Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) COVID-19 Update
|Thunder Bay District Health Unit||Total Number: 117|
Active Cases: 0 (Last case reported on October 30)
|Porcupine Health Unit||Number of cases: 99|
Active Cases: 4 (last case reported on November 1 in the Hearst area with an outbreak declared at the PHU’s Hearst Office)
|Northwestern Health Unit||Total Number: 79 ( 77 positive test results, 2 probable cases)|
Active: 3 (2 new cases reported November 4 in the Sioux Lookout area; SLFNHA released a memo about these cases)
|Public Health Sudbury & Districts||Total Number: 133|
Active: 9 (3 new cases reported November 4)
|Timiskaming Health Unit||Total Number: 17 (no change since Octover 5; the 3 cases at the mine have a primary residence outside of the area and will be reported as part of their home unit as per provincial policy)|
NAN Grand Chief Update
- We were heartbroken to learn of the loss of Sandy Lake Elder Noah Anishinabie who passed away on November 2 from COVID-19 in Winnipeg. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the entire community.
- Rates of COVID-19 infection are still relatively low in the north but are increasing significantly in the south and to the west. NAN is working to ensure that our communities are aware of what’s happening in NAN territory and the areas around us.
- Most NAN First Nations have enacted travel restrictions, but members are still encouraged to travel for medical appointments. Safe pathways for travelling can protect members from exposure to the coronavirus.
- NAN continues to support Neskantaga and the evacuees in Thunder Bay. Chief Chris Moonias and Council are working to fix the community water system so they can begin the repatriation of their members as soon as possible. The evacuation has been very stressful, especially for youth. Very moving video clips by community members have been posted to social media.
- The deadline for the second phase of the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) has been extended until November 30, 2020. NAN has provided the funding template to leadership.
- Remembrance Day (November 11) is a very important day to recognize, but public gatherings are not encouraged this year due to public health concerns. NAN encourages people to wear poppies and find creative ways to honour our fallen warriors and those who have fought in war for the things we enjoy today.
- Leadership and local pandemic teams are working tirelessly, but there are times we all need to stop and rest. Leaders are encouraged to care for their own physical and mental health as they look after their communities. Miigwetch to everyone for your ongoing work.
- Moving forward, NAN’s Chiefs conference calls will be scheduled twice per month (instead of weekly) unless there is a spike in COVID-19 cases. Emergency conference calls will be convened if required.
Update on Neskantaga First Nation – Chief Chris Moonias
- Neskantaga is on Day 18 of their boil water advisory, and Day 17 of their evacuation.
- 259 evacuees are staying at the Victoria Inn and Marriott Hotel in Thunder Bay. 23 members remain in the community to care for infrastructure and housing etc.
- Community members are returning in shifts to relieve those who have stayed behind.
- The Independent First Nations Alliance Emergency Team, Rubicon, and the Canadian Rangers are providing support on the ground.
- People in the community are facing challenges with hygiene due to the lack of water.
- Technical issues are causing delays with the repatriation date. The community has now been told they can return on November 28.
- Community members who evacuated are tired, discouraged, and want to return.
- Chief Chris Moonias acknowledged donations and support from other communities. He asks for continued support and collaboration by leaders to help end water issues in NAN territory.
NAN COVID-19 Task Team – Mae Katt
- There are currently no active confirmed cases in
- One external person,
who travelled to Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and Wapekeka First Nation to do work on October 23,
tested positive for COVID-19 on October 31.
- Communities responded quickly and SLFNHA is doing contact tracing and follow-up; so far, all test results from contact tracing have been negative.
- Timiskaming Health Unit has declared an outbreak
at the Young-Davidson Mine, near Matachewan,
- 3 positive cases so far, all of whom primarily reside outside of the Timiskaming Health Unit area.
- Task Team is monitoring and will help make sure that people in the area are aware.
- SLFNHA has been informed that 3 COVID-19 cases
have been confirmed in one household
in Sioux Lookout.
- According to SLFNHA, there is no connection to NAN communities in terms of contact.
- One external person, who travelled to Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and Wapekeka First Nation to do work on October 23, tested positive for COVID-19 on October 31.
- The COVID-19 situation in Manitoba is very concerning as new cases spiked again on November 4; hospitalizations are rising.
- The situation poses risks to NAN community members, especially those
in the northwest or with family ties to communities in Manitoba.
- SLFNHA recommends that people avoid non-essential travel to Manitoba, especially to Winnipeg.
