April 8, 2020
Nishnawbe Aski Nation COVID-19 Update
- 21 COVID-19 cases in Thunder Bay and 31 cases in Timmins.
- Only 10 NAN First Nations communities and 2 Tribal Councils put in applications for the Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) funding pot that ended March 31, 2020.
- Communities are urged to continue to send in their requests into ISC.
- We are continuing to advocate with respect to the Watay power project, and understand that some Chiefs are very concerned about work continuing and the potential of exposure. We will provide updates on this regularly.
- This is a very special time in the church calendar, but we remind you that we have to do things differently this year – please continue to follow the advice of public health experts to limit your movements, and to not gather together this year.
- We will take some time off Friday, and reconvene our regular calls on Monday.
Eabametoong First Nation – Update
- Strong indication that case in Eabametoong First Nation was acquired in Thunder Bay.
- A charter arrived in the community today with 6 team members, including additional nurses and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- NAN has been told that there will be a scan to determine what is available in the community as far as facilities for quarantine and isolation etc.
- We understand the anxiety with this positive test, and can assure you that we are doing everything that we can at the federal and provincial level to address a coordinated approach.
The Canadian Rangers 3rd Patrol Group has activated members in communities that have local patrols to full-time ‘C’ status until October 2020.
Local patrols remain under the direction of the Canadian Rangers as part of the Canadian Forces’ Operation Laser response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For First Nations that don’t have local patrols, the Rangers have developed two ‘go-teams’ of volunteer Rangers willing to work full-time and leave community for 30 days to assist communities in need.
Communities can submit Requests For Assistance (RFA) to the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) through their usual process.
Tasks the Rangers can do:
- Community wellness checks.
- Assist verifying and identifying at-risk individuals and families.
- Assist with the monitoring of critical infrastructure.
- Assist with the unloading and distribution of local supplies.
- Support to local community, provincial and territorial COVID-19 awareness programming.
- Assist with the loading, transportation, unloading of humanitarian assistance goods.
- Assist local health authorities with direction to isolation centers, assist with set-up and function of remote clinics, act as runners to distribute information (with appropriate PPE).
Tasks the Rangers cannot do (as they don’t have the appropriate, skills, equipment or authority):
- Security or assistance with police activity in any form.
- Support or movement of confirmed cases of COVID-19.
- Support to the isolation or containment of individuals.
- NAN is continuing to raise the most important issues at this level with ADMs.
- PPE continues to be a major issue for communities.
- Working with ISC to scale up on the response at the community level if there is a positive test.
- Most communities have protective equipment, gear, and tests at the nursing station.
- There may be a disconnect between the nursing station and health director, and we encourage communication between them as much as possible.
- If/when a positive case is confirmed at the community level, more supplies and PPE will flow as there is a finite amount of supplies and they cannot all be sent right now.
- NAN sent a letter to the Premier of Ontario on April 3 regarding Municipal Field Hospitals.
- Ontario has responded and is committed to continuing the discussion about the critical need for increased capacity beyond what has currently been identified at the regional level.
- Testing remains an issue as FNIHB is testing per the Ontario guidelines in communities. We recognize this is very frustrating, and we are continuing to advocate to make testing more widely available with faster turnaround times.
- Some First Nations communities still do not have a pandemic plan developed and in place, and others are struggling to understand how to begin implementing these plans.
- An internal team has been developed to support any stage of community planning – Pandemic Plan Support Hub.
- NAN has partnered with a group called Team Rubicon who has extensive experience in emergency management and disaster relief, and the team is made up of military veterans with first responder experience.
- We encourage you to please send any requests for assistance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We also encourage you to continue to access resources as soon as they become available to assist in planning and implementation. Based on the funding announcement from Ontario yesterday, we will be following up on ensuring there is an identified process and we will share that as soon as we receive it.
NAN COVID-19 Task Team
An update was provided by Dr. Natalie Bocking & Dr. Schreiber, an infectious disease specialist who has worked with NAN communities:
- Eric Goodwin, Team Rubicon, has been added to the NAN COVID-19 Task Team.
- The province of Ontario released COVID-19 modelling figures this week. SLFNHA and WAHA have started to look at modelling for their respective regions in NAN territory.
- A Continuous Care Pathway is being developed to map the different levels of care (in community, during transport, at hospital) to identify limiting factors and gaps at each level.
- There are currently no vaccine or treatments for COVID-19. Clinical trials are taking place all over the world, and there are some Canadian trials ongoing, but it will likely take between 12-18 months to be ready.
NAN Legal Services & NAN Justice
- The MOU protocol with the Solicitor General, Ministry of Attorney General, Indigenous Justice Unit and NAN for NAN members who may be released while they are on temporary pass or at the end of their sentence is still being developed.
- A meeting will take place tomorrow to go over the protocol in detail, and then it will be sent to the Solicitor General and Ministry of Attorney General; this may take longer due to Easter but we are doing our best to ensure that it is finalized as soon as possible.
Nishnawbe Aski Police Services – NAPS
- NAPS has signed an MOU with the officers’ Union to allow NAPS to look at waiving provisions to the collective agreement regarding the scheduling of officers during COVID-19.
- 14 days on, 14 days off schedule will be implemented by next week or the following week.
- All officers have been notified of this change.
- Working with NAN Infrastructure Department and Internet Service Providers to determine infrastructure that is required to provide bandwidth increases for communities to deliver online education services (Bell, KNet, Western James Bay Telecom).
- Identified equipment required, access to communities for installation, additional cost of increases, and overall capacity of the fibre network limiting.
- Coordinating Critical Infrastructure Drinking Water Operations conference calls on Thursdays with Tribal Councils, Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC), Independent Communities, Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), and ISC to identify and address concerns as they arise.
- Continuing to work with air carriers to ensure freight shipments are received in a timely manner.
- Working with Wasaya and ISC to ensure oxygen supplies for nursing stations are received.
- Air Creebec is halting passenger flight service due to COVID-19 – official notice to be released today.
- Grand Chief Fiddler will be on Wawatay Radio, Tuesdays & Thursdays.
- COVID-19 Tools and Resources are being translated into Oji-Cree, Ojibway, and Cree to assist the communities in spreading the awareness around COVID-19. They are posted on the NAN website under COVID-19 Tools and Resources, as they become available.
Urban Community Members
- NAN has posted specific information for members living off-reserve in urban centres across northern Ontario on the NAN website.
- 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 constantly updating it with the most up to date information: www.nancovid19.ca
NEXT CALL: April 13, 2020 | 1p.m. EST/ 12p.m. CST
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