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NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- July 9, 2020

NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- July 9, 2020

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) COVID-19 Update                                                                                                                                           

Thunder Bay District Health UnitConfirmed Positive (July 2): 92
Active Cases: 2
Resolved Cases: 89
Deceased: 1
Porcupine Health UnitNumber of cases (July 9): 67
Resolved Cases: 59
Active Cases: 0
Deceased: 8
Northwestern Health UnitPositive tests (July 9): 41
Resolved Cases: 38
Active Cases: 3
  • Congratulations to the new Chief and Council of Cat Lake First Nation. We look forward to working with Chief Wesley and Council, and thank Chief Keewaykapow and the outgoing Council for all of their hard work during their leadership term.
  • As North Caribou Lake First Nation works to recover from the severe weather that went through the community last week, we thank leadership for their hard work, as well as Windigo Tribal Council and Hydro 1 Remote for their quick response.
  • 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.

Mental Health & Addictions in NAN Territory

  • Thank you to Indigenous Services Canada Minister Marc Miller and Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of FNIHB, Valerie Gideon for joining us on today’s call to announce approval for this very important initiative and answer questions from leadership.
  • The NAN Mental Health and Addictions Pandemic Response Program proposal (attached) has been funded by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) in the amount of $2,657,560, and work will commence immediately on mapping out mental health services within each regional area.
  • The NAN Mental Health and Addictions Pandemic Response Program will provide member First Nations communities with a coordinated approach to existing services between Health

Authorities, Tribal Councils and community organizations that will address potential gaps in mental health and addiction supports in the NAN region during the COVID-19 pandemic. This coordination will result in access to 24/7 culturally appropriate crisis supports, triage and live service navigation, improved usage of tele-mental health supports, and elimination of duplication in existing mental health and addictions services.

  • Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) eHealth will receive $1,666,185, and Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) will receive $991,375 to operate the Program, supported by Dalton Associates. Services will be delivered and promoted by the Regional Health Authorities, Tribal Councils, and community organizations within the NAN region.

Preparing for Evacuations

  • The COVID-19 Task Team will continue discussions on First Nation evacuation procedures.
  • Urban sites for evacuations have been confirmed in: Kapuskasing, Cochrane, Timmins, and the Nav Centre in Cornwall.
    • The Province is still working to finalize the Sudbury site.
    • Other non-urban sites have been recommended to the Province by NAN and partners; however, the Province has still not secured these sites.
  • There are no details on evacuation guidelines or protocols from the Province.

NAN COVID-19 Task Team                                                                                                                                           

  • Vice-Chairs for the Task Team accepted their nominations: Lynne Innes for the Northeastern NAN region, and Janet Gordon for the Northwestern NAN region.
  • The Task Team is developing recommendations on masking and when to wear masks.


  • Samples tested for COVID-19 are taken by swab administered in communities.
  • Once somebody is swabbed, that swab needs to be transported to a lab at Meno Ya Win, WAHA Hospital, or the provincial system to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Meno Ya Win and WAHA use the GenExpert machines, which can provide test results in a matter of hours.
  • The cartridges that the GenExpert machines use for testing are extremely limited across the world right now, and so both WAHA and Meno Ya Win have prioritized the use of the GenExpert machine for certain situations, such as high-risk contacts or ill patients.
  • Swabs that cannot be tested on the GenExpert machines are sent to a provincial lab for testing (in Thunder Bay, Timmins, or Toronto).
    • The turnaround time for the processing of these tests varies greatly with the location of the lab receiving the swab, but it takes at least a few days.
  • There is no approved point of care test available at this time that can be used in communities.

Dental & Diabetes:

  • All contracted dental services in remote First Nations were suspended as part of COVID-19 containment measures.
  • If somebody needs emergency dental care in the SLFNHA area, they are examined by the Nurse in Charge, who then consults remotely with a triage dentist.
    • The triage dentist will then advise if the patient needs to be flown to an urban hub for dental care.
  • Infrastructure will pose a challenge to dental care resuming in communities.
  • Under COVID-19 guidelines, the rooms used for dental care must meet specific physical distancing, disinfection, and ventilation requirements.
    • ISC staff are assessing existing facilities and SLFNHA is advocating for all necessary upgrades to be made so that services can resume.
  • SLFNHA and Meno Ya Win Diabetes programs are currently not travelling to communities.
    • They are providing education via OTN or Zoom.

NAN Child Welfare                                                                                                                                           

  • AFN signed a protocol agreement yesterday with ISC regarding the implementation of Bill C-92. When it was introduced at the AFN level in May, ORC Archibald opposed this agreement. NAN was not provided notice of the development or signing of this protocol agreement.
    • Bill C-92 is an Act that acknowledges First Nation jurisdiction over child welfare and how First Nations will establish this in the communities.
  • The protocol does not outline new rights or powers but outlines the establishment of a national working group and implementation table.
  • A memo was sent out to explain this in further detail, and we will provide more information as it becomes available as to next steps.

NAN Education                                                                                                                                           

  • There are approximately 8 weeks left until schools is tentatively set to reopen.
  • NAN is meeting with various education leaders to go over what communities are planning for September.
  • Two letters have gone to Minister Miller (ISC) and Minister Lecce (Province) this week regarding the education plan and funding for September.
  • The NAN Education Plan will be presented at the NAN Trilateral Table on July 14.

NAN Youth Council                                                                                                                                           

  • The NAN Youth Council has worked very hard to develop a proposal for NAN youth; the formal submission will be presented on July 14 at the NAN Trilateral Table.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Services (NAPS)                                                                                                                                           

  • Major incident calls, including an increased number of domestic violence calls, continue across NAN territory.
  • NAPS continues to advocate for the need for victim support, and support at the community level.
  • NAN is supporting these efforts and will raise the issue further at next week’s Trilateral

Table meeting.

  • NAPS met with the officers’ union to have the memorandum of understanding extended until the end of October.
  • NAPS will begin to have dialogue with Ontario regarding the commencement of funding negotiations.


  • 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:

Note: Grand Chief Fiddler will be taking vacation in the last 2 weeks of July. We will be sending out a memo with further information.

NEXT CALL: Thursday, July 16, 2020 | 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST

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