COVID-19 claims another life on Six Nations

·2 min read

Six Nations of the Grand River reported another COVID-19 death on Wednesday.

The death on Sept. 17 was the second COVID-related fatality on the reserve that week after another band member died of the virus on Sept. 10.

Ohsweken Public Health did not share any information about the deceased, citing privacy concerns.

“Six Nations Council sends their deepest condolences to the family and those impacted by the tragic loss of this community member,” elected council said in a statement.

“Community members are reminded of the importance of continuing to follow public health measures to prevent any further loss of life within the community.”

The deaths come as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise on Six Nations. The past week saw 24 new cases confirmed by public health, bringing the active case count to 35 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Four band members remain in hospital with 216 in self-isolation.

Public health said the Delta variant is primarily driving the spread of the virus. The variant was first confirmed in the community in late August.

Six Nations remains at alert level orange after public health tightened restrictions on gatherings on Sept. 13 “in response to the rapidly growing number of COVID-19 cases on the territory,” according to a release from elected council.

Six Nations uses its own colour-coded COVID-19 restrictions system, distinct from that used elsewhere in Ontario.

As expressed in cases per 100,000 people, Six Nations currently has one of the worst rates of COVID-19 in the province at 188, far outpacing neighbouring Haldimand-Norfolk with 22 and Brant with 64.

Elected council and public health officials “strongly encourage” band members to get vaccinated but uptake continues to be sluggish, with only 57 per cent of the on-reserve population having received at least one dose and 55 per cent fully vaccinated.

Those figures released by public health represent the entire population, including children too young to be vaccinated, but still trail the rest of the province.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator

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