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YKDFN steps up precautions amid virus threat


The Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) is staying vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

“(We're) shutting down meetings of large groups, minimizing office usage, we're keeping up with some essential services like water delivery and maintenance. We cancelled our Elders meeting because they're vulnerable (to the virus). Even the council meetings have been postponed,” as Edward Sangris, chief of the Dettah YKDFN told NNSL Media.

YKDFN's safety measures come as COVID-19 has yet to reach the territories, and there were no positive cases reported by the Department of Health and Social Services as of Monday afternoon.

“I'm thankful that it hasn't come north yet. We must be really fortunate. And we'll take precautionary measures to prevent any further spread of coronavirus in our community. We'll see what happens in anther two weeks. People just have to be cautious, wash their hands and do their best for the community and the health of the people,” Sangris said.

Several Indigenous leaders across Canada have recently drawn attention to their communities' vulnerability to COVID-19 because of substandard living conditions. Dene Nation chief Norman Yakeleya last week told NNSL Media that the virus threat brings back bad memories of the flu epidemics of the 1920s.

Last week, chief public health officer Kami Kandola and Ivan Russell, director of public safety with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs said NWT authorities were preparing plans for the possible use of isolation tents in remote Indigenous communities where advanced medical services are lacking.