The Rotary Club of Yellowknife has made a $4,500 donation of supplies to assist residents of Fort Good Hope affected by a resurgence of the pandemic.

Rotary president Celestino Oh and the organization want to do what they can to help.

“We set aside some funds to deal with natural disasters as they arise around the world,” said Oh. “We want to try to do as much as we can locally, and what’s happening in our backyard is important to us.

“This year, when we were having our board of directors meeting, I was going through the British Columbia wildfires, so I brought up the question of whether or not we were in a position to go ahead and reach out to the rotary clubs that were in British Columbia to see what we could do there to assist.”

However, when informed of the evolving situation regarding the Sahtu COVID-19 outbreak, Oh switched gears and focused on that instead.

The rotary club initially planned to ship food items, but eventually decided on personal protective equipment (PPE).

“We sent gloves, sanitizers, they had requests for paper towels, just the immediate cleaning [supplies] that they needed, because that’s what they’re burning through. That’s what is not available locally in Fort Good Hope at the moment,” Oh said. “We know the government is dealing with COVID, the health care issues, with the Red Cross. We know that the band and so forth is going to try to deal with the longer-term items. So, we were geared towards what’s the immediate need in the community that we could help with. We were leaning towards food and consumables, but as it turns out, that is not particularly doable with the delays in the flights. All the scheduled flights are down.”

Shipments of PPE supplies were sent to the Sahtu community over the weekend. Fort Good Hope, with a population of approximately 500 people, has been coping with close to 100 COVID-19 cases and lost an Elder to the illness last week, the NWT’s first death due to the coronavirus.

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