Updates on NFN Operations as Ontario Enters Step 3

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July 15, 2021 – On July 9th, Ontario announced that the province will move into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen tomorrow (July 16th).  To enter Step Three, the province needed 70 to 80 per cent of individuals 18 years of age or older to be vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent with two doses for at least two weeks to ensure a stronger level of protection against COVID-19.

As of July 8th, over 77 per cent of Ontario residents over the age of 12 had received one dose of a vaccine and over 50 per cent had received their second dose according to an update from Ontario’s Ministry of Health.  Within Nipissing First Nation, 927 community members have received both first and second doses representing 64 per cent of our on-reserve population being fully vaccinated.

We are optimistic about the declining number of cases across the province and the growing number of people who are fully vaccinated and better protected against COVID-19.  We are also encouraged by the news of Ontario moving to this third and final step, where we will remain for at least 21 days and until 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of vaccine and 75 per cent have received their second (with no public health unit having less than 70 per cent of those eligible fully vaccinated).

We welcome these steps towards resuming life as we knew it before the pandemic began, but we must remember that COVID-19 is not over.  New variants that transmit more easily are still spreading.  Although restrictions are starting to lift across the province and we are fatigued after nearly 18 months under COVID restrictions, it is important to continue following public health measures, even if you are fully vaccinated. Please consider the risks of gathering with people you do not live with.  Think of the risks to yourself and to your loved ones (especially those who are unvaccinated or unable to get vaccinated).


Updates about NFN Operations

Nipissing First Nation has consistently aligned our operations with provincial and public health measures, often taking additional measures to protect our community and staff from the spread of COVID-19. 

While Step Three of Ontario’s Roadmap allows for the resumption of indoor gatherings and services (up to 25 people with restrictions in place) and outdoor gatherings (up to 100 people with limited exceptions), we do not anticipate reopening our offices or meeting/event spaces to the public just yet.

As advised in Update #14, the majority of our staff returned to their offices and work sites on June 14th. Our Crisis Control Group (CCG) will be further discussing reopening our facilities to the public in the coming weeks.  We will continue to keep the community updated as we move through Step Three and get closer to resuming normal operations, and in time, hosting in-person community events once again.

More information about the restrictions that will be lifted in Step Three of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen is provided below.


Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen

Ontario will remain in Step Three until at least August 6th and until vaccination thresholds are met (80% of individuals aged 12 and over have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75% have received their second).  Other key public health indicators must also continue to remain stable.  Upon meeting these thresholds, the majority of public health and workplace safety measures will be lifted.

Key Highlights of Step 3 

GatheringsServices & CeremoniesRetail & Restaurants
– Up to 100 people outdoors
– Up to 25 people indoorsRetirement homes are exempt from gathering limits
– Meeting/event spaces*: indoor at 50% capacity & outdoor at 75% capacity
– Indoor and outdoor religious services, rites & ceremonies (including weddings and funerals) permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing (2m)– Essential and non-essential retail open with capacity limited to permit physical distancing (2m)
– Indoor & outdoor dining with physical distancing (2m), no limits on # of people per table and buffets permitted
Sports, Recreation & WaterPersonal Care ServicesLeisure & Entertainment
– Indoor open at 50% capacity (including fitness classes and personal training)
– Outdoor open at 75% capacity
– Outdoor amenities open with restrictions (pools & splash pads open, indoors pools at 50% capacity and other restrictions)
Open at 50% capacity, including services that require the removal of a face covering (including hair salons/spas)– Museums, casinos and bingo halls open at 50%
– Cinemas, concerts, theatres and other performing arts venues open at 50% capacity indoors, outdoor open at 75% capacity or 5,000 (whichever is less)
* As noted on page 1, meeting and event spaces within NFN will not reopen to the public yet. 
Please see Ontario’s chart at the bottom of this page for more information.

Testing Requirements for Long-Term Care Homes

Ontario will be removing the requirement that fully-immunized and asymptomatic staff, caregivers and visitors will be tested for COVID-19 before entering long-term care homes.  The changes follow updates to provincial testing requirements that take effect July 16th.  Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people will still require COVID-19 testing before entering long-term care homes.

For more information about Step Three of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, visit: ontario.ca/reopen.


Update on COVID-19 Vaccines

As of July 12th, our team of NFN nurses have administered 3,060 vaccines and 927 NFN residents have now received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna for adults or Pfizer for youth), representing 64% of NFN’s on-reserve population. 1,620 individuals have received a 1st dose (98.42% of eligible registrants) and 1,440 individuals have received their 1st & 2nd doses (87.48% of eligible registrants). 

