COVID-19 Daily News Digest – December 11, 2020
Curve Lake First Nation receives critical aid kits from Hydro One, GlobalMedic
The kits contain staple food items, resuable face masks and soaps. The initiative was launched in June with 10,000 kits and an additional 3,500 were announced in November.
Curve Lake First Nation will be distributing the kits at their physically-distant Celebration of Sharing event on Dec. 17, where community members can access additional supports including meals for the holidays.
First COVID vaccines expected in northern B.C. in January
The province will receive a first shipment of just under 4,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to two sites in the Lower Mainland next week, with “tens of thousands” to arrive in the coming weeks. Nine sites in all health authorities are expected to be ready to receive vaccine deliveries in the new year.
“We’re hoping to get some vaccine up in to the north to focus on those key people in the coming weeks. If all goes well, maybe before Christmas, but at least the first week of January,” Henry told CBC radio program Daybreak North on Thursday morning.
Rapid-response paramedics sent to Fort St. James, B.C., after 40 test positive for COVID-19
Medical staff have received 33 calls in just six days, when the monthly average is between 50 and 60, Morris added. The community has just one small acute care facility.
Ski resort manager Jana Gainor is one of the 40 cases in Fort St. James, having tested positive in late November. She said the small-town nature of her community has made it difficult to control the spread of the virus.
“We are in each other’s [social] bubble. It’s a lot harder to be separate from people,” Gainor told CBC on Thursday. “We have two grocery stores and that’s it.”
This is the first time the rapid-response team, which was created as part of the province’s pandemic response efforts, has been deployed to a community.
Shamattawa First Nation chief has ‘a little bit of hope’ after request made for more military help
Medics and rangers landed in Shamattawa on Wednesday to conduct an assessment in the community, where Chief Eric Redhead said 25 per cent of the population of 1,300 has tested positive for COVID-19.
Redhead says a request has now been made by the commanding officer to send an additional 60 to 70 members of the Canadian Armed Forces into Shamattawa to help with the First Nation’s COVID-19 response.
“The supports we need are on their way, and so I have a little bit of hope,” Redhead said.
What we know about where Canada’s first COVID-19 vaccines are going
Next week, 30,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are being delivered to 14 “point-of-delivery” sites across the country where prioritized groups will be given the first small batch of shots.
After that, continuous deliveries—up to 249,000 doses—are planned to land in this country by the end of March 2021.
Because the initial number of doses is so few—enough to vaccinate 124,500 people in total given the two shots required—premiers have had to pinpoint specific cohorts to go first.
Family shares agonizing process for Indigenous woman seeking COVID-19 test
“She went from bad to worse overnight,” said Ina Dick. “She went to the hospital on Saturday and all of us were like. ‘They need to test you for COVID.”
At the hospital, the family said, she was given a test, but was told to return home to Ahousaht.
Then, things deteriorated again.
Nivyabandi and Neve: The year of the pandemic laid bare our global human rights crisis. Now let’s fix it
The failure to respect the land and resource rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada once again led to confrontation and violence, notably in Wet’suwet’en Territory at the beginning of the year and the Treaty-protected Mi’kmaq lobster fishery more recently.
Demands for action to address systemic racism against Indigenous, Black and racialized peoples in Canada grew more urgent, particularly with respect to police violence.
Clearly, it is time for leaders to follow the people’s lead. Human rights will see us through these turbulent times, if leaders have the wisdom and foresight to uphold the
Inner-city, Indigenous communities need support through pandemic: Status Report
The 88-page report assembled information from community-based organizations (CBOs) to understand how the pandemic has brought problems to the fore-front in marginalized communities.
December 10 is the UN’s Human Rights Day, and Dr. Shayna Plaut says the issues brought up in the report are human rights issues.
“We need to support the CBOs to build strong bridges between the government systems and structures, and the communities,” Plaut said.
