Bulletin 21: CAFN COVID-19 Planning and Response

Bulletin 21: CAFN COVID-19 Planning and Response

March 11, 2021

Message from the Chief


As we enter spring this year, we are at an important milestone.  On March 11, 2021, it is one year since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.  And on March 18, it is one year since CAFN began our lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 March 11, 2020 to March 11, 2021

Since the pandemic began, it has been our top priority to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, to limit the risk to our Elders and most vulnerable, and to prevent the death of any of our people.  Throughout this year we have focused on maintaining services for our Citizens and helping Citizens who are struggling due to the pandemic.  

It has been a difficult year and some pandemic safety measures have come at a cost.  We still must keep our gathering sizes small, and cannot yet come together for potlatches and other large gatherings, which are an important part of who we are as Southern Tutchone dän (people).  However, we are grateful to be in the Yukon where the number of cases of the virus has been very low, and we are optimistic as we enter a new phase of the pandemic – the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine across the Yukon and Canada.

CAFN people have pulled together and stayed strong. We have supported each other, our Elders and the most vulnerable.

We now look forward to gradually reducing measures over time.  But it will take time for Canada, our neighbors in Alaska, and the rest of the world to catch up to where we are at in the Yukon today. Our safety measures have paid off, but we aren’t out of the woods yet.  Vaccines are still being administered with the goal of 75% immunity.  

With no active COVID cases in the Yukon for several weeks, CAFN has relaxed some safety measures and is beginning to cautiously hold small gatherings.  We will still proceed with an abundance of caution as we monitor the situation and continue to learn.  We carry on with review of our CAFN safety measures every two weeks and will continue to gradually reduce them when it safe to do so.

At this time, COVID-19 rates outside the Yukon are still high, and new variants of the COVID virus are emerging that the world is working to respond to.  So we must stay vigilant, safe and smart.

Dúch’į ShįWe will always do what we must do to ensure the safety of our people.  CAFN is following the science and cooperating strongly with Yukon and Canada.  Please continue to practice the Safe Six and wear a mask in public.  And we encourage you to learn about the vaccine and make a well-informed decision.

Kwänischiss- shaw nithan – gunałchish!

Gunałchish – thank you – to the provinces in Canada who gave up a portion of their vaccines last month in order to allow Yukon and the North to receive our full allotment of vaccines and stay on track with our vaccination schedule, in spite of production delays by Moderna.  The Yukon, NWT and Nunavut have been prioritized to receive enough vaccines to be fully vaccinated ahead of the rest of Canada due to our remote and vulnerable communities, and limited healthcare facilities.

We hold up our hands to all our Citizens and staff. You have worked so hard and done so well.  The fight isn’t over, but the light is coming back and, little by little, we are beginning to emerge from the pandemic.  Have patience and stay strong. We are not there yet, but we are getting there together.

Kaaxnox, Dän nätthe äda
Chief Steve Smith

Updated Safety Measures at CAFN
Kwätsi Dän (We Work):  STEP 3 Recovery

As of February 15, 2021 Council agreed to the following COVID-19 safety measures at CAFN:

– Continue practicing the Safe 6 + 1.CAFN offices remain closed to the public.
– Masks are required in all CAFN common areas.Up to 50% staff may work in CAFN offices, with priority to staff who provide essential services.
– Limit travel to communities. Enhanced cleaning measures continue in all CAFN spaces.
– The Youth Centre is now open.The Shawkwunlee Daycare continues to operate.
– Organized outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted, with physical distancing in place.
– Organized indoor gatherings are restricted to 10 or fewer people.
– Language immersion classes may be held in-person at Da Kų with COVID-19 restrictions.
– Da Kų Cultural Centre and community halls are closed to the public, and may be used for CAFN programming.
– Bus Services continue with small numbers, family bubbles and safe spacing.