditional activities like rabbit snaring to ensure Citizens are getting outside, keeping busy, and feeling connected to their community and culture. Kwänischiss to the communities of Dakwäkäda (Haines Junction), Tthe Yanlin (Canyon), Shadhäla (Champagne), Takhini, and Kwanlin (Whitehorse) for your respectful, helpful input.  
CAFN Listened:  Dän Tsʼän Shānindhän COVID-19 STAFF in CAFN Communities During the virtual community meetings, Elders and the majority of community members said they want to remind people to be careful when coming into our Traditional Lands, and asked to put up signs in our communities and reduce visits. CAFN listened and started the work. Dän Tsʼän Shānindhän (caring persons, someone who cares for others) staff were hired by CAFN. They will share and gather information about COVID-19 to help keep everyone safe.  Individual information will only be used for contact tracing in case there is a COVID-19 case in a community. COVID-19 signs are also being put up in communities and will remain in place 24-hours a day. We hold our hands up to the CAFN community members who have stepped up to help with this important safety work.  It is dän k’e (our way) to look after each other. Kwänischiss for keeping our dän (people) safe.   Please continue to respect and help each other while we get through this.  We stay safe now so we can all gather again. 
Be a Safe 6 Champion:
physical distancing; regular hand washing; stay home when sick; don’t gather in groups; avoid travel to communities; and self-isolate when required. + Masks are required in all public spaces.
Current COVID-19 Measures at CAFN Council met on December 10 and agreed to keep the following measures in place.  They will reassess every two weeks. Masks are now required in all CAFN work spaces when employees are in common areas. 25% or fewer staff in CAFN offices, with priority to staff who provide essential services. Limit travel – Staff travel is limited to essential services. The Youth Centre is closed. .The Shawkwunlee Daycare continues to operate at current levels (about 50%).  No in-person gatherings or meetings.  Virtual meetings and contactless deliveries are OK, and outdoor activities will be considered.  Language immersion classes are virtual till classes end for the holiday break. Da Kų Cultural Centre and community halls are closed. This includes funerals.Bus Service continues with small numbers and safe spacing.

What is the status of COVID-19 in the Yukon?  Please visit Yukon.ca

What is the status of COVID-19 in Canada?  Please visit Canada.ca

Council of Yukon First Nations COVID-19 information hub at:  cyfn.ca/covid-19

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