NAN COVID-19 Bulletin-February 25, 2021

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) COVID-19 Update                                                                                                                                           

Thunder Bay District Health UnitTotal Number: 1497
Active Cases: 315 (33 new cases announced Feb. 25)
Recovered: 1153
Deceased: 29
Hospitalized: 16 (5 in ICU)
Porcupine Health UnitNumber of cases: 330
Active Cases: 22 (1 new case announced Feb 24. in the area of Hearst, Hornepayne)
Recovered: 283
Deceased: 25
Northwestern Health UnitTotal Number: 452
Active: 84 (9 new cases announced Feb 24 in the Kenora region)
Recovered: 367
Deaths: 1
Public Health Sudbury & DistrictsTotal Number: 600 cases
Active: 28 (6 new cases reported Feb 24)
Recovered: 560
Deaths: 12
Timiskaming Health UnitTotal Number: 92
Active: 0 (last case announced Feb 9)
Recovered: 91
Deaths: 1

NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler – Update                                                               

  • NAN thanks IAO Deputy Minister Shawn Batise and Dr. Homer Tien for their ongoing support and leadership in Phase 1 of the Vaccine Roll-Out.
  • We acknowledge Chief Chris Moonias, Neskantaga, as the end of his term approaches and wish him the very best. We thank Chief Moonias for his leadership, strong advocacy, and tireless efforts to address very challenging issues, including one of the longest boil water advisories and an evacuation during the pandemic. We keep Chief Moonias’ family members, who are in the Thunder Bay hospital, in our hearts and pray for their swift recovery.
  • We acknowledge Wayne Moonias, who will commence his term as Chief on April 1.

Thunder Bay State of Emergency

  • The City of Thunder Bay has requested COVID-19 assistance from provincial and federal governments. NAN supports the City as they pursue all resources necessary.
  • This week, Neskantaga declared a State of Emergency for members in Thunder Bay. To date, 12 out of 217 (6%) off-reserve members have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Housing shortages in Neskantaga – like many communities – have resulted in members experiencing homelessness in Thunder Bay and unable to return home, due to COVID-19.
  • NAN supports Neskantaga’s declaration of State of Emergency and has been actively working with Chief Peter Collins, Fort William First Nation on a Joint Declaration, calling on all levels of government to take decisive action to address the crisis in Thunder Bay that is disproportionately impacting our most vulnerable community members.

Broadband

  • NAN continues to look into opportunities to improve internet access for students, including one recent development that has been presented as an option.
  • NAN has convened Chiefs Committee on Infrastructure and Education meetings to explore this further and the discussions have been very positive. A more detailed update will be shared as soon as possible.

Vaccine Roll-Out

  • Thank you to all partners who have contributed to the success of Operation Remote Immunity.
  • It has been really encouraging to see the turnout and vaccine uptake so far.
  • Congratulations to Peawanuck on receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today, which makes them the first NAN community to have both doses administered.
  • Next week, Sandy Lake and Pikangikum will receive the first doses and other communities will begin their second round of vaccine clinics.

COVID-19 Funding

  • NAN Chiefs are encouraged to contact ISC/FNIHB about unmet COVID-19 funding needs to sustain community-led responses. Funding from ISC is still available to access resources for surge capacity, such as PPE, isolation units, and costs to maintain security check points.
  • NAN Chiefs are invited to participate on the ISC/FNIHB Chiefs Call Friday at 3:00-4:30 ET.

Town Hall for NAN Children and Youth

  • NAN is planning another Town Hall for early March that will focus on children and youth, and address their concerns about the pandemic, mental health and wellbeing, education journeys, and other issues they may wish to raise. We have invited Prime Minister Trudeau to participate. Updates will be provided as soon as details are available.

NAN COVID-19 Task Team – Lynne Innes                                                               

  • The Porcupine Health Unit has announced an outbreak at Villa Minto in Cochrane.
  • Thunder Bay has reached a record high of 300+ active cases over the past two days and will likely return to the grey/lockdown stage beginning March 1.
    • Outbreaks have been announced in several schools in the region.
    • An outbreak is ongoing at Wequedong Lodge.
    • The outbreak at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre was declared resolved, but the outbreak at the Jail continues.
  • Thunder Bay Health Unit, Tribal Councils, communities, and local Indigenous organizations have started to discuss plans for how all Indigenous adults in urban centers will be prioritized for vaccination over the coming weeks.
  • On March 15, the Ontario COVID-19 vaccination booking system is scheduled to launch for people 80 and over.
  • In mid-April, vaccinations will start for people 75 and over
  • Cases have increased in the Kenora region, many of which are related to the outbreak in Wabaseemoong. We send our prayers and support to Chief Scott and the community.

