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Gimaa Toulouse Addresses the Sagamok Community July 31, 2020
Posted: Jul 31, 2020

Gimaa Toulouse Addresses the Sagamok Community

July 31, 2020   4:33pm          [11 minutes, 23 seconds]


In his address, Gimaa Toulouse: 


· Advises that effective at 5:00pm on Thursday, July 20, 2020, travel restrictions have been reinstated for the City of Sudbury in response to the recent rise to 19  active confirmed cases in that Public Health Unit catchment area.  Travel is only permitted for those traveling to Sudbury to attend essential services (including medical and health appointments). 

· All individuals coming into the community will be asked the standard COVOD screening questions. 

· If residents travel to Sudbury to do other activities than attending essential services, they will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result upon entry and either self-isolate for 14 days or produce a second proof of a negative COVID-19 test result after 5 days of entering the community.  This all applies to off-reserve members coming into Sagamok to visit families. 

· Advises visitors and campers that the Sagamok community is now closed to them if their home is in Sudbury. 

· Advises of essential service providers for whom entry will be provided. 

· The “Safe Travels in Ontario” Sagamok Anishnawbek COVID-19 Risk Dashboard will now determine travel restrictions for Sagamok residents and those attempting to enter the Sagamok community through the Sagamok road access checkpoint.


Gimaa says that opening of areas in southern part of the province happened too early, and as feared, those from areas with high COVID case numbers have spread the illness into the north with Sudbury suddenly reporting a spike to 19 active cases. 


Most of the province moved into stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan on July 17.  Some areas with high case numbers were prevented from moving to stage 3 but after a week of falling case numbers,  7 more areas were permitted to move ahead into stage 3, with Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex Region continuing to be held back.  On July 31, the last 3 regions were permitted to move into stage 3. 


The spike in active cases in Sudbury was discussed by the Sagamok Anishnawbek Emergency Operations Control Group which made the recommendation to the Chief and Council to restrict travel to Sudbury (for community residents) and from Sudbury (by Sudbury residents and businesses, campers and shoppers), with the exception of specified essential services providers.  Any other access must be provided through written permission from Gimaa Nelson Toulouse. 


“Hopefully those cases in Sudbury can be contained and resolved.” 


Gimaa says that it’s because of community members that Sagamok can say it has had zero active cases in the community and asks them to keep on being diligent in the attention to safety and prevention. 


“We have to be extremely careful.  Don’t take any chances.  I really have to thank you for being diligent in practicing your safety precautions.”


He says that residents leaving the community and in need of any of their safety equipment to travel“If you require any protective equipment, like masks, gloves and sanitizers need only to ask for them. 


He also says that the intent of the travel restriction is not to restrict individual freedoms.  “The purpose is to safeguard the community.” 


Decisions concerning travel restrictions will now be based upon the “Safe Travels in Ontario”  Sagamok Anishnawbek COVID-19 Risk Dashboard that is published at least three times a week by the Sagamok Communications Department. 


This Risk Dashboard reports current active case numbers that the 36 Public Health Units (PHU) covering the province report publicly.  The numbers are color coded into green, yellow and red that describe risks associated with COVID-19 if someone from Sagamok were to travel within a PHU’s service catchment area.  The color green means that there are zero active cases currently being reported in that PHU and the risks of traveling there are minimal.  The color orange means that there are between 1 and 10 cases being reported within that PHU service catchment area and there are elevated risks of traveling there.  The color red means that there are more than 11 cases being reported in that PHU and the risks of traveling there are extremely high.


The colors indicate when travel will be restricted to a particular PHU catchment area.   When a PHU reports numbers that it’s case numbers are shaded red (with more than 10 active confirmed cases), travel to that PHU will be restricted. 


The colors also indicate the level of precautions Sagamok residents are asked to take when visiting a particular catchment area.  If an area is green and the risks are minimal, basic precautions are necessary.  If an area is orange and the risks are elevated, extra precautions are necessary, and if an area is red (but travel is absolutely necessary) and the risks are extremely high, the absolute maximum precautions that can be taken should be taken. 


There are 2 pieces to “Safe Travels in Ontario” Sagamok COVID-19 Dashboard publication.  The first piece presents a color-coded table reporting on active cases across every PHU in Ontario.  All PHU’s with data shaded green are indicated on a map of the province’s PHU catchment areas.  Current case numbers are also reported for the province and Canada.  The second piece is a full table of PHU reported case numbers along with links to the reported information. 


The Risk Dashboard will now inform decisions concerning travel restrictions for residents and who can enter the Sagamok community. 


‘It describes the least restricted areas to the most restricted areas. 


“If things change,” says Gimaa Toulouse, “we have a document we can use to make those decisions.”


Sagamok Communications will has been publishing the “Safe Travels in Ontario” Sagamok Anishnawbek COVID-19 Risk Dashboard  for social media audiences for five weeks now, issuing updated editions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  A paper version has gone out door to door to households in each week’s delivery. 


The Risk Dashboard will continue to be published online 3 days a week and shared with the Sagamok Anishnawbek road access checkpoint guardians.  Sagamok Communications will also scan the PHU’s in northern Ontario within a day’s travel of the Sagamok community for any increases in numbers that may change a travel travel restriction designation for that PHU.  Sagamok Communications will then issue an updated Risk Dashboard to reflect these new numbers and the new travel restriction designation for that PHU destination. 



Watch Gimaa Nelson Toulouse's July 31 Address to the Sagamok Community here: