Joint Announcement of New COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance Program for Dakwäkäda/Haines Junction
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2022
Dakwäkäda/Haines Junction, Yukon – The governments of Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) and the Village of Haines Junction (VHJ) are partnering with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to set-up and operate a wastewater (sewage) screening program in Dakwäkäda/Haines Junction.
“Champagne and Aishihik First Nations is glad to partner with the Village of Haines Junction and PHAC to establish the first wastewater surveillance program in operation in the Yukon Territory,” said Kaaxnox, Dän Nätthe Äda (Chief Steve Smith).
“This new surveillance program will benefit residents and visitors to our community, and also contribute to Canada’s national wastewater surveillance network. We believe that wastewater screening is an important tool for early detection and monitoring of COVID-19 levels in our community,” stated Mayor Bruce Tomlin.
Screening is performed by collecting samples 2-3 times a week with an auto-sampler at the lift station in Dakwäkäda/Haines Junction, then sending the samples to the PHAC National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for analysis as part of its ongoing partnership with Northern, remote and isolated communities.
All equipment and testing is being provided to CAFN and VHJ at no cost by PHAC. The equipment was installed by Dawnix Water Services, a CAFN Citizen-owned business.
The surveillance program officially began last week with the first samples taken on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
The Councils for CAFN and the Village of Haines Junction are committed to working together to secure and share the best information to help keep our community safe and reduce the risk of COVID-19, especially for our Elders, Seniors and most vulnerable community members.
CAFN and the Village of Haines Junction encourage all residents and Yukoners to keep up the good work. COVID-19 health and safety measures are still our best tools to prevent the spread of the virus, serious illness, and death. Please practice CAFN’s Safe 6, wear a mask when you can’t safely distance, and keep your COVID-19 vaccines current with boosters.
For more information:
Amy McKinnon, Strategic Communications Manager, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations
(867) 332-1973 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Donna Istchenko, Acting Chief Administrative Officer, Village of Haines Junction
(867) 634-7100 ext. 103 or email@example.com
Why we monitor wastewater
“The virus that causes COVID-19 is found in the stool (feces) of infected people while they are infected. By monitoring wastewater (sewage) we can:
- detect COVID-19 in communities
- detect COVID-19 in institutional settings such as long-term care facilities
- monitor which variants are circulating…
… Because people can have COVID-19 without any symptoms, they can sometimes spread it without even knowing they have it. Wastewater monitoring can provide an early warning of COVID-19 in a community or setting. Even a few days of early warning can be critical to the success of public health interventions. It can also be an important source of information for people making their own personal health decisions.”
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada
Learn more at: https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/wastewater/
- Mayor Tomlin and Kaaxnox, Dän Nätthe Äda (Chief Steve Smith) at the lift station in Dakwäkäda/Haines Junction.
- Dawnix and Village of Haines Junction crew installing the auto sampler