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NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- June 18, 2020

NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- June 18, 2020

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) COVID-19 Update                                                                                                                                           

Thunder Bay District Health UnitConfirmed Positive (June 18): 89
Active Cases: 6
Resolved Cases: 82
Deceased: 1
Porcupine Health UnitNumber of cases (June 18): 65
Resolved Cases: 58
Active Cases: 0
Deceased: 7
Northwestern Health UnitPositive tests (June 18): 27
Resolved Cases: 23
Active Cases: 4
  • We need to ensure that messaging and recommendations around public health measures and physical distancing are still being followed in our communities. Each community must be as vigilant as ever and we still cannot afford to relax the measures that are in place. These include:
    • Proper use of masks and other face coverings: if worn, these should cover both your mouth and nose.
    • Frequent hand washing and/or sanitizing.
    • Continue to practice physical distancing from people outside of your household.
    • These measures should continue to be followed, as practicable, when you are on the land.
    • People returning to the community should self-isolate for 14 days.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs

  • Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler appeared before the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs by virtual meeting last Friday.
  • A written submission on behalf of NAN was also provided focusing on funding, public health, communications, and emergency response.
  • We are hopeful that there will be a further opportunity to provide input, and will be doing a comprehensive debrief with communities, Tribal Councils, and Health Authorities as we move forward.

Critical Transmission Scenario Document (Response Document)

  • A few months back the NAN COVID-19 Task Team created a document to help guide response and to identify needs in various transmission scenarios – i.e. what the role of the government is, community, and what surge capacity issues need to be addressed.
  • With the new cases in NAN territory, it is a good time to remind ourselves of the work that we have done to keep our communities safe.
  • The province is entering various stages of the reopening plan, but we are not there yet.
  • We reminded both levels of government on this week’s NAN Trilateral Table call the importance of a coordinated approach with communication and roles and responsibilities clearly identified.

Positive Cases in NAN Territory

  • 6 new COVID-19 cases in NAN territory were confirmed on June 12, June 15, and June 16.
  • All nursing station staff were tested, and all results came back negative.
  • SLFNHA, who recently took responsibility for COVID-19 case management and contact tracing, responded immediately to the communities.
  • SLFNHA is working to assist the communities with case and contact tracing as well provide additional support regarding additional resources.
  • Due to privacy and other concerns, we can only share limited information about these cases for now.
  • Based on information that we have, SLFNHA and the communities involved responded quickly and we continue to hope that those affected make a quick recovery.
  • SLFNHA is looking to schedule a SLFNHA Chiefs Assembly in the coming weeks to address the gaps and issues that are presenting around COVID-19.
Summary of Active CasesDate ConfirmedTransmissionSymptomsCondition
Community A June 12Transmission in CommunityMinimalHospitalized
June 15Evidence of Community Transmission –
Close Contact of June 12 case
NoIsolating in the Community
June 15Evidence of Community Transmission –
Close Contact of June 12 case
NoIsolating in the Community
Community BJune 15Under InvestigationMinimalHospitalized
June 15 Under InvestigationMinimalHospitalized
Community CJune 16Under Investigation YesIsolating in Sioux Lookout

NAN COVID-19 Task Team 

  • The NAN COVID-19 Task Team has developed some recommendations related to Elder Support that will be shared with Grand Chiefs office and we will provide further information on the next call.
  • Task Team will assist NAN crisis staff in developing procedures and protocols for if crisis staff are asked to travel to communities during the pandemic.
  • The province recently made changes to the number of people who could attend funeral and wedding services. An updated Guidance Document for Funerals and Bereavement that reflects these new restrictions will be posted to the NAN COVID-19 website this week.

Safety Measures at SLFNHA Hostels

  • Several measures have been implemented to safeguard hostel guests during this time.
  • No visitors will be allowed access to the hostels.
  • SLFNHA will be following social distancing guidelines in the hostels, transportation (with a dedicated van for self isolation cases), and food services.
  • A COVID-19 Screening Process upon arrival to the hostels has been implemented.
    • Hand-washing stations are implemented with increased signage for handwashing, sneezing/coughing, and precautions to follow.
    • Gloves and masks are available in all guestrooms.
    • The domestic kitchen is closed with restricted access for infection control.
    • A breakfast menu is being implemented and other food services are delivered to guest rooms.
    • Clients are to report any sudden illnesses related to COVID-19 symptoms.
  • At Jeremiah McKay Kabayshewekamik #1, the following changes were also made:
    • Implemented one wing for self isolation and one wing for quarantine (COVID-19 clients).
    • Corridors and connecting link to hospital are closed.

Polar Bear Express Train

  • The Polar Bear Express to Moosonee will be resuming service next week (June 25th).
  • The train has implemented several safety procedures, including:
    • Limiting the number of seats available per coach to ensure physical distancing.
    • A requirement for passengers to wear a face covering when boarding or moving through the coach (except when seated in their assigned seat).
      • Does not apply to children under 2, or people with breathing difficulties.
    • The dining car will not be in service and passengers will not be able to move from car to car.
    • Passengers will be screened prior to boarding.
    • The passenger cars have enhanced cleaning protocols including intense cleaning after use.
  • The safety measures in place on the train will reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission but it is impossible to remove that risk entirely.
  • Anyone who uses this train should self-isolate for 14 days when they return to the community.

NAN Education 

  • Two-day education meeting took place on June 17 & 18 from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.
  • Day 1 was focused on elementary schools, and day 2 was focused on post-secondary and adult learning.
  • A summary update will be provided to leadership when it is complete.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Services (NAPS) 

  • Switch over will take place next week for a new 14-day rotation in the NAPS communities.
  • NAPS has laid a number of charges not following public health protocols after individuals have been reminded several times. When people are being reminded, the last result is the criminal code charge. Prior to this, those who were charged would be reminded several times. It is the last warning and it is a shame we have to lay charges, but it has unfortunately been necessary.
  • Court operations have had to drastically adjust due to COVID-19. Electronic intake will begin to take place.
  • The reinvestigation into the nine deaths in Thunder Bay will begin again. Two of NAPS employees will be helping with the investigation and it is taking some time because of the impacts of COVID-19.
  • NAPS will have their annual report to be ready to distribute in the near future.
  • Civilian staff will be working from home until the end of July.


  • 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:

NEXT CALL: Thursday, June 25, 2020 | 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST

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NAN Critical Actions for Transmission Scenarios

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