The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte have declared a state of emergency for Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
This comes hours after the Ontario government announced a provincewide state of emergency, advising gatherings of 50 people or more be cancelled and closing services like private schools, recreation centres and movie theatres.
Chief Donald Maracle sent out a news release Tuesday afternoon, saying the decision to call the local state of emergency was based on advice from the medical officer of health for Prince Edward and Hastings counties, Dr. Piotr Oglaza.
“The Tyendinaga Mohawk Council has determined that our community could be at greater risk of COVID-19 spreading to the community due to comorbidities (i.e. diabetes, health disease, etc.),” Maracle wrote.
Maracle said it has also been determined that the territory may not have adequate supplies to fight the spread of the disease, nor do they have the ability to care for those who may need hospitalization if they come down with a serious case of the virus.
In response to those concerns, Maracle and the band council are asking all members of Tyenindaga Mohawk Territory to self-isolate when possible and not to travel outside the territory unless necessary.
All administrative offices, the Community Wellbeing Centre, the Quinte Mohawk School, the library and all education programs and community centres are closed as of March 17 at noon.
Essential services, like police, fire, water operations, garbage and recycling and road maintenance will continue.
Maracle said home support services will continue but protocols will be modified to limit the possible spread of COVID-19.