NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- September 17, 2020

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) COVID-19 Update                                                                                                                                           

Thunder Bay District Health UnitConfirmed Positive (August 24): 103 (Current as of 10am September 17. This count does not include the 5 new cases in Kasabonika Lake FN which Dr. Gullioyle has informed us will eventually be reported as part of TBDHU)
Active Cases: 0
Recovered: 102
Deceased: 1
Porcupine Health UnitNumber of cases: 79 (Last case reported Sept 16)
Active Cases: 5
Recovered: 74
Deceased: 9
Northwestern Health UnitTotal Number: 46
Active: 0
Recovered: 46
Deaths: 0
Public Health Sudbury & DistrictsTotal Number: 101 (Last case reported Sept 14)
Active: 1
Recovered: 95
Deaths: 2
Timiskaming Health UnitTotal Number: 19
Active: 0 (last case reported on August 5)
Recovered: 19
Deaths: 0
  • The NAN Executive Council sends condolences to Bearskin Lake First Nation after the loss of a young community member in a tragic boating accident.
  • There are new COVID-19 cases in our territory. It is unclear if this is the start of a second wave, or the result of increased travel and loosening of travel restrictions.
  • There is 1 positive case in Moose Cree First Nation. Grand Chief Fiddler has been in touch with the leadership. A collaborative effort with WAHA is underway.
  • There has been a new development with the case in Kasabonika Lake First Nation as members of individual’s family have now tested positive.
    • There are now 5 positive cases. They came to the community from Saskatchewan.
      • It is unlikely that it has spread outside of the family. Community members are being reassured that everything is being done to ensure their safety.
  • Grand Chief commended the leaders of these communities for taking the necessary preventative measures to protect their citizens, and to the health authorities for their support.
  • These new cases are a reminder that we must remain vigilant and can’t let our guard down.
  • NAN has learned that the Indigenous Community Support Fund from ISC will be allocated to communities through a combination of formula, and proposal driven processes. No guidelines have been released so far.
  • Public health funding (285 million dollars) has a deadline of September 30 for any proposals.
  • NAN encouraged Chiefs to join the ISC Ontario Region call this afternoon and we encourage you to work with Ontario region to develop and submit proposals as soon as possible.
  • REMINDER: NAN Chiefs Virtual Fall Assembly – October 20/21. The agenda is being developed and Chiefs are invited to provide feedback on items they would like included.
  • PLEASE SEND UPDATED COMMUNITY GUIDELINES and/or RESTRICTIONS TO emergency@nan.ca.

NAN COVID-19 Task Team                                                              

  • The Task Team reviewed COVID-19 cases in Kasabonika and Moose Factory Island.
    • Several communities along the James Bay Coast have enacted additional emergency preventative measures.
    • It is important to follow all measures and bylaws that communities put in place to restrict the spread of COVID-19
  • The Task Team continues to meet weekly to discuss issues and concerns in NAN territory.
  • The Task Team met with SLFNHA to receive updates on the delivery and rollout of oxygen therapy equipment.
  • The NAN COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Working Group meets regularly and is making progress on its objectives of mapping funding and ordering processes for PPE and the identification of useful quality control processes.
  • The Ontario Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Health has announced 625 new public health nurse positions.
    • NAN submitted a letter of interested on September 15 and requested that 50 of these nurses be allocated to First Nation health authorities, transfer communities and any First Nations and organizations who have the infrastructure and capacity to employ them.

NAN Hope Program Update

  • The Mental Health and Addictions Pandemic Response Program is live at 1-844- NAN-HOPE (1-844-626-4673) and www.nanhope.ca.
    • During the first 11 days of September, NAN Hope received as many inquiries as it did during the entire month of August.
    • This service is available to all NAN First Nation members, whether they are living on or off reserve and services are available in the language.
    • NAN Hope can be accessed through phone, text, or live chat. It offers the following services:
      • 24/7 toll-free rapid access to confidential crisis services.
      • Rapid access to clinical and mental health counselling.
      • Navigators who provide connection to existing mental health and addictions support services in home communities and the region.
  • A marketing plan has been implemented including promotion by radio and social media, posters, brochures, contests and giveaways.