** VACCINES FOR CHILDREN BETWEEN THE AGES OF 5-11 YEARS **
We are awaiting further direction from the Ontario Ministry of Health on vaccines for this age group as details are currently speculative.  Should the province proceed for offering vaccines to children between the ages of 5 to 11 years, NFN Health Services plans to coordinate vaccination clinics for this age group and will provide updates as they become available.

NFN Health Services has held 37 adult immunization clinics and 7 youth immunization clinics and has offered appointment-based bookings at the Health Centre since June. Adults seeking a COVID-19 vaccine may now be referred to another provider.  Call the Health Centre at 705-753-3312 for more information.


Rapid Testing on NFN

NFN has four COVID-19 testing units that are operated by our trained and qualified nurses.  This method of testing is less invasive and delivers results within 15 minutes. Two tests can be done at a time, and you will leave with a printout of your results. It is important to note that these units do not provide a laboratory confirmed result.  Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 at one of our rapid testing units will be sent for a test at an assessment centre to confirm the result.  Individuals who test negative will not need to take further action if there is no concern about possible exposure to COVID-19.

To inquire about getting a rapid test, please call the Health Centre at 705-753-3312.

Contacts

If you are concerned about a potential exposure to COVID-19 or have any questions about vaccines, please contact our Community Health Nurse, Carole Lafantaisie, at 705-753-3312 ext. 2257.  Other inquiries may be directed to Kimberly Lalonde, Director of Health Services, at 705-753-3312 ext. 2223. 

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s COVID-19 call centre has a new toll-free phone number (1-844-478-1400) for individuals to discuss general or school concerns related to COVID-19.

Please visit nfn.ca/covid19 for regular updates and links to helpful information. 


Essential Services & Contacts:

Health Services:

  • Community Health
  • Home and Community Care
  • Medical Transportation

Kimberly Lalonde – Director of Health Services
705-753-3312 ext. 2223  |  kiml@nfn.ca

Carole Lafantaisie – Community Health Nurse
705-840-8830  |  chn@nfn.ca

Mental Health & Addictions:

Right Path Essential Client Services
705-753-1375 (please leave a message)
Harm reduction supplies are available every Thursday from 1pm – 4:30pm at 316 Ted Commanda Drive.  Knock at the door and supplies will be prepared for you, or you can call the office or email lisal@nfn.ca to make arrangements. The Suboxone Clinic at the Health Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am – 4:30pm and welcomes referrals or self-referrals.
Overdose Prevention Line – 1-888-853-8542

Social Services:

  • Ojibway Women’s Lodge
  • NFN Food Bank
  • Ontario Works
  • Child Welfare (Emergency)

Debbie McLeod – Director of Social Services
705-753-2050 ext. 1230 |  debbiem@nfn.ca  

Ojibway Women’s Lodge Emergency Line
705-472-3321

Food Bank Access Days
1st & 3rd Wednesday of each month
Call 705-753-6972 or email foodbank@nfn.ca for more info.
Download the current month’s order form at nfn.ca/food-bank

Housing:

NFN Apartment Units – Emergency Repairs/Maintenance
705-477-1586

Infrastructure and Public Works:

  • Water & Wastewater Treatment
  • Garbage & Recycling Pick Up
  • Landfill Operations
  • Building & Road Maintenance

Steve Doucette – Public Works Manager
705-840-3626  |  steved@nfn.ca

Education & Child Care:

Nancy Allaire – Director of Education
705-753-6995  |  nancya@nfn.ca

Carole Couillard – Nbisiing School Principal
705-497-9938  |  carolec@nbisiing.com

Brandie Fong – Manager of Children’s Services
705-753-3312  |  brandief@nfn.ca

Business Support/Inquiries:

Thomas Lambert – Employment & Training Manager 
705-753-6985  |  thomasl@nfn.ca

Ken Hazell – Economic Development Officer
705-753-2050 ext. 1264 | kenh@nfn.ca

Melvin McLeod – Emergency Services Manager
705-498-4407  |  melvinm@nfn.ca

Stop the Spread Business Info Line
1-888-444-3659


For general questions and inquiries, please contact:

Brendan Huston, Chief Executive Officer
705-753-2050 ext. 1222 | brendanh@nfn.ca 

Freda Martel, Director of Administration
705-753-2050 ext. 1223 | fredam@nfn.ca
Check this webpage for regular updates: nfn.ca/covid19
Do your part! Stay Safe & Stay Kind