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NAN COVD-19 Bulletin- April 20, 2020

NAN COVD-19 Bulletin- April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020                                  

Nishnawbe Aski Nation COVID-19 Update                                                               

  • Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the horrific events in Nova Scotia over the weekend. We will continue to send healing prayers as we all come to terms with this tragedy.
  • The NAN Chiefs Calls will now be twice weekly (Monday and Thursday at 1pm EST), with a bulletin to follow after each call.
  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases: 51 in Thunder Bay District (3 from First Nation communities), 50 in Timmins District, 1 in Kenora, 4 in Dryden, 2 in Red Lake, and 1 in Sioux Lookout.
  • We need to ensure that messaging around public health measures and physical distancing are being taken seriously in our communities. Each community must be as vigilant as ever and cannot relax the measures that are in place.
  • If someone suspects they have symptoms of COVID-19, it is very important that they not to go to the nursing station without getting instructions first from the nurse over the phone or through telehealth.
  • Everyone must act like they have COVID-19 – this is not an extraordinary measure, but a measure that every person is being asked to practice.
  • When out on the land, please remember and respect the cultural teachings we have been taught when harvesting traditional foods.

Preparing for Flood & Fire Season

  • NAN is participating in calls to begin preparing for flood and fire season.
  • The recommendation not to evacuate to municipalities also comes from some NAN leadership to avoid as many as possible areas where COVID-19 exposure may be possible.
  • NAN is working with all partners to examine every available option for host locations.
    • One of the most viable locations currently being assessed is the Quetico Learning Centre, just outside of Atikokan, ON.
    • It is a self-sustainable camp facility that, with additional trailers, could be capable of hosting 500 evacuees.

Minister Greg Rickford & Ontario Health                                                               

  • Public health numbers continue to be troubling, living in long-term care facilities and small, remote communities continues to be very high risk.
  • It is the province’s hope and the intention the leadership NAN Chiefs has displayed will continue.
  • Acknowledge the work NAN has done regarding the NAN Critical Preparedness, Readiness & Response Actions for COVID-19 Transmission Scenarios.
  • Forest fires and flooding – a call will be taking place in the coming days with the municipalities.
  • The NAN Trilateral Table has proved to be a useful platform to disseminate information and responding with the right types of action.
  • 900,000 Spartan Tests have been purchased for Ontario – working through the logistics currently.

Ontario Health

  • The PowerPoint we received from Ontario Health North is attached to the Bulletin.
  • Ontario Health North – COVID-19 Regional Steering Committee – Indigenous Health Community Response Co-Chairs.
    • Michael Hardy, Executive Director, Anishnawbe-Mushkiki
    • Carol Eshkakogan, Executive Director, Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services
  • Priorities: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)/Supplies; Testing Strategies; Public Health Measures/Communications and Engagement.
    • Focus on collaborative work to support rural/remote Indigenous community access to COVID-19 services and help support First Nation readiness from a provincial perspective.
  • PPE – Working with Ministry of Health to begin reach out to First Nation communities on PPE/Supplies/Swab needs. Ensure that communities and organizations are aware of how to access supplies through the provincial/regional escalation process.
    • Webinar will take place this week.
  • Testing – 40 Assessment Centres (AC) open across North region.
    • Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) has been approved for 6 AC locations across the James and Hudson Bay Coasts.
    • Worked to expedite logistics on turn around times and more local testing approaches.
    • In Northwestern Ontario, processing of lab samples using logistical support flights by Ornge.

NAN COVID-19 Task Team                                                               

  • The NAN COVID-19 Task Team includes: Elders, Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Emergency Management Experts.
  • Timmins & District Hospital has declared an outbreak – this happens when one a person acquires COVID-19 during their admission at the hospital.
    • Outbreak at hospital triggers additional actions – such as wider testing and ensuring patients and staff with respiratory issues are isolated.
  • Some cases in Timmins/Cochrane related to those living in low income housing (multi-unit dwellings).
  • 14-day quarantine isolation period starts when a person has been instructed to do so.

NAN Education                                                               

  • NAN continues to work on a draft framework/plan for education.
  • NAN welcomes Minister Lecce to join a NAN Chiefs call to discuss education; Minister Rickford will pass on the invite.

NAN Legal Services                                                               

  • The MOU on a protocol for releasing NAN members from custody during COVID-19 is now on draft 6.
  • It is under legal review at Solicitor General; hoping to have a more comprehensive update to share on the next call.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Services – NAPS                                                               

  • All PPE requests and sourcing has come through, including with assistance from the OPP. NAPS now has PPE supplies for the next few months.
  • Calls for service from 2019 to 2020 have increased in: domestic violence, family disputes, drug offenses and liquor license offences.
  • We continue to receive Band Council Resolutions (BCRs) from the communities and officers have been instructed to act accordingly in response to the BCRs.


  • Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is working directly with communities to assess surge infrastructure needs and the temporary repurposing of existing infrastructure.
  • ISC is offering support for the repurposing of infrastructure in community as well as support for the purchasing of necessary supplies, such as cots.
  • To access this support, please contact Mandy Wirta


  • A member of the NAN Executive will be on Wawatay Radio on Tuesdays at 12 pm EST and Thursdays 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 as they become available.

Urban Community Members

  • 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 constantly updating it with the most up to date information:

NEXT CALL: Thursday, April 23, 2020 | 1p.m. EST/ 12p.m. CST

Ontario Health Power Point

NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- April 20, 2020

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