NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- July 16, 2020

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) COVID-19 Update                                                                                                                                           

Thunder Bay District Health UnitConfirmed Positive (July 16): 92
Active Cases: 1
Resolved Cases: 90
Deceased: 1
Porcupine Health UnitNumber of cases (July 16): 69
Resolved Cases: 59
Active Cases: 2
Deceased: 8
Northwestern Health UnitPositive tests (July 16): 42
3 pf + cases have primary residences outside NWHU
Resolved Cases: 41
Active Cases: 1
  • We would like to acknowledge the new Chief in Poplar Hill, Howard Comber
    • The council will be selected today.
  • Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler will be taking some time off starting July 20th until August 4th.
    • Deputy Grand Chief Fox will be acting Grand Chief for the first week (July 20th-26th)
    • Deputy Grand Chief Smallboy will be the acting Grand Chief the following week (July 27th – August 4th).
  • Last week we announced funding for mental health supports during the pandemic
    • We are working with KO ehealth and SLFNHA on the launch of coordinated mental health supports to be rolled out in the second week of August.

Trilateral Table

  • Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox introduced an education plan and proposal for funding consideration
    • NAN education will provide a further update on the proposal during next weeks call (July 23rd)
  • NAN Youth Council presented their two-year proposal
  • NAPS presented on their victim response proposal
  • We will keep everyone appraised as to the government response to funding requests, and we will continue to push these issues.
  • We will follow up regarding Urban organization off-reserve funding proposals that were submitted.

NAN Legal Services                                                                                                                                           

  • Courts know that more work and more time is required to look at satellite courts, and the work that needs to be done in the community to ensure the health and safety of community members.
    • They have just had their first meetings in the last two weeks. They are looking at the interim procedures for having limited audio via phone or video.
    • One First Nation is starting a pilot project with an audio/video case and the major question is reopening.
  • Court administrators from the NW and NE will be contacting communities about technology and capacity of the community broadband to see how this satellite program can be utilized.
    • Working on connecting communities with IT professionals and the logistics involved

NAN COVID-19 Task Team

Masking

  • Porcupine Health Unit, which includes Timmins, announced that as of Thursday, July 23, 2020 all members of the public and employees within the PHU area, who enter an indoor public space, will be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
  • Timmins joins other cities where mandatory masking requirements are in place, including Thunder Bay (next Friday), Toronto, Ottawa, and Guelph.
  • The Task Team believes that, based on a growing body of evidence that masks reduce the spread of droplets and that countries where masking is common have been better able to control the spread of COVID-19, communities should encourage their members to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
    • The Task Team believes that the focus should be on education around the importance of wearing masks and why some people may not be able to, as well as ensuring that all community members have the supplies they need to follow this guidance.
  • o   Specific recommendations on this will be released next week.

Other Task Team updates

  • The Task Team discussed the need for protocols that prepare communities for when health services can resume travelling to communities.
    • SLFNHA and Meno Ya Win are working on developing protocols for this in their area.
  • The Task Team has received updates from other regions in NAN territory regarding dental procedures during COVID-19.
    • WAHA dental office re-opened in June
    • The dentists are following COVID-19 guidelines from The Royal College of Dental Surgeons. All patients are screened upon arrival.
    • Dental visits to communities will resume in August
    • Road Access communities:
      • During the pandemic, community members can also contact nursing stations for dental emergencies.
      • Communities can support members needing dental care with medical transportation, if required.
  • The Task Team is beginning to discuss preparations for a second wave of COVID-19 and issues and action items that require work.
    • Communities should ensure they have pandemic plans in place, that their pandemic response teams continue to meet regularly, and that all community members understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is a long-term issue that may require a response over 1-2 years.
  • If communities are encountering issues or challenges with their preparations, please reach out to emergency@nan.ca
  • The Task Team continues to review developments in COVID-19 tests and assess if any rapid tests would be suitable for use in communities

Emergency Measures Response

  • Michelle Gervais spoke about plans for evacuation if needed.
    • Thunder Bay has agreed to be a host for communities
    • Hearst, Timmins, Kapuskasing and Sudbury have also agreed to host communities that need to evacuate
  • We are working with Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to share updates as quickly as possible.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Services (NAPS)                                                                                                                                           

  • From last week NAPS had 16 major occurrences (2 in NE, 14 in NW and central regions)
  • Half of these occurrences were domestic violence cases. Still seeing large number of cases related to domestic violence.
  • A proposal re: victim services for domestic violence was presented at the trilateral table last week and we will be following up on this to advocate for funding.

