A “steady stream” of Six Nations of the Grand River band members are travelling to and from the United States during the pandemic, and some are not taking the mandatory 14-day quarantine seriously upon their return.
That’s according to a press release from Six Nations Elected Council and Ohsweken Public Health that highlighted the need for members to restrict travel and follow quarantine rules to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on the reserve.
“Six Nations Police service is noting a consistent rate of community members travelling across the border,” the release said.
Canada Border Services Agency sends Six Nations Police a list of cross-border travellers so the police can keep tabs on them during their 14-day quarantine.
But public health officials say “some individuals are not staying home when they are self-isolating or under quarantine related to exposure to COVID-19 or because they travelled recently.”
Officials did not provide specifics on the number of band members crossing the border or the reasons for their trips.
The federal Quarantine Act includes a $1,000 penalty for breaking quarantine after returning home from the United States, while those who flout provincial restrictions on social gatherings or COVID-19 guidelines for businesses could face a $750 fine.
“Each community member must do their part by following the health and safety measures that protect against COVID-19,” said Lori Davis Hill, director of health services on Six Nations.
“It needs to be stressed to the community that they should only be travelling for essential purposes.”
Six Nations reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the active case count to 11.
Some recent cases have been linked to the traditional mid-winter ceremonies held in January. Public health has asked anyone in attendance at the ceremonies and their close contacts to get tested.
J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator