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NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- October 15, 2020

NAN COVID-19 Bulletin- October 15, 2020

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) COVID-19 Update                                                                                                                                           

Thunder Bay District Health UnitTotal Number: 109
Active Cases: 0 (Last case reported on October 10)
Recovered: 108
Deceased: 1
Porcupine Health UnitNumber of cases: 8
Active Cases: 3 (last case reported on October 14)
Recovered: 77
Deceased: 9
Northwestern Health UnitTotal Number: 71 ( 69 positive test results, 2 probable cases)
Active: 3 (last new case reported on October 14 in the Rainy River region)
Recovered: 68
Deaths: 0
Public Health Sudbury & DistrictsTotal Number: 111
Active: 2 (last case reported on October 13)
Recovered: 107
Deaths: 2
Timiskaming Health UnitTotal Number: 17 (no change since last week)
Active: 0
Recovered: 17
Deaths: 0

NAN Grand Chief Update                                                              

  • A moment of silence was observed to honour the life of Jennifer Landry, a member of Matachewan First Nation. Jennifer was a constable with the Ontario Provincial Police and former officer with the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS). We are thankful for her years of service with NAPS, keeping our families and our communities safe. Her family and the Matachewan community are in our thoughts and our prayers.
  • Condolences were offered to the family and leadership of Wunnumin Lake First Nation after the tragic loss of two young men in Thunder Bay over the weekend. This is a painful reminder of the importance of the work NAN is doing on many fronts, such as mental health and addictions.
  • Grand Chief also acknowledged our Mi’kmaq brothers and sisters on the East Coast who are facing racist attacks while exercising their inherent and Treaty right to fish and provide for their families. The lack of action by the RCMP to ensure their safety and wellbeing is very

discouraging. We are monitoring this situation and stand in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq. We are hopeful for peaceful resolution soon.

Public Health Update from Grand Chief Fiddler

  • Grand Chief received his flu shot and reminded everyone that protecting your health is especially important this year. A video will be posted on NAN’s social media platforms Friday.
  • We continue to advocate for an additional 50 public health nurses to be provided to NAN First Nations to increase capacity at the community level.
  • Grand Chief will participate on a call with federal Ministers regarding systemic racism in the Canadian health care system on Friday.
    • We are hopeful that there is a commitment to meaningful action, and will continue to advocate for Health Transformation across NAN territory.

NAN Chiefs Fall Assembly

  • REMINDER: NAN Chiefs Virtual Fall Assembly – October 20 & 21.
  • Chiefs are urged to register as soon as possible as it is only a few days away!
  • As of October 15, there are 34 Chiefs and 2 proxies registered.
  • To register online for the assembly please visit http://www.123formbuilder.com/form- 5648522/nan-chiefs-virtual-fall-assembly
  • The Chiefs Kit and Annual Report have been sent to leadership for review.

NAN COVID-19 Task Team 

  • First Nations in Manitoba are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
    • As of October 9, 2020, there were 143 active cases among First Nations people.
    • Nine different communities have reported COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
    • Largest outbreak is in Little Grand Rapids First Nation, where 38 members have tested positive.
    • Vulnerable community members with COVID-19 are being evacuated to Winnipeg to be closer to medical services. BlueMed tents and emergency workers with the Red Cross have been dispatched to the community.
  • These cases show how much a threat COVID-19 remains to First Nations and highlights the importance of remaining vigilant during this pandemic.
  • The NAN Task Team recommends caution for non-essential travel in order to keep health risks low for people who need to travel for medical appointments.

Medical Travel

  • The NAN Task Team continues to determine how NAN community members can safely access medical care during this pandemic.
  • The NAN Critical Preparedness Readiness & Response Actions are being revised to include more specific guidance on medical travel and updated information about rapid testing. This will be shared with leadership when the amendments are finalized.
  • SLFNHA has provided its communities with public health guidance on Safe Pathways to and from communities for care.

o   SLFNHA currently considers both Kenora and Winnipeg to be high-risk areas and recommends community members returning from these locations to be tested, self-isolate for a full 14 days and be tested again 7-10 days after they return to their community.