Active Cases in NAN

  • SLFNHA region
    • Wapekeka First Nation: 2 active cases.
    • Fort Severn First Nation: 12 active cases.
    • Eabametoong First Nation: 2 active cases.
    • Case in North Spirit Lake First Nation is now resolved.
  • WAHA region
    • Moosonee: 16 active cases.
    • Moose Factory: 3 active cases.
    • In response,   Kashechewan, Moose Cree, Fort Albany and Attawapiskat have all implemented some form of lockdown measures for their communities.

Manitoba Update

  • Indigenous people in Manitoba over the age of 75 are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The military will help battle the COVID-19 outbreak in Pimicikamak (Cross Lake First Nation), which had 178 active cases of COVID-19, including 87 among children, as of Monday.
  • There are 7 probable cases of the UK variant in Pauingassi First Nation.
  • There are 720 active cases on reserve, 113 active cases off reserve.
  • There have been 403 deaths, both on-reserve and off-reserve.

COVID-19 Variants

  • There are 410 positive cases involving variants of concern in over 14 Health Units in Ontario.
  • 400 cases are B.1.1.7, the variant that was first identified in the United Kingdom.
  • All NAN community members should continue to follow public health measures, including wearing masks that fit well and provide a high degree of filtration. If possible, wear a closely fitted 3-layer mask. The three layers should include two layers of tightly woven fabric with a filter layer between them. Polypropylene is recommended for use as the filter layer. If you have a two-layer mask with a filter pocket, wearing a filter is advised. Wearing a disposable mask under a reusable mask will offer an additional layer of protection.

Vaccine Records

  • Individuals are given a Client Immunization Record when they receive their first dose.
  • The Client Immunization Record is provided in either paper or electronic form (or both).
  • This record shows that the client received an immunization for COVID-19, the specific vaccine product received, lot number, date of vaccine administration and the name of the immunizer, among other information.
  • Individuals should bring this record with them when they receive their second dose.
  • Regarding the question of whether the Province will issue a “vaccination passport/card” for access to certain services/establishments, the Province has not confirmed whether this will occur. NAN will monitor developments.

NAN Hope

  • If you know someone who is struggling, please tell them about NAN Hope. As of last week, NAN Hope has connected 308 clients to care. NAN Hope offers:
  • 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.
  • NAN Hope is not just a crisis line. The navigation and referral to ongoing care is an important part of the service and helping those who use the service to move forward with their healing journey. Traditional Knowledge Keepers and Healers are now part of NAN HOPE’s roster of counsellors. Clients can also connect to counsellors who speak the 3 language dialects.
  • NAN    Hope    can     be     accessed     through     1-844-NAN-HOPE     (1-844-626-4673) and www.nanhope.ca. If you would like marketing material about NAN Hope for your community or organization, you can request them at https://nanhope.ca/index.php/marketing- materials-request-form/.

NAPS Update – Deputy Chief Snider                                                               

  • NAPS Board meetings are underway today (February 25) to present board reports.
  • NAPS is closely monitoring a COVID-19 outbreak at the Ontario Police College. This will most likely have an impact on NAPS’ recruitment, given the class size.

NAN Legal Update – ED Irene Linklater, DGC Derek FoxNAN Special Chiefs Assembly on Justice

  • The NAN Special Chiefs Assembly on Justice took place on February 23-24. A report on these important discussions will be produced and shared with Chiefs and NAN members.

Discharge Planning

  • Work is ongoing to identify information gaps and enable better communication.
  • NAN Legal has helped 263 NAN members return to their home communities, with the approval of their communities.
  • NAN Legal has funds to assist NAN members with hotel expenses and transportation home.
  • SOLGEN is trying to support and coordinate efforts post-release of inmates and continues to work with MAG at planning tables.
  • The TBDHU and health teams at institutions are working to coordinate surveillance testing.
  • SOLGEN is providing all inmates released with transportation to the isolation shelter to be fully assessed by public health nurses.

Urban Communities                                                               

  • NAN has posted specific information on the NAN website for members living off-reserve in urban centres across northwestern and northeastern Ontario, including how to find shelters, food banks, social and mental health services, as well as Indigenous organizations that can provide assistance. Please visit www.nancovid19.ca.

NEXT VACCINE ROLL OUT CALL FOR PHASE 1 COMMUNITIES: Thursday, March 4, 2021| 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST

NEXT REGULAR NAN CHIEFS CALL: Thursday, March 11, 2021 | 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST

Download PDF

Porcupine Health Unit

Update February 24, 2021: If a student in your household has symptoms of COVID-19, you do not need to call the Porcupine Health Unit. To arrange testing, please call an assessment centre: https://www.porcupinehu.on.ca/…/c…/covid-assessment-centres/ and if you need medical advice contact your health care provider. If a student who has been sick is ready to return to school, a doctor’s note is not needed.