Seasonal Influenza Vaccination

  • Flu shots are an important way to protect yourself and your community, especially during COVID-19.
    • The Task Team is anticipating a higher demand for the flu vaccine this year and are looking into how the vaccine will be distributed to NAN communities.
      • The vaccine will be likely available through the province mid-October.
      • The Task Team is researching the effect that the pandemic has had on childhood vaccinations, and will advocate for NAN communities to be included in the development of a vaccine.
  • A high-dose flu vaccine will also be available for people aged 65 or older.
    • It provides better protection against three strains of the flu than the standard influenza vaccine.
  • NAN Elders (and Task Team members) Helen Cromarty and Teri Fiddler will join SLFNHA’s flu campaign committee to ensure information is culturally relevant to our communities.
  • The NAN Task Team will also follow up and ensure that all communities are made aware and have access.

NAN Social Services 

  • NAN has continued bilateral discussions with ISC regarding matters before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
    • Remoteness Quotient has enhanced funding allocations for NAN First Nations, as noted in the 2020/2021 funding for Community Based Prevention and Community Wellness and Jurisdiction Initiatives.
    • Resumption of this Table will continue advocacy for funding that represents remoteness needs across the territory.
  • The C-92 Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth and families came into force on January 1, 2020. To date, no regulations have been made under the Act.
    • Comprehensive reform of child and family services affirming the inherent right to self- government under Section 35 includes jurisdiction in relation to child and family services. This includes legislative authority and the right to administer and enforce these laws. The purpose of the Act is to affirm the rights of Indigenous governments and organizations to exercise jurisdiction over First Nation child and family services.
    • NAN is in the process of organizing regional discussions with First Nations and stakeholders (Child and Family Service agencies).
  • Comprehensive reports will be presented at the upcoming NAN Chiefs Virtual Assembly.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Services (NAPS) 

  • NAPS Detective Constable Alana Morrison announced that funding finally has been approved to launch the NAPS Survivor Support Services. Grand Chief expressed congratulations and offered NAN’s support to continue the advocacy to make this permanent.
  • NAPS will hire three social workers to work in the following jurisdictions: Sioux Lookout, Cochrane and Thunder Bay.
  • The emphasis will be responding to domestic and sexual violence and trying to connect women to referrals they will need going forward.
  • NAPS Chief Roland Morrison expressed condolences following the boating accident in Bearskin Lake and reminded leaders to get the message out that life jackets can help save lives, and to encourage people going out on the land during the fall harvest to be safe.
  • On Wednesday, NAPS seized a significant quantity of drugs destined for Fort Albany and Kashechewan. Chief Morrison commended the work of the NAPS officers and drug team.
  • A badge ceremony for 5 officers graduating from Ontario Police College will be held Friday.
    • Police college has resumed with 6 NAPS officers enrolled.

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 visit www.nancovid19.ca. It is updated daily with the most current information.

** Reminder that NAN will be hosting a special meeting with DGC Smallboy to discuss issues as related to lands and environment, with a focus on Bill 197 on Thursday, September 24, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. We will send a formal invitation and materials soon, and we hope that you will attend to discuss these very important issues.

NEXT REGULAR BRIEFING CALL: Thursday, October 1, 2020 | 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST

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NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- September 3, 2020

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) COVID-19 Update                                                                                                                                           

Thunder Bay District Health UnitConfirmed Positive (August 24): 103 (Last cases reported Aug 24; on August 27, the health unit reported that a recent positive text was incorrect, and so they revised their case count from 104 to 103)
Active Cases: 0
Recovered: 102
Deceased: 1
Porcupine Health UnitNumber of cases: 73 (Last case reported Aug 24)
Active Cases: 0
Recovered: 65
Deceased: 8
Northwestern Health UnitTotal Number: 46
Active: 2 (1 case in Kenora, other care confirmed Aug 24 in Sioux Lookout)
Recovered: 45
Deaths: 0
Public Health Sudbury & DistrictsTotal Number: 94
Active: 1
Recovered: 91
Deaths: 2
Timiskaming Health UnitTotal Number: 19
Active: 0 (last case reported on July 28)
Recovered: 19
Deaths: 0
  • The NAN Executive Council sends their condolences to the families and friends of Elder Timmin Wabasse from Nibinamik, Councillor Robert Kakegamic from Sandy Lake, former Chief of MoCreebec, George Small, and to those who have lost loved ones recently.
  • Grand Chief Solomon shared a few words in honour of the late George Small
  • SAVE THE DATE: NAN Chiefs Virtual Fall Assembly – October 20/21. We are starting to develop the agenda and invite Chiefs to provide feedback on items they would like to see covered.
  • The NAN Executive Council has made a decision to gradually re-open the NAN offices in both Thunder Bay and Timmins in some capacity on Monday October 5th. We are working hard to ensure that we do this in a way that is respectful of all the needs and concerns of our staff, while keeping in mind the important work that we are doing for NAN communities.

