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NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- May 25, 2020

NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- May 25, 2020

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) COVID-19 Update                                                                                                                                           

Thunder Bay District Health UnitConfirmed Positive (May 25): 81
Active Cases: 2
Resolved Cases: 78
Deceased: 1
Porcupine Health UnitNumber of cases (May 25): 65
Resolved Cases: 55
Active Cases: 3
Deceased: 7
Northwestern Health UnitPositive tests (May 25): 21
Resolved Cases: 55
Active Cases: 5
Total Deceased: 0

Ontario Testing Guidance– May 25

  • The Ontario Ministry of Health provided additional direction regarding testing that is effective immediately.
    • All individuals with at least one symptom of COVID-19 can be tested
    • All individuals who are concerned they may have been exposed to COVID-19, or who are at risk of exposure through their employment to COVID-19 can be tested.
  • NAN will be discussing this with the Ministry of Health this week with a view towards increasing testing capacity in our First Nations

NAN Reopening Framework

  • NAN’s Framework for Reopening was circulated last week
  • We encourage community leadership to read through the document, and consider it in relation to the needs of your community.
  • We encourage leadership to reach out to NAN’s task team (emergency@nan.ca) if there are specific issues that need to be addressed.
  • NAN will continue to advocate to both levels of government that it is up to an individual community to determine where they are at in the reopening process.
  • We have shared this document with both levels of government, and we expect that they will support this work, as well as the autonomy of our member Nations to determine their own reopening measures and timing.

Funeral and Bereavement Protocol

Connectivity and Broadband Limitations

  • NAN spoke to KNET last week regarding connectivity issues.
  • KNET is working on a proposal to be submitted for June 1, 2020.
  • Ongoing work will involve upgrading equipment in the communities and working with KNET coordinators in communities.
  • NAN continues to monitor issues related to connectivity, and to advocate for solutions at the Trilateral Table.

NAN Education 

  • Once schools reopen, the classes may be staggered. There is also a land-based component to this, and schools may want to offer credits for students going out on the land.
  • NAN Education Department continues to work with the education committee and the school boards and continues to seek input and advice from education leaders and Chiefs.
  • NAN Education awaits feedback form communities on how they plan to implement the school year, this could include summer school programming.
  • NAN will continue to seek funding and supports for students attending summer school programs, and for those who will be transitioning into high school.
  • On Thursday, May 28, 2020, there will be a document outlining more detailed updates on the education plan for students returning to school in the fall.

NAN Evacuation Planning 

  • There are 16 wildfires across the province with some occurring in NAN territory. The fire hazard levels vary from low risk to high risk.
  • Information pertaining to evacuations is under the ‘fire update’ section on the NAN website at: Housing, Infrastructure and Emergency Management
  • The PEOC team has partnered with numerous municipalities for hosting communities.
  • COVID-19 has altered these arrangements and has placed a strain on municipalities for hosting. However, the province is looking to NAN, Tribal Councils, and municipalities for guidance.
  • Several sites have been identified as potential options and include hotels in Kapuskasing, Sudbury, North Bay and Thunder Bay, two mine sites, the NAV center in Cornwall and one non-urban setting at the Quetico Lodge in Atikokan.
  • The hotel sites will mean that people must stay in hotel rooms, with meals delivered.
  • There is no information regarding an active plan in place for the mining sites at this time.
  • The Cornwall site is similar to the hotel site restrictions, but with more space to move around outdoors.
  • There is no detailed information from the province regarding the Sudbury site, so NAN does not recommend it as a viable option.
  • The Quetico Lodge has enough space to allow for social distancing. It will have the capacity to host 500 evacuees.
  • To date, PEOC has secured 3 hotels in Kapuskasing and the Nav Center in Cornwall for a total of 1380 beds.
  • NAN recommends that communities review their evacuation plans and pre-identify suitable hosting locations.
  • Communities are welcome, at their discretion and direction, to share their plans with NAN to help in securing potential supports and increase advocacy required in evacuation planning.

NAN COVID-19 Task Team 

Testing Guidance:

  • The province is examining how they may be able to expand testing to include broader testing of people who do not have symptoms.
  • Testing requirements have been loosened so that anyone who shows any symptom(s) is eligible to be tested.
  • People may also be tested if they suspect they have been in contact with a positive case.
  • In the remote isolated communities in both the Northwest and Northeast, testing is available through the nursing stations.
  • NAN has been exploring the barriers to testing to ensure equitable access and expedited testing processes for NAN communities.
  • Testing should be easy to access in every community in NAN territory.
  • The province will be providing an update on this later this week.

Vaccine development:

  • Health Canada has approved the first Canadian clinical trial of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Although the trial has been approved, this is no guarantee that the vaccine will work or is safe for people to use. That will be determined by the trial.
  • Throughout three phases, researchers will assess the vaccine’s safety and whether it works to prevent people from contracting COVID-19.
  • The first phase will involve healthy adults. The second phase is dependent on the outcomes of the first phase and will include tests with elderly and children.
  • Even though testing may reach Phase 1, there is no guarantee that it will work.
  • Currently, there are 100 clinical trials globally.
  • It is impossible to say how long it will take before we know that this vaccine works.
    • Experts predict it will take at least a year to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
    • Even once a vaccine is developed, it will take some time to manufacture and distribute the vaccine to everyone.

Physical distancing:

  • Recent news coverage focused on large crowds that gathered at a Toronto park over the weekend.
  • Important to maintain physical distancing measures.

NAN Legal Services 

  • Supports have been provided to 50 NAN members with discharge plans- the majority have been able to return to their homes. There are still some individuals within urban centers.
  • NAN Legal is working with the Timmins release working group.
  • PPEs provided are non-surgical masks at this time.
  • The board is not meeting until July 7th but if anything comes up, it will be brought to the board.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Services (NAPS) 

  • NAPS civilian staff will continue to work from home until the end of June.
  • Last week, the province announced an expansion in policing hires over 3 intakes.
  • NAPS has a number of officers to hire this year. This summer’s intake will occur from Monday through to Saturday with one day for a break.
  • It is confirmed that those attending the Ontario Police College will be asked to stay at the college for the entire duration of the training.
  • NAPS had a call with the Solicitor General’s office on Friday, May 22. Consensus was that all First Nation police services have seen an increase in calls for service.
  • There is a lot of consumption of drugs and alcohol and a notable rise in domestic assaults across many communities.
  • NAPS is working to acquire information regarding the types of calls that other police services are dealing with to do a trend analysis.

Communications 

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

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 updating it daily with the most up to date information: www.nancovid19.ca

NEXT CALL: Thursday, May 28, 2020 | 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST

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