Update on COVID-19 Protocols for Band Operations
During a duly convened meeting of Chief and Council on September 28, 2021, a new COVID-19 protocol was approved for use within band-owned businesses and entities which do not have their own approved COVID-19 policies (The St. Mary’s Veterans Health Centre, for example, uses its own policy.) This policy has been implemented successfully at St. Mary’s Entertainment Centre (SMEC) and some Retail Sales locations and will be implemented in all locations shortly.
This policy includes a protocol for point-of-care (POC) testing of individuals who have not provided the Emergency Measures Operations (EMO) team with proof of vaccination. Individuals who choose not to provide their proof of vaccination will be tested twice a week (On Mondays and Thursdays, generally) using a non-invasive test method. An additional monthly PCR test must be conducted for these individuals as well, handled through New Brunswick Public Health. If a test is found to be positive, the employee’s work area will be sanitized, and the employee will be sent home and must book a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test with NB’s Public Health system. If an individual with vaccination records verified by the EMO displays one or more symptoms of COVID-19 inexplicably, they must go home and book a PCR test as well.
If the results from the PCR test are found to be negative, the employee will be allowed to return to work. If positive, they will need to wait until they can provide a negative test before returning to their place of work. Additionally, if a PCR test returns positive, they will be asked to provide details about their recent activity to provide NB Public Health with opportunities to conduct contact tracing and inform anyone who may have been exposed. Those exposed are asked to follow the guidance of Public Health on whether or how to isolate or receive testing. In the event of an outbreak within the community or at one of its businesses, the EMO will activate a specialized team to address the outbreak and assist as needed.
Also in the policy was a return to mandatory masks in public space. This includes all public areas of retail environments, the band hall, Maqiyahtimok (Community Centre) and SMEC. This includes areas such as entryways, lobbies, stairwells, elevators, hallways, washrooms and any other shared or communal spaces.