·       PLEASE SEND ANY NEW COMMUNITY GUIDELINES/ RESTRICTIONS THAT YOUR COMMUNITY HAS IN PLACE TO emergency@nan.ca.

COVID-19 Situation in Manitoba

  • Manitoba has increased their vigilance due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the south of the province.
    • www.manitoba.ca/covid19 has current information on the pandemic situation in Manitoba; there are currently 454 active cases in the province, with 28 new cases added August 31, 18 new cases added September 1, and 13 new cases added September 2.
  • With the increased number of cases in southern Manitoba, public health announced on August 31 that they will be re-implementing travel restrictions to northern Manitoba and remote communities, effective Thursday, Sept. 3. In addition to these restrictions, all travellers are asked to respect any restrictions that First Nation communities have in place.
  • All visitors arriving at health-care facilities in Manitoba are required to wear a non-medical mask.
    • This extends to outpatients attending appointments at clinics within hospitals and health centres throughout the province.
  • As many NAN community members travel to Winnipeg for necessary medical care, communities should ensure that there are procedures and measures in place to support these community members while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 to the community.
    • These should be the same public health measures that are in place for members who travel outside of the community in Ontario, such as self-isolating for 14 days upon their return, self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, and being encouraged to seek testing if they become symptomatic or are concerned about potential exposure.
  • Whether community members are at home or in a major city, the same public health measures should always be followed. Do not go out if you feel sick, practice proper hand hygiene, cover your cough, and maintain physical distancing when you are with people outside your household.
    • If you cannot physically distance, wear a cloth mask or other face covering.

NAN COVID-19 Task Team 

  • The Task Team met August 25 and September 1 to discuss a variety of issues, including Elder care issues in long-term care homes, immunization campaigns and vaccine strategies for NAN First Nations, and critical care in communities during COVID-19.
    • The Task Team, along with SLFNHA and WAHA are looking at the roll out of rapid testing units to ensure these testing units comes out as quickly as possible to the NAN communities. Work is being done to get through some roadblocks and to get the community health workers trained.
  • A revised version of the Guidance for Funerals and Bereavement during COVID-19 document was posted to the website on August 28 and shared on social media. It can be accessed online at https://nancovid19.ca/?p=3069.
  • The Task Team members will meet with First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) pharmacy representatives to discuss the nursing station formulary and how it should be stocked to respond to COVID-19 treatment needs in the event of weather delays to medical transportation.
  • The NAN COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Working Group has been formed and held its first meeting on September 1.
    • Membership includes representatives from WAHA, SLFNHA, Wabun Tribal Council, Matawa First Nations, and the Ontario Northern Supply Chain.
  • The objectives of this working group include mapping out processes and funding for PPE; improving communication between communities, Tribal Councils, and health authorities regarding PPE supplies; and developing a regional strategy for PPE.
  • Dr. Banerji spoke of the importance of the influenza vaccine and the necessity of getting it into NAN First Nations.

Tele-Mental Health Initiative

  • On August 10, the Mental Health and Addictions Pandemic Response Program went live at 1-844-NAN-HOPE (1-844-626-4673) and www.nanhope.ca.
    • This program is available to all NAN First Nation members, whether they are living on or off reserve.
    • NAN HOPE can be accessed through phone, text, or live chat.
    • The program offers 3 services:
      • 24/7 toll-free rapid access to confidential crisis services.
      • Rapid access to clinical and mental health counselling.
      • Navigators who provide connection to existing mental health and addictions support services in home communities and the region.