Update re: BCR Prosecutions

  • We have finally received a response from Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey in response to our advocacy, in partnership with NAPS, on the enforcement and prosecution of offenses under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) and the Trespass to Property Act.
  • You will recall that early in the pandemic, in collaboration with legal counsel and NAPS, we advised the leadership to consider implementing BCRs related to the Provincial emergency measures, as well as BCRs related to First Nation border closures – and many of you did.
  • The Attorney General has confirmed that charges laid under the EMCPA and the Trespass to Property Act will be prosecuted pursuant to the Provincial Offences Act.
  • Important first step for the province to recognize the work that communities have been doing for community health and safety.
  • Any tickets that were written since the BCR will be prosecuted and they will be added to the fly-in court list.
  • This is a step in honouring First Nations inherent right to self govern instead of relying on the Indian Act which does not have adjudicative processes.

Communications                                                                                                                                           

  • Members of the NAN Executive Council will continue to appear on Wawatay Radio on Tuesday at 12 pm EST and on Friday at 1:05 pm EST.
  • COVID-19 Tools and Resources are being translated into Oji-Cree, Ojibway, and Cree to assist the communities in spreading awareness and public health messaging on COVID-19. They are posted on the NAN website under COVID-19 Tools and Resources.

Urban Communities                                                                                                                                           

  • NAN has posted specific information on the NAN website for members living off-reserve in urban centres across northwestern and northeastern Ontario.
    • This includes how to find shelters, food banks, social and mental health services, as well as Indigenous organizations that can assist.
  • Please continue to access our website as we are updating it daily with the most up to date information: www.nancovid19.ca

NEXT CALL: Thursday, July 23, 2020 | 1p

Download PDF

RFDA- Food Bank Northwest

Update July 13: Partial Food Bank re-openings at selected locations across Thunder Bay.  The list to receive hampers will be open for individuals starting next week  (July 14 or 16). To register please call 21. Once registered individuals will be assigned and matched with one convenient location.  Hampers will be distributed, once every two weeks.

Update May 14, 2020: The RFDA will be offering hamper pick up at the CLE grounds on Friday May, 15. To register please call 211. You will not need to register with 211 if you have previously registered for City-Wide Safe Food Banks.

The next pick up date for food hampers will be April 17 from 10am-1pm at the following locationsL

532 Edward St. Redwood Park Church

239 Amelia St. The Gathering Place

545 Cumberland St.N Salvation Army

129 Miles St. E Thunder Bay Food bank

To register, please call 211. Delivery is available for the elderly and those with mobility issues.

RFDA Website

RFDA Facebook Page

FAQ on Post-Secondary Education Student Supports for Indigenous Students during COVID-19

FAQ from ISC on supports that are available to post-secondary Indigenous students during COVID-19. Some highlights:
• Canada’s Student Loans/Grants and Canada Emergency Student Benefit are available to Indigenous students for additional supports during COVID-19 response.
• ISC announced $75.2M in support of First Nations, Inuit and Metis students through the Post Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP).
o $16.6M is allocated to the Ontario region.
o These new benefits under the PSSSP will cover costs of living, traveling, counselling and other support expenses required and identified by Indigenous post-secondary students.
o For more information on the PSSP, please contact Bernadette Wabie, Senior Program Officer at ISC at Bernadette.wabie@canada.ca or at, 519-751-2443

June Post Secondary Updates

Guidance from ISC for Health Professionals Considering Travel to First Nations

Guidance from ISC for Health Professionals who are considering travelling to First Nations in order to provide heathcare. Some highlights:
• This document outlines guidance for community leadership, employers of health professionals and health professionals (including but not limited to nurses, environmental public health officers, mental wellness workers, dentists, and oral health care workers).
• Decisions should be risk informed.
• All health professionals and employers are responsible for occupational health and safety practices are followed and ensuring infection prevention and control practices within their workplace/context align with local public health authority recommendations.
• With respect to air travel, anyone who cannot self0isoalte for 14 days prior o travel cannot use the ISC Collaborative Air Response Endeavour (ISC CARE) regularly scheduled charters for essential service providers. Guidance is available through ISC CARE.

