AKWESASNE — In response to eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19 among community members reported this week, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne renewed its emergency protocols and restrictions Friday.
To prevent continued spread of the virus in the community, the tribe’s Emergency Operations Center extended five pandemic guidelines until further notice.
A curfew remains in effect from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. daily, with the exception of anyone performing essential services. All businesses must close at the 11 p.m. curfew, and all outdoor gatherings must be reduced to 25 people or less, while social distancing. Off-premises alcohol sales must end at 8 p.m., and on-premises alcohol sales continue to be prohibited during the tribe’s state of emergency, initially declared March 16.
The tribe was notified Monday of three confirmed cases of COVID-19, an additional case Wednesday and four cases Thursday, bringing the Akwesasne community’s total cases to 12 since the first case was confirmed March 25. This week’s eight confirmed cases are still active.
At least four of the cases this week all stem from community members having a river outing with an asymptomatic non-resident on July 10, the tribe’s Health Services reports. The outing entailed a pontoon ride and camp parties with the non-resident, who subsequently transmitted the virus to a young Akwesasne community member.
“The initial transmission from an asymptomatic non-resident is an example of not exercising social distancing or wearing a mask in social situations,” the Tribe said in a statement earlier this week. “Since that transmission, three subsequent community transmissions have taken place, with a child contracting the virus and transmitting it to older family members. It is an example that we are all susceptible to the virus regardless of age.”
The eight Akwesasne cases are currently the only active cases in Franklin County, which are all being investigated by the county’s Public Health Department in conjunction with the tribe’s Health Services. The eight individuals remain in self-isolation at home, following protective measures prescribed by health officials, as well as helping with the process of contact tracing.
“This information is being provided to demonstrate the urgency of continued social distancing and should not be used to judge, mistreat or slander any person or family,” the Tribe said Friday. “We strongly advise the community to come together and show compassion for those who are ill or infected, and to unite in our strategy to keep the COVID-19 virus at bay.”
Community members experiencing symptoms of sustained fever, coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing should call the Tribe’s Medical Clinic at 518-358-3141 ext. 7130, or MCA Community Health at 613-575-2341 ext. 3220. For an emergency matter or to acquire essential items, please call the Tribe’s Emergency Operations Center at 518-320-0019 or MCA’s EOC at 613-575-5005 or 613-575-2331.