Forestry, Environment & Ontario Bill 197 – Economic Recovery Act, 2020                                                              

  • A NAN Chiefs conference call will take place the week of September 21 to discuss Bill 197 – Economic Recovery Act, 2020, and other items related to forestry and environment. Formal correspondence will follow to confirm the date and time.
  • NAN encourages Chief and Councils to begin drafting their own environmental bylaws.
  • Resolution 19/14: Establishment of Chiefs Committee on Climate Change, Environment, and Impacts of Forestry – A terms of reference has been developed for the Chiefs Committee that will be sent out along with a request for Chiefs to join the committee.
  • A template letter is being prepared by NAN to be shared with the NAN Chiefs to submit your concerns on Bill 197 to the province of Ontario.

NAN Education 

  • On August 28, NAN put together a last minute but urgent meeting with ISC Minister Marc Miller to raise our concerns about the lack of funding and planning for education throughout the territory.
    • Our team worked tirelessly to set this up, and it turned out to be very worthwhile.
    • The federal government announced a $112 million in funding for First Nations to ensure a safe return to school on-reserve.
    • NAN was asked to support the individual NAN First Nations to submit their plans – 23 communities have already provided their information.
    • The details on how the funding will be distributed have not been released yet and NAN was told that First Nations who require funding over and above their allocation are encouraged to submit proposals.
  • NAN received a letter from Minister Rickford and Minister Lecce to inform us that there will be an announcement from the province of $12 million over the next three years for student safety. We are awaiting details on the distribution plan.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Services (NAPS) 

  • NAPS signed an MOU with the officer’s union to extend the 14-day schedule under the collective agreements, the extension is now in place until December 31, 2020.
  • Civilian staff will be moving back to full duties beginning next week.
  • 6 recruits have completed their training at Ontario Police College (OPC) with 7 new recruits to begin their training at OPC during the next session.
  • There are currently 20 staff off on leave (WSIB) due to injury and mental health.
  • 2 detachments are resuming their builds – Bearskin Lake and Sachigo Lake.
  • Funding has been received for North Spirit Lake base repairs – there is a 2-month timeline to have the base back up and running.
  • NAN and NAPS will look into the barriers that are resulting in lower hiring rates of NAN First Nations community members with NAPS.

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.
  • Please send any Covid-19 related inquiries to emergency@nan.ca

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, September 17, 2020 | 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST

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Information for passengers at the Thunder Bay International Airport

Updated August 21, 2020

This information is for passengers at the Thunder Bay International Airport who:

  • Are attempting to return to a northern community, AND
  • Cannot board their flight because they failed the screening process

Please call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit for more information and to be assessed for testing.

807.935.8100
OR
1.888.294.6630 (Toll Free)
Monday to Thursday:
8:30AM – 4:30PM
Saturday to Sunday:
9:00AM – 1:00PM

After hours: call the Thunder Bay Answering Service at 807.624.1280

If you are told that you should separate yourself from others to avoid spreading illness (i.e. self-isolating) and:
You are a Non-Insured Health Benefits client currently on medical travel:
Contact Wequedong Lodge at (807) 623-1432 for a place to stay.

If you do not have access to a phone, ask an airline agent to direct you to the Wequedong direct line.

You are travelling for non-medical reasons:
1) Contact your Community Leadership or Health Director to determine what you should do prior to returning home.
2) If you don’t have anywhere to self-isolate in Thunder Bay, you may be able to stay at a hotel or access emergency shelter. See reverse for more information.

If you are told that you should get tested, call the COVID-19 assessment centre to book an appointment at (807) 935-8100.

Hotels:

Some hotels are accepting guests who need to self-isolate (see examples below). Make sure to call ahead and let them know that you’re showing symptoms and have been told to self-isolate.

Valhalla Inn

1 Valhalla Inn Rd

Thunder Bay, ON

(807) 577-1121

*Offering reduced rate

Comfort Inn

660 W Arthur St

Thunder Bay, ON

(807) 475-3155

Emergency Shelter:

Emergency shelter is available for people who have no other place to self-isolate. Ask for information about how to access emergency shelter when you call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (see front for contact information).

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