- As of November 4, there are 741 active cases among First Nations people in Manitoba, at least 378 of which are on-reserve; there have been 7 deaths.
New Guidance on Medical Masks
- On November 4, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, released new guidance on non-medical masks. She recommends that people wear three-layer masks that include two layers of tightly woven fabric, with a filter-type layer in between.
- Dr. Tam stated that people should not throw out masks or face coverings they already have, but should consider using three-layer masks instead.
- Instructions for three-layer masks are available at Canada’s Public Health website: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus- infection/prevention-risks/sew-no-sew-instructions-non-medical-masks-face- coverings.html
- Area Health Units have released guidelines on
the safest ways to sell poppies or attend memorial events during the pandemic:
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit: https://www.tbdhu.com/remembrance
- The NAN Task Team recommends gathering virtually. If you attend events in person, follow public health measures including physical distancing, and wearing face coverings indoors and outdoors.
New Provincial Framework
- On November 3, the Government of Ontario released COVID-19 response Framework to Help Keep the Province Safe and Open.
- There are five classes in this framework,
ranging from Prevent (green) to Lockdown (grey).
- Ontario plans to transition most Public Health Units to this framework by November 7.
- The NAN Task Team will review the framework at their November 10 meeting to determine if it applies to NAN communities.
Other Task Team Updates
- At the last Task Team meeting it was determined that further revisions were necessary to the NAN Critical Preparedness Readiness and Response Actions for COVID-19 Transmission Scenarios. It will be addressed at the November 10 Task Team meeting.
- The Task Team continues to work with the
National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) to facilitate meetings with communities
interested in receiving a rapid testing instrument.
- Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to be connected to the NML.
- The Task Team and NAN continues to work with the province and other partners to implement rapid testing. Progress has been slow, and interim measures are being explored.
- So far, NAN Hope has connected nearly 100
clients to care.
- You can access NAN Hope at any time through the website and get help right away.
- 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.
· NAN Hope can be accessed through 1-844-NAN-HOPE (1-844-626-4673) and www.nanhope.ca
- Call 911 or seek immediate medical care if you, or someone you know, is showing symptoms of methanol poisoning.
Nishnawbe Aski Police Services (NAPS) – Chief Roland Morrison
- NAPS responded to 8 major occurrences this week,
including several domestic occurrences.
- Domestic occurrences continue to be prevalent.
- Chief Roland Morrison is encouraged that the Survivors Assistance Program will be up and running soon to assist victims.
- Work is underway on the NAPS radio project.
Currently, Peawanuck been switched to the OPP Communications Centre. Fort
Severn, Deer Lake, Webequie First Nation, Fort Hope and Kingfisher will be
switched to the Thunder Bay OPP Communications Centre in a few days.
- Due to COVID-19, some work around the radio project was not completed. NAPS is speaking with the Public Safety Canada representatives to request a funding amendment to ensure the project can be completed in 2020 or 2021.
- The Central Region is experiencing personnel issues. 18 officers are on leave and 3 have resigned. NAPS is doing everything they can to ensure that communities in this region have the appropriate coverage by officers.
- As the holiday season approaches, NAPS officers will begin to work on a rotation of 7 days on and 7 days off. NAPS will work with the NAN Task Team to source rapid testing for officers prior to entering communities.
- Kashechewan has declared a State of Emergency due to drugs in the community. Purple heroin and purple fentanyl are suspected. NAPS is mobilizing Drug Unit Officers to confirm if these drugs are in the community and identify the source.
- OATC Northern Zone meets every 2 weeks and is looking into the situation. It includes representatives from North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, and Indigenous police services in the northeast.
- NAPS detectives will follow up with Chief Gauthier and the Timmins Police to see if these types of drugs are on the street in Timmins.
- The NAPS Board Meeting will be held November 19 and present its Annual Report. It will then be sent to the 34 communities policed by NAPS.
- Domestic occurrences continue to be prevalent.
- 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 communities spread awareness and public health messaging. They are posted on the NAN website under ‘COVID-19 Tools and Resources’.
- Please send all new and updated community memos, statements, By-Laws, BCRs and relevant community travel restriction information to email@example.com so NAN and others can remain aware and respectful of your communities wishes.
- NAN has posted specific information on the NAN
website for members living off-reserve in urban centres across northwestern and
- 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, November 19, 2020 | 1p.m. EST | 12p.m. CST