Covid-19: an urgent threat and an opportunity for Indigenous and minority groups in high-income countries
Beyond the devastating direct impacts of the covid-19 pandemic, there is an additional threat to the health of minority and Indigenous peoples. The covid-19 pandemic is stretching health and social systems worldwide, leading to reduced access to care and support for non-covid-19 health concerns. These significant health gaps will increase morbidity and mortality unrelated to covid-19 infections. Covid-19 health gaps will have a greater impact on Indigenous and minority peoples in high-income countries because they already experience reduced access to healthcare and poorer health outcomes because of systemic racism. The pandemic has added the cumulative burdens of unemployment, reduced connectivity and housing, and food insecurity.
B.C. health authorities acknowledge racism and discrimination
“I see some pluses coming in and that’s where I stand right now,” he explained. “But it was very frustrating the way that the communication with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) was at the beginning of the pandemic.”
He remains optimistic that the FNHA and the B.C. Assembly of First Nations (AFN) will continue to provide strong updates to all Indigenous people.
“We are people. We have people in our communities that we have concerns about,” explained Nicholas, adding that he hopes vaccinations will be distributed on reserves when safe to do so. “We are human. We should get acknowledgement on the community vaccination programs.
COVID-19, system barriers challenging Indigenous women who own businesses: Study
Most female Indigenous business owners are sole-proprietors with the percentage having employees climbing to 42 per cent in 2019, up from 23 per cent in 2010.
But it isn’t all good news. The study — based on phone interviews with more than 3,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Metis business owners in 2010, 2015 and 2019 — warns the pandemic has exacerbated the barriers Indigenous women in entrepreneurship encounter.
“Indigenous women entrepreneurs continue to face systemic disadvantages such as access to services, financing, information, and basic infrastructure — and we know that many of these barriers are felt more heavily amid a global pandemic,” said Wendy Cukier, a research lead at the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, in a release.
Need for ‘Indigenization of emergency services’ highlighted by COVID-19 scare in remote community
“We learned a lot in the time and experience, and I credit a lot of those teachings that came from the N’amgis experience, because they had their outbreak just before we did,” Tiy’ap thote says.
“A lot of Indigenous communities are sharing their experiences right now, and I think that’s really helping set up a number of communities to understand the process we have to work within.”
“It’s really difficult for a lot of those nations who don’t have the capacity, or haven’t taken any of the training, to jump right into this system and be expected to know it and understand it, when they’re actually in an emergency.”
First Nation, Metis leaders say Alberta restrictions to fight COVID-19 didn’t come soon enough
First Nation and Metis leaders in Alberta say the province’s new, and tougher, restrictions on gatherings because of the COVID-19 pandemic are coming too late.
“Personally, I thought that these restrictions should have went down awhile back, so that we can bend the curve,” said Marilyn Poitras, regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations in Alberta.
“So, people can spend Christmas with their families. It’s a really critical time and mental health issues are on the rise. And it will be even more so when people can’t get together for Christmas.”
How Canada’s first Indigenous coast guard program is already saving lives
Members have been provided with courses like advanced marine first aid, swiftwater rescue and COVID-19 protocols for frontline workers. Members are also taught well-established search and rescue techniques and protocols. Girouard said the volunteers are also teaching his staff.
“My team is learning as much from these Indigenous mariners as they are from us. It’s growing this really lovely community, where you know how to read a current or you know what the birds are telling you about the weather.”
FSIN ‘disappointed’ in federal government’s decision to trust province with vaccine rollout
We’re disappointed with the federal government’s handling of the vaccine rollout. For them, trusting the province to administer the vaccine — that’s something we’re not obviously happy with,” he said.
“We believe that the Crown and the federal government in lieu of the Crown has a treaty obligation to provide support to First Nations during times of famine and pestilence.”
“We already (did) it before. We did the H1N1. Those vaccines were distributed through Health Canada directly to the First Nations. We administered them (and) we had no difficulties,” he said.
“We’d like those vaccines to flow directly to our communities.”