COVID-19 Guidance – travel

Information on the Federal Gas Tax Fund

Information from ISC regarding the Federal Gas Tax Fund. Some highlights:
• Infrastructure Canada administers the federal Gas Tax Fund a s a permanent and ongoing source of funding for infrastructure in communities across Canada.
• Provinces and territories will receive planned payments earlier than originally forecast, allowing for the transfer of funds to municipalities sooner than planned. However, this does not impact funding for First Nations in provinces.
• A portion of the funds is available to First Nations on reserve.
o This portion is transferred directly to ISC regional offices which combines funding with other funding sources for delivery to First Nations in their regions through the First nations Infrastructure Fund (FNIF).
o More information found here: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1100100010656/1533645154710

Gas Tax Fund

COVID-19 Testing in Ontario First Nations Fact Sheet

Fact sheet provided by Indigenous Services Canada on COVID-19 testing. Some highlights:
• As of May 24, 2020, Ontario broadened its testing strategy to include testing individuals who are symptomatic with even mild and atypical symptoms, asymptomatic testing that is risk based such as contact with a suspected case or those at risk of exposure due to employment.
• Testing can be accessed through nursing stations, provincial assessment centres, local public health, and where some First Nations have set up their own testing centers in community.
• To find out what testing is available in your community, call the nursing station, local public health unit or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
o A list of assessment centers is also available at: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/assessment-centre-locations/
• Test results can be viewed through the provincial online portal: https://covid19results.ehealthontario.ca:4443/agree

Fact Sheet – COVID19 – Testing

COVID-19 Infrastructure Fact Sheet

Fact sheet provided by Indigenous Services Canada on infrastructure that can be used for COVID-19 testing, isolation or quarantine. Some highlights:
• Communities may consider creating isolation or quarantine centers due to overcrowding challenges with isolation of community members within their homes.
• Funding may be available to support retrofit of existing spaces for isolation.
• Existing spaces such as schools, community centers and arenas can be used as isolation or quarantine space while regular programs are suspended.
• This document provides an overview of factors to consider relating to purpose, safety, spacing, care, cleaning and food
• If communities do not have access to existing spaces, ISC has procured two temporary shelters including a BLU-MED structure and a Matrix.
o BLU-MED: portable, temporary medical structure to provide assessment and testing space outside of the community health clinic
o Matrix: a seven-room extreme weather shelter that can be used for isolation or quarantine for three to six people.

Fact Sheet – COVID19 – Infrastructure

Federal Financial Support for COVID-19 Fact Sheet

Fact sheet provided by Indigenous Services Canada on federal financial benefits and support to Ontario First Nations for COVID-19 Response. Some highlights:
• The following is a break down of ISC funding and when it was distributed:
o ISC request based funding ($8M): March 2020.
o The formula based, Indigenous Community Support Fund ($36.7M): April 2020.
o FNIHB request based funding is ongoing, beginning April 2020.
• Core funding allocations that are not being used to deliver regular programming may be used to support COVID-19 response that are consistent with the terms and conditions of the program in question.
• ISC cannot commit to reimbursement of any expenses above current funding allocations, or shortfalls that may be experienced in regular program funding where resources have been redirected to emergency activities.

Fact Sheet – COVID19 – Financial Support

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Fact Sheet

Fact sheet provided by Indigenous Services Canada on contact tracing. Some highlights:

Contact Tracing: Routine process used to identify individuals who have come into contact with someone who has a disease of public health significance, such as COVID-19, and therefore may be at a greater risk of getting COVID-19 themselves.

Conducted by ISC Public Health professionals, community nurses, local public health units and an Indigenous health services organization.
o Note: ISC officials will work to provide guidance, supports and communication with community leadership without disclosing personal information with respect to the case.

Personal information will not be disclosed by ISC employees without consent of the individual to whom it relates, unless the disclosures is in accordance with the Privacy Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
• Contact tracing is done for each individual case and depends on a case by case basis.

Fact Sheet – COVID19 – Contact Tracing