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NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- April 30, 2020

NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- April 30, 2020

Nishnawbe Aski Nation COVID-19 Update 

Thunder Bay District Health Unit Confirmed Positive (April 30): 69Currently under investigation: 279Resolved Cases: 51Deceased: 1
Porcupine Health Unit Number of cases (April 30): 60Currently Under Investigation: 553Resolved Cases: 43Deceased: 4
Northwestern Health Unit Positive tests (April 29): 16Pending tests: 625Resolved: 16
  • We need to ensure that messaging around public health measures and physical distancing are still being received in our communities. Each community must be as vigilant as ever and we still cannot afford to relax the measures that are in place.
  • If someone in a NAN First Nation community 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.
  • On Monday May 4, representatives from the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) and Ministry of Indigenous Affairs Ontario (IAO) will present on evacuation plans for the upcoming fire and flooding season.
  • We strongly encourage Chiefs to participate in this call, especially non-coastal communities who may not yet have engaged on this issue.

 Minister Greg Rickford’s Remarks

  • Ontario has released a framework for ‘reopening’ the province, but no date was specified as it is currently undetermined. We are looking at hard medical data for decision making on this – ongoing discussion with mayors and Indigenous leaders across the province.
  • Until we see a steady decrease in positive cases and deaths, the measures will stay in place, especially given that there is a good chance there will be a second wave.
    • Committed to meet with Indigenous political leadership to ensure they are engaged on when the reopening framework will begin.
    • Isolated communities may be particularly vulnerable.
  • Flooding and fires – working with all levels of government. We need to be very prepared this year.
    • Constant contact with Grand Chief Fiddler on the municipalities that are willing to take evacuees.
    • Proactively looking into which municipalities are able to take evacuees. Thunder Bay as a city has said they are not able to take evacuees. Kapuskasing is able to take evacuees.
  • Mining and Exploration – letter sent on April 20 to all communities – all new permits have been put on a 30-day temporary hold.
    • Claims can still be registered at this time – this is an administrative piece, but this is different than permit application to do work on these claims.
  • SLFNHA wrote a letter requesting Dr. Natalie Bocking receive full authority during COVID-19. A response should be received by end of week.

NAN Trilateral Table

  • We had our fourth meeting of the Trilateral Table with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC/FNIHB), Ministry of Health and IAO.
  • The meetings are going well, and we thank all levels of government for continuing to engage directly on issues that relate to NAN communities during COVID-19.
  • The three (3) Guidance Documents for health care providers in communities on Alcohol, Opioid and Stimulant Drug Withdrawal Management were discussed with ISC – we understand that they are being reviewed.
  • A tele-mental health proposal, which still requires work from the NAN COVID-19 Task Team was also discussed. This was well-received, and we are hopeful to have an update soon.
  • Discussion around a working group for enhanced prevention planning as the province goes through the reopening plan took place.
    • We want to continue to ensure that our communities are safe.
  • THANK YOU to SLFNHA and WAHA for all the work they are doing, we continue to support all of our health authorities and ensure that issues that they have are raised are dealt with accordingly. The fact that there continues to be no cases in NAN communities at this time is reflective of the excellent work being done.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • There are two ways to access PPE – both federal and provincial governments have separate processes.
  • NAN has requested clarity around how the processes complement each other, and we are working with ISC and the Ministry of Health (Ontario) to ensure that there is one communication that clearly outlines the processes.
  • Windigo Tribal Council was successful in procuring PPE through the Ontario process (Ontario Health North), and we encourage you to use the link below to access supplies: http://www.nelhin.on.ca/North%20Region%20PPE%20and%20Critical%20Supplies

NAN COVID-19 Task Team 

  • Looking at developing a guidance document for reopening NAN communities.
  • Safe mourning & bereavement guidance document has been finalized.
  • Elders homes guidance document is being developed.
  • The Mental Health and Addictions Working Group continues to meet and identify gaps and accessing immediate 24/7 support.
  • There have been a handful of instances (international) where it appears that COVD-19 has been passed onto pets, but pets have shown no signs of illness.
    • There are no studies that suggest that pets will transmit Covid-19 back to humans. The guidance is that if someone is sick with COVID-19 they are instructed to take precautions around their pets.

NAN Legal Services 

  • Kimberly Murray, ADM, has advised NAN Legal that the MOU is still under review with the Ministry of the Solicitor General (SOLGEN). She will be in contact with SOLGEN again today.
  • There have been 32 NAN community members who have received assistance with their release during COVID-19.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Services (NAPS) 

  • This past week, our officers finished the first 14-day rotation that was established. The second 14-day rotation has been now implemented, and all officers arrived safely to the communities.

Enforcement

  • We provided the Solicitor General with a full package of our intended course of action from both the NAN and NAPS policing perspective (the enforcement of BRs). No response yet.
  • The approach in NAN communities has also been picked up by Grand Council Treaty 3 and communities in the south.
  • Today, Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario (IPCO) has submitted a letter of support to signal that all 9 stand-alone police services are respecting the political authority of NAN BCRs.
  • NAN will continue to push this issue directly with Minister Jones.

Communications 

  • Members of the NAN Executive Council will continue to appear on Wawatay Radio on Tuesday at 12 pm EST and on Thursday 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 Supports 

  • 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: www.nancovid19.ca

NEXT CALL: Monday, May 4, 2020 | 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST

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