Message from Chief and Council – COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Update
Chief and Council, as well as staff of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, are taking multiple steps to ensure the community remains safe during this time. We have established a Pandemic Committee, led by Chief and Council, to ensure we have the necessary plans and resources available for our community members. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community.
The Government of Saskatchewan on March 18th declared a provincial State of Emergency, giving the government broad powers to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes measures like the ability to limit travel to or from a community or region of the province and directing that property or equipment be deployed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Pandemic Committee is meeting regularly amidst the quickly changing circumstances around COVID-19. Led by Chief and Council, the Committee will report updates and information to the community regularly through social media, website and hand-delivered notices.
It is important to remember that everyone in Whitecap has a responsibility to each other to practice safe behaviours to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Everyone must continue to self-monitor to ensure they don’t have symptoms. Parents must be mindful of their children to ensure they are maintaining “social distancing” including no sleep overs, to prevent the virus spreading from house to house. As well, be mindful of your contacts with Elders if you are feeling sick yourself.
We want to remind you again that if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), call 811 and be patient for an answer so that you can receive an assessment and next steps. We ask you not to go to any clinic without first calling ahead for an appointment.
Measures taken to reduce the risk in our community:
- Closure of all Whitecap Dakota Government Offices to the public, including the Health Centre, to ensure the risk of transmission is reduced for our employees and community members.
- Closure of the CRHES and Whitecap Early Learning Centre – effective March 16 indefinitely.
- Health assessments for elders 60 years + to ensure programs are put in place and assistance is available if required.
- ACCFS office will be closed for two weeks – effective March 16. Emergency duty workers are available to assist if required.
- Whitecap Trail Store will remain open to serve the community but with operational restrictions to ensure the safety of staff and customers. Restrictions include the suspension of self-service options, and limited customers allowed in store at a time.
- Chief and Council are working closely with other government agencies, including the Saskatchewan Health Authority
- All community gatherings have been cancelled to assist with social distancing
- The Dakota Dunes Casino is closed – effective March 17th
- Regular Pandemic Committee Meetings are taking place.
WDFN Staff to Work Remotely
As a commitment to keep our community and employees safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief and Council have authorized Whitecap Dakota First Nation staff to work remotely, effective today and until further notice, to reduce the risk of transmission in Whitecap.
Essential services will not be impacted. Staff are working with their supervisors to ensure work is being carried out remotely. The Pandemic Planning Committee is meeting regularly through an online platform. Some staff are continuing to work in our offices as necessary to carry out business, and offices will continue to remain closed to the public.
All staff remain available to assist you during our reduced business hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 am – 4 pm via phone or email. Telephone calls for all Whitecap facilities are re-routed off site to a Receptionist.
The messages will be forwarded to the appropriate staff who will call you back.
Thank you for the anticipated cooperation as we continue to implement measures to flatten the curve and keep our community and staff safe.
Whitecap Dakota Facility Closures to the Public – Effective Immediately
The health and well-being of our community and staff remain a top priority. As such, after careful consideration amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief and Council have decided to close all Whitecap Dakota First Nation facilities to the public, until further notice.
This closure includes the Health Centre, Fitness Centre, Business Centre, WDFN Government Office, Public Works and Elder’s Centre. Staff at the Government Office, Public Works Office, and the Health Centre are happy to assist you via the phone or email. Whitecap Trail Store will remain open to serve the needs of the public.
Staff at all facilities will be working a reduced work week: Monday-Thursday, 9 am – 4 pm and will be closed on Friday, until further notice. This allows for our staff to spend extra time with their families during this time. We continue to explore options to accommodate our staff during this time.
During work hours, staff would be happy to assist you via phone or email.
Essential services will still be provided. If required, in home health assessments will be provided, appointments with the Nurse Practitioners will occur over the phone and prescribing medications over the phone will be available in some cases. Please continue to call the Health Centre with your questions and health concerns.
Please note: Water and sewer services will remain with operators in place to ensure the quality remains that of the highest standard.
Band Office, Business Centre, Fitness Centre and Elders Centre: 306-477-0908
Health Centre: 306-373-4600
Fire Hall: 306-290-2760
Housing and Public Works: 306-477-2013
Health Centre Accessibility
The Health Centre remains prepared to assist clients at a distance and are reminding community members to call 811 if you believe you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Please do not come to the Health Centre at this time.
During the facility closure, the nurse practitioner will be available for phone appointments. Please call the Health Centre to schedule an appointment if required.
Elders and Seniors in the Community
We strongly recommend that all senior community members and Elders take precaution and remain isolated in their homes in the coming weeks. Self-isolation is recommended while our community and Saskatchewan deal with the current pandemic. Please reach out to your family to assist with required needs, including grocery shopping.
There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians 65 and over, and those with compromised immune systems or underlying medical conditions.
- No one should attend visit an assisted living, long-term care or health-care facility if ill, with the exception of seeking medical attention.
- Everyone should model social distancing (i.e. no handshakes, hugs, kisses).
- Everyone should follow proper hand/cough hygiene.
- Persons at higher risk, for example those over 65 or anyone with underlying medical conditions, should reconsider attending mass gatherings and international travel at this time.
If an Elder requires assistance, please contact the Nurse Practitioner Christine Gates 306-373- 4600
We want to assure you we are continuing to closely monitor this evolving situation. We are in close communication with multiple levels of government and agencies and key stakeholders to coordinate all efforts to communicate important information, and to make any necessary adaptations to our plan to respond to the situation as it continues to change.
It is important to keep up to date with the current risk level in Saskatchewan and take precautions to reduce the opportunity of transmission.
Precautions to Take at Home
As a respiratory illness, the best method to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to practice everyday preventive actions, including:
- Practice social distancing and only go out if it is necessary. Social distancing is a term applied to certain actions that stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease by restricting distance and contact between individuals. The general rule is 2 metres. Visit saskatchewan.ca for more information on social distancing.
- Practice proper cough and sneezing etiquette (into the bend of your elbow) – throw used tissues in the garbage and immediately wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry them thoroughly; if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
- Maintain safe food practices and avoid sharing cups, glasses, dishes or cutlery, and ensure they are thoroughly washed with warm water and soap after each use;
- Regularly clean workstations and objects with disinfectants that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, handles, vehicles, phones and keyboards.
If you have questions related to COVID-19, please visit the Government of Saskatchewan website or contact HealthLine at 811.
Information on Government Programs: Government of Canada website
This webpage will be updated regularly as new information is available to share.