COVID-19 Daily News Digest – January 2nd, 2021
11 active cases of COVID-19 reported in eastern Quebec first nation
MONTREAL — The government of the Listuguj First Nation, in eastern Quebec, says there are now 11 active cases of COVID-19 in the community.
The Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government reported three active cases on Wednesday.
Before the current outbreak, two cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Listuguj — both of whom have since recovered.
The government said in a press release that the people who have tested positive in the past few days were in close contact with an individual who travelled to Listuguj from another part of the province and didn’t self-isolate.
IN PICTURES: Winnipeg’s new COVID-19 vaccination super site
According to the province’s most recent update, about 2,900 first-dose appointments have been made and approximately 3,200 remain available.
The vaccine is still only eligible to certain health-care workers in direct contact with patients.
AFN heats up as national chief role opens up: Time for change at Assembly of First Nations
An organization that has long-resisted change now must do so. A growing and changing world, a burgeoning young population of educated Indigenous activists, and movements such as Idle No More, #MeToo, and Black Lives Matter demand it.
National Chief Perry Bellegarde announced last month he will not run for re-election in July.
Bellegarde said he will spend his remaining months in office helping shepherd in the federal Liberals’ long-promised Bill C-15, that will bring Canada’s laws in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
After that, a new leader will be elected by 634 First Nations chiefs and, for the first time — due to COVID-19 restrictions — the vote will be held virtually.
Why a cross-country ski program is a ‘northern light’ for Sask. First Nation
Lessard can hardly contain his excitement in talking about the community’s partnership with Spirit North, a non-profit organization started by Olympian Beckie Scott, a gold medallist in cross-country skiing. It works with Indigenous communities to promote sports programming like cross-country skiing and canoeing.
“I just thought it’d be the perfect fit with Montreal Lake Cree Nation,” Lessard said.
“The youth are hungry for programming and to learn different things.”
“Mental health and wellness is a significant, significant gap. So we need to give kids opportunities to do different things,” Lessard said.
“It’s going to be something that’s going to change our trajectory. I know that.”
We all had to take a hard look inside this year. Hopefully, it will result in a burst of creativity
For a little over a year I have been co-writing a series called Shallow Water. This spark of inspiration came into full force just as the world became aware of Covid-19. I’ve been chasing my dreams to become a filmmaker since I was nine. With limited Indigenous screen funding, and a worldwide halt on filmmaking, I’ve been looking back on the year, and its impact on Indigenous and non-Indigenous creatives as a whole.
We had to adjust to a new way of life. There are so many hardships people have faced in the past year, regarding health, security, mental health, politics and countless other factors. Something that did not cross my mind, until I came face-to-face with it, was the impact Covid would have on the creative community. Having a creative outlet is a coping mechanism for many when it comes to managing your mental health. In the early months, I disappeared into the internet, trying to numb the sense of stillness and ignoring the truth of how our world had changed. As each Groundhog Day came and went, I could feel myself slipping back into unhealthy mindsets, and an unmotivated, uncreative state.
Alaska educators among those next in line who are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine
On New Year’s Eve, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced in a press release that the state will receive another 52,900 doses of COVID-19 vaccines sometime this month. The doses will be distributed to people across Alaska who are currently listed in phase 1b, which includes Alaska’s teachers, frontline workers, public safety workers and senior citizens.
“Even with our members being vaccinated, our students and families may not be,” Anchorage Education Association President Corey Aist said. “We’re still going to need to practice all the mitigation protocols that are in place, and we still need to support those students and families who choose to stay in their online learning environments.”
Aist says AEA has around 3,100 members who will be eligible for the vaccination when it becomes available. He says the good news is that the vaccine is coming. The bad news is it is not known when yet, and that makes things a little dicey as the Anchorage School District prepares for in-person learning to begin on Jan. 19.
New year renews concerns for hospitals grappling with COVID-19, experts warn
Hospitals in the greater Montreal area are on track to exceed capacity within the next three weeks, with almost two-thirds of beds designated for coronavirus patients already occupied, according to a report from INESSS, a government-funded health institute.
“Unfortunately, if the trend continues, this will have to be compensated in particular by the additional shedding of non-COVID treatments in our hospitals,” Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said Thursday in a Twitter post in French.
“The good news behind all of this is the vaccinations coming on,” Boileau said. “The impact of this will be manifest on the outbreaks inside health services and of course lowering mortality.”
Nearly 500,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which requires ultracold storage, have been distributed across the Canada since Health Canada approved it on Dec. 9.
The Moderna vaccine — green-lighted on Dec. 23 — has also started to roll off tarmacs, beginning to reach remote and First Nations communities over the past week. Its -20 C storage temperatures make for easier delivery compared to the -70 C needed for the Pfizer vaccine.