The PHU as part of Operation Remote Immunity and in partnership with Weeneebayko and Area Health Authority (WAHA), ORNGE, First Nation Inuit Health Branch and local community partners are offering a clinic on Friday for COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines will be given to those who want their first vaccine and to those who are due for their second. Mahekun Taxi will provide rides to and from their vaccine clinics. Clients need to call 705-336-6700 to request a ride.For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit their website at phu.fyi/covid-vaccine

Update February 18, 2021: Because the vaccine arrives in waves, there isn’t enough vaccine to immunize everyone at the same time. For more information on when the vaccine may be available to you visit: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccines-ontario To learn more about how the health unit is progressing with COVID-19 vaccination for our region, visit their weekly bulletin: https://www.porcupinehu.on.ca/…/covid-vaccine-bulletins/

Update February 17, 2021: It’s the last week for Porcupine Health Unit’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics.  Mahekun Taxi will provide rides to and from our vaccine clinics. Clients need to call 705-336-6700 to request a ride.  The Porcupine Health Unit is providing COVID-19 Vaccines to anyone who wants one in Moosonee. The clinics will be held at the Moosonee Arena. Book online: phu.fyi/covid-vaccine.  For more information about limits, visit: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions

Opioid overdose can affect anyone. Do you know how to identify one? Check out our website to get the information to respond if you see an overdose. http://ow.ly/ux3G50uOyyU

Currently, three variants of the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are causing concern. Since these new variants are more easily transmitted, more rigorous application of public health measures is necessary. More information regarding variants of concern, visit: https://bit.ly/37jca0z.

Update February 9, 2021: While clinical trials did not include pregnant and/or breastfeeding women the benefits of vaccination may outweigh the risks.  If you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding, speak with your health care provider to receive informed counselling about COVID-19 vaccination. The counselling session should include a review of the risks and benefits of the vaccine, a review of the potential risks/consequences of a COVID-19 infection, a review of the risk of acquiring a COVID infection and an acknowledgment of the insufficiency of evidence for the use of current COVID-19 vaccines in these special populations. When you go for your vaccination appointment, you will have to verbally confirm that you have received proper counselling from your health care provider, prior to vaccination.

Update February 1, 2021: The Porcupine Health Unit will be making changes to its COVID-19 Communications. Specifically, COVID-19 Outbreaks: The Health Unit will continue to provide information regarding outbreaks on their social media pages. In addition, the following information will also be added to their website: facility type, facility name, status, date declared and date over. These details will be updated regularly on their website: https://www.porcupinehu.on.ca/…/…/covid-outbreaks-exposures/

Update January 25: Face and mouth shields are NOT a suitable face covering option to prevent against COVID-19. They do not fit snugly around the mouth, nose and chin and can allow the respiratory droplets caused by COVID-19 to spread. Face shields do not replace a face covering and if they are used, should be used with a mask. Visit their website for more information https://phu.fyi/covid-masks.

Update December 4: The Porcupine Health Unit is warning of potential public exposure to COVID-19 related to air travel and two Timmins restaurants.

Through the investigation of recent cases, the Porcupine Health Unit is sharing potential risk exposures to the public: 

High-Risk Exposure:

Monday, November 23, 2020 – Thunder Air, from Timmins to Attawapiskat, departure time 8:15 a.m.

Individuals who were on this flight are asked to self-isolate immediately and call the health unit 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818.

Potential Low Risk Exposures:

Friday, November 20, 2020 – East Side Mario’s in Timmins, at around 8:00 pm. As a precaution, we are asking patrons to self-monitor for 14 days, which ends on Friday, December 4, 2020.

Sunday, November 22, 2020 – Siva’s Family Restaurant in Timmins, at around 6:00 pm. If you are experiencing symptoms, self-isolate at home and call the Porcupine Health Unit COVID-19 Information Line at 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818.

Update December 3: Virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to visit or recognize occasions with people outside your household. Find more tips here: https://www.porcupinehu.on.ca/…/novel-coron…/holiday-season/

There are requirements students must meet in order to return to school after having symptoms of COVID-19. To learn more please visit: https://www.porcupinehu.on.ca/en/your-health/infectious-diseases/novel-coronavirus/covid-schools/resources-schools-and-covid/covid-screening-checklist-for-parents.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2XX9FWXUlyyQezuc5K64Rh9oW8ZciPMxQFwsndXZNzN4ocCsauH2RLS6s

BOIL WATER ADVISORY UPDATE:  Effective July 8, 2020 the Boil Water Advisory for Schumacher, South Porcupine, and Porcupine has been lifted. This is due to satisfactory water results.

Update July 8, 2020: The City of Timmins has issued a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) effective July 6, 2020. The advisory affects residents of Schumacher, those in the area east of Highway 655 along Algonquin Boulevard, Vipond Road, and Gold Mine Road.  Residents affected are required to bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute prior to use or use bottled water.  See our Boil Water Advisory page for tips on using water safely during a BWA. The advisory also includes residents of Porcupine and South Porcupine effective July 6, 2020.

Visit site for all updates on COVID-19 from the Porcupine Health Unit below:

Porcupine Health Unit