Update on Rapid Testing

  • Rapid testing technologies currently approved by Health Canada for use outside of a certified laboratory are the GeneXpert, the ID NOW, and the PanBio.
    • Except for the GeneXpert, these tests have only recently been approved and are not widely available yet.
    • The National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) has been running a program to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to northern, remote, and isolated communities.
      • NML started by offering the GeneXpert. They are also planning to offer the ID NOW instrument to communities within the coming weeks. The PanBio uses a different testing method than the others, and it is unknown when it will be widely available in Canada.

·       If your community is interested in receiving a rapid testing instrument, please reach out to your local health authority or emergency@nan.ca to be connected with the NML.

  • NAN continues to advocate at both levels of government to ensure that rapid testing is available to any community who wishes to employ it.

Flu Shots

  • Supplies of the annual flu vaccine are now available. The Task Team recommends that everyone get their flu shot.
  • Getting the flu shot will make it less likely that you will need to use health care resources that are needed to respond to COVID-19.
  • Even if you believe you will not get sick from the flu, getting the vaccine may help prevent you from passing the flu on to vulnerable people in your community.
  • Check with your nursing station, health centre or health clinic to see if the flu shot is available in your community.
  • Demand is high for the flu shot this year. It is recommended that you call ahead or check online to see if your local drugstore has the vaccine in stock before you go.

NAN Hope

  • NAN Hope offers:
    • 24/7 toll-free rapid access to confidential crisis services.
    • Rapid access to clinical and mental health counselling.
    • Navigators who provide connection to existing mental health and addictions support services in home communities and the region.
  • This service is for all NAN members from youth to Elders, living on or off-reserve.

·       Please continue to share NAN Hope with anyone who might need help.

  • There are language speakers available through this program.

o   NAN Hope can be accessed through 1-844-NAN-HOPE (1-844-626-4673) and www.nanhope.ca

Hand Sanitizer Alert

  • This week, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit issued a Public Health Alert warning that some hand sanitizer products in Thunder Bay may be contaminated with methanol. Anyone who consumes these products are at risk of methanol poisoning.
    • The Task Team is trying to determine the specific brands or manufacturers.
  • Symptoms of methanol poisoning include confusion, drowsiness, seizure, trouble breathing, fast heart rate, nausea and/or vomiting, and can lead to organ damage, blindness & death.
  • Call 911 or seek immediate medical care if you, or someone you know, is showing symptoms of methanol poisoning.

Update on Justice 

  • A landmark decision was delivered in the Ontario Court of Justice in Kenora on the R v. Turtle case by Justice David M. Gibson on October 2, 2020.
    • Six people from Pikangikum were charged with drinking and driving, and the case was based on them being unable to serve their intermittent sentences.
      • Justice Gibson ruled that Section 255 of the Criminal Code violated Section 15 of the Charter.
      • The people of Pikangikum were not being treated as equals to those in urban centers.
      • It was a major decision for the people of Pikangikum and across NAN.
      • The case has revealed violations of the Charter, and how the government has failed to honour the Treaty.
  • Northern courts are still not open and are classified as Stage 3.
    • It has yet to be determined when courts will re-open in drive-in communities.
      • Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services has been asked to connect with leadership on these matters. The decisions of leadership will be honoured.
  • Justice Jana-Rae Dewson has been appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice and will be assigned to Sioux Lookout. There is potential for satellite courts to be utilized in the region.
  • There are concerns around institutional barriers to the release of those in custody. The government must focus on proper releases in addition to upgrades to jails.
  • NAN Legal continues to provide services remotely. A list of services is available at www.nanlegal.on.ca.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Services (NAPS) 

  • Each region is operating under COVID-19 protocols and NAPS has acquired a lot of PPE.
  • In-person meetings are permitted while following provincial guidelines.
  • There have been 24 incidents reported in the last week, several of which have been major occurrences.
  • There have been more NAPS employees getting tested for COVID-19 now that cold and flu season has arrive to ensure the safety of all.
  • There is a lack of resources for responding to cases involving mental health issues.
    • NAN will continue its advocacy in this regard recognizing the importance of these supports.

Communications 

  • Members of the NAN Executive Council will continue to provide updates 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.
  • Please send all new and updated community memos, statements, By-Laws, BCR’s and relevant community restriction information to emergency@nan.ca so that NAN and applicable partners can remain aware and respectful of your communities wishes.

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 provide assistance.
  • Please visit www.nancovid19.ca. It is updated daily with the most current information.

NEXT CALL: Thursday, October 29, 2020 | 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST

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