Despite the relaxation of some restrictions, Ndilo’s chief is reminding community members that the fight against Covid-19 isn’t over.
“We can’t let our guard down. We still have to be vigilant,” said Chief Ernest Betsina.
On May 15, the territorial government eased some restrictions placed on indoor and outdoor gatherings, but physical distancing measures are still required.
The move, part of the territory’s first phase in its recovery plan, has resulted in Ndilo residents getting out and about in the community more, especially as the weather starts to warm up, said Betsina.
“I’m seeing a bit more movement amongst my people,” he said.
By and large, community members are adhering to rules and advice outlined by both the territory’s chief medical health officer and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) council.
If orders aren’t being followed by residents, an officer with the GNWT Enforcement Taskforce is called, said Betsina.
“If someone is noticing that people are starting to gather more in one residence, they either call myself, the chief, or we have people on duty – especially weekends – working security for both communities (Ndilo and Dettah),” said Betsina.
“So they would get the call and they would direct the call to the government taskforce – but it all depends on the severity of the call. Sometimes RCMP gets called, too,” he continued.
“They’re doing their job.”
Betsina said educating residents about Covid-19 risks and physical distancing measures has been a “bit of a learning curve,” especially for Elders in the community.
“But people are getting it – they’re respecting the advice of the council and the health authorities,” he said.
To educate and keep community members informed, YKDFN has been using radio to drive home important messages — a strategy that’s been employed in other communities, including Fort Good Hope.
Every week, Betsina and Chief Edward Sangris take turns broadcasting to both communities via CKLB.
“We try to inform our members to the best we can,” said Betsina.