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NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- April 23, 2020

NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- April 23, 2020

Nishnawbe Aski Nation COVID-19 Update NAN Update                                                              

  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases: 55 in Thunder Bay District (7 from First Nation communities), 55 in Timmins District, 2 in Kenora, 4 in Dryden, 2 in Red Lake, and 1 in Sioux Lookout.
  • Great news out of Fort Hope First Nation – the positive case was tested and came back negative.
  • Provincial Ministers Rickford and Lecce and Federal Ministers Miller and Hajdu have been invited to be on the NAN Chiefs’ calls next week. They are working on schedules to confirm times.
  • 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 we cannot afford to 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.
  • NAN will follow up with Northern Stores to ensure they are continuing not to increase prices unnecessarily and price gouge during COVID-19, as well ensuring that all staffing issues are being addressed appropriately.
  • As of 2 pm on April 23, 2020, the City of Thunder Bay has declared a state of emergency.

NAN COVID-19 Task Team

  • NAN wants to thank each member for their commitment to this work. The NAN COVID-19 Task Team has been working tirelessly to answer questions posed by NAN Chiefs and communities, advising NAN, and participating in various tables.
    • We acknowledge the Elders, Teri Fiddler, Barney Batise and Helen Cromarty for their support and work to ensure that the work is being done in a good way.
    • We thank Dr. Bocking, Dr. Kirlew, Lynne Innes, Dr. Philpott, Dr. Chase, Michelle Gervais, Mae Katt, and Eric Goodwin for their important input and dedication to our communities.
  • We continue to support and thank Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) and Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) for their leadership and work in the NAN communities and will do everything that we can to ensure that the work is moving forward in a coordinated way.

NAN Trilateral Table

  • NAN participated in the fourth Trilateral Table call this week.
  • We are seeing a willingness to work through issues from both levels of government.
  • There remain challenges, but there has been a positive response on the NAN Critical Preparedness, Readiness & Response Actions for COVID-19 Transmission Scenarios document – we are hoping to have further conversations with SLFNHA and WAHA through this process to regionalize the document.
    • SLFNHA requested that they become responsible for contact tracing. This request was put to ISC – There was an acknowledgment of this request and we remain optimistic for a response that allows SLFNHA to do this.
    • The equipment/supplies proposal that was sent by SLFNHA on behalf of SLFNHA and WAHA, in the amount of $12 million dollars, was approved.
    • We are all working hard to ensure that the orders will be fulfilled through the procurement process and will diligently follow up through this table.

Remote Airports

  • NAN sent a letter to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Transport Canada Ministers regarding Northern and Remote airports receive the “essential” designation.
  • An additional letter was sent to the ISC Minister Miller regarding financial support for airlines operating in the NAN territory in the same way that the government has supported airlines in the Territories.
  • We will provide updates on the next call.

NAN COVID-19 Task Team                                                              

  • 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.
  • Modelling and projections for COVID-19 is being completed through WAHA and SLFNHA.
    • The next step is to have discussion with road access communities to be included in the modelling.
  • Mental Health and Substance Use Working Group – completed the 3 Guidance Documents for health care providers on Alcohol, Opioid and Stimulant Drug Withdrawal Management by Dr. Lindsay Hancock & Dr. Sharon Cirone.
  • Distribution of the documents will take place through existing community personnel.

Rapid Testing

  • At the NAN Trilateral Table, NAN received detailed information about the Spartan Rapid tests.
    • Ontario has procured cubes (approx. 950k) that are still in the testing phase.
    • Even though Health Canada has approved the test, there still needs to be validation through provincial and national processes.
    • Deployment decisions still need to be made and training still needs to happen.
  • There are also limitations to these tests that need to be seriously considered.
  • NAN has communicated to the provincial and federal governments that the messaging absolutely must be clear and consistent – NAN has received commitments that they will ensure that they are working together closely.
    • There have already been some releases and media that are unclear and may cause misconceptions about the utility of these tests, and we want to ensure that anything further that is released is accurate and relevant to our communities.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • NAN participated in the second call of the North COVID-19 Indigenous Health Community Response Working Table, where an announcement was made about a new provincial PPE process.
  • This ordering and delivery process is different than what has been communicated by ISC thus far. NAN is working to get further information and clarity about the process including parameters for ordering.
    • This is another example of why ISC and Ontario must be clear and consistent in their processes and communication.
  • NAN will provide details about the ordering process and any further information and clarity about this process once we know more.

NAN Social Services                                                              

  • The Child and Family Services Emergency Preparedness Team (CFS EPT) has created the CFS Emergency Response Interim Guidelines.
    • Part one of the interim guidelines have been shared with the NAN Chiefs and NAN CFS Agencies.
    • Part two of the guidelines will come out by end of day Friday, April 24.
    • This is a tangible resource for communities and agencies to use as they continue CFS work during the pandemic.
  • The mandate of CFS EPT is to produce an Emergency Preparedness Report that contains recommendations tailored to the three NAN CFS agencies in the context around COVID-19.
  • It is the goal to minimize disruption in service delivery so the agencies can safely and effectively fulfil their mandates of protecting children and youth.
  • During the pandemic response – as children are the jurisdiction of each NAN community, it would be up to the community pandemic plan on how children staying at home can be looked after safely.
  • NAN Social Services department is working with the Housing & Infrastructure department to look at different safe spaces each community may need.

NAN Legal Services                                                              

  • The MOU is still under legal review at Solicitor General; hoping to have feedback later this week.
  • We recognize that this is a priority and we will continue to insist that a finalized copy be shared with all communities by next week at the latest.
  • NAN Legal was able to assist with 23 NAN members, released from incarceration, in returning to their community since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Services (NAPS)                                                              

  • The communities that do have BCRs on enforcement of community public health and safety measures are being enforced by the officers on the ground.
  • NAPS has secured PPE with assistance from the OPP which is being shipped to communities now. NAPS is now equipped to do their work in a safe way.


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

NEXT CALL: Monday, April 27, 2020 | 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST

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