Government of Canada COVID-19 Update for Indigenous Peoples and communities

OTTAWA, TRADITIONAL UNCEDED ALGONQUIN TERRITORY, ON, Nov. 27, 2020 – The week of November 15-21 continued to see an alarming increase in the number of newly reported cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities related to the second wave of the pandemic, with 270 new cases reported as of November 23.

As of November 26, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is aware of these confirmed cases of COVID-19 for provincial First Nations communities on reserve:

  • 3524 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19
  • 1392 active cases
  • 2102 recovered cases
  • 30 deaths

There are a total of 31 confirmed positive cases in Nunavik, Quebec, and all but 3 have recovered.

Collaborative action among Indigenous partners, including provincial and territorial governments, is critical to comprehensively responding to current outbreaks of COVID-19. A number of Nunavut communities are experiencing outbreaks, including Arviat, Whale Cove, and Rankin Inlet. The Government of Nunavut is now reporting a total of 155 cases, as of November 26.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Nunavut, the Government of Canada announced that it is allocating $19.36 million in immediate funding to support the Government of Nunavut, Inuit communities and Inuit organizations in their response to the pandemic. The funding will flow to the Government of Nunavut, Kivallliq Inuit Association through Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), and other partners to support immediate needs and protection measures to help limit further spread in the region to meet changing needs. This funding will also support the emergency response and preparedness plans in place in Nunavut.

ISC is also paying close attention to the current outbreaks in the prairie provinces. ISC has been in close communication with community leadership in the provinces to support their efforts to respond to the course of the virus and to address increasingly acute needs.

As announced on November 20, 2020, we are allocating $120.3 million in immediate funding to support Indigenous communities and organizations in Alberta and Saskatchewan in their response to the recent spike in cases. This investment will support the various priorities identified by leadership and communities, including support for vulnerable populations, support for long-term care homes, deploying additional staff in communities with outbreaks, strengthening mental health services and additional isolation and screening spaces where needed.

Earlier this month, we also announced $61.4 million in immediate funding to support First Nations in Manitoba and their response as needed to the pandemic. This funding supports public health measures such as personal protective equipment for essential workers in community, additional primary care staff such as nurses, paramedics and community workers, and food security to support physical isolation.

The Government of Canada recognizes and thanks the frontline workers who put their own safety on the line every day to make sure families, youth, and especially Elders are kept safe. Without their dedication and hard work, the number of people who tested positive for the virus would have been even greater.

We also recognize the uncertainty that the COVID-19 brings to youth that would normally age out of care during this time. To make sure that they get the support they need, will continue to cover the eligible costs of First Nations child and family services agencies providing services to youth who would normally be aging out of care during this time , and do so as long as the pandemic lasts.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, the risk of spread increases. We urge all community members to support their leadership and follow public health measures that have proven to save lives. Everyone can help limit the spread by making wise decisions and following recommended public health measures.

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