COVID-19 Daily News Digest – November 13, 2020
Programs rooted in heritage helping Indigenous men succeed
“A lot of Indigenous people, throughout their life, deal with issues around homelessness. It’s not across the board, but it does affect a disproportionate number of Indigenous people across Canada,” says Steve Teekens, executive director of Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence).
Na-Me-Res has been offering emergency shelter to Indigenous men experiencing homelessness or addiction since 1985. Over the course of 35 years, they’ve added transitional housing to their services and launched several programs rooted in Indigenous heritage to help men in the vulnerable community get back on their feet through reconnecting with their culture.
11th Coquitlam district high school flagged for COVID-19
With the latest exposure, 11 of School District 43’s 12 high school program’s have reported at least one exposure event. Only the district’s 80-student Inquiry Hub secondary program has not been touched by the virus that causes COVID-19.
According to Fraser Health, a school “exposure” indicates a single person with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection attended school during their infectious period.
Report predicts increased youth mental health struggles related to COVID-19
The report also finds that some children and youth may be disproportionately affected, including those with neuro-diverse needs, pre-existing mental health conditions, youth in foster care and those affected by adversities such as socioeconomic disadvantage and racism. It finds, as well, that COVID-19 may particularly affect Indigenous peoples, who disproportionately experience harms related to colonialism such as unsafe housing, lack of access to clean water and extreme food insecurity – conditions that the report recognizes as putting children’s mental health at risk.
COVID-19 claims lives of 4 First Nations people in Manitoba
It’s not clear which communities they were from.
The federal government has announced what they’re calling “surge capacity funding” for First Nations in the amount of $61 million, $38 million will go towards public health funds to assist all communities in their pandemic plans and $3 million will be allocated for direct help in personal care homes, including funding for additional staff and greater infection control prevention measures.
Mi’kmaw schools get smudge kits to help ease COVID-19 stress
“It is important that we just give them a little reminder that they’re important to us and we appreciate them,” said MK wellness consultant Rebecca Scirocco.
The packages included small personal items, such as a notebook, bath bombs and tea, and are a recognition of the importance of self-care in coping with stress.
“Since COVID, our teachers are very overworked,” said Scirocco. “They’re having to teach in new ways. They can’t interact with many of their peers. They’re basically with their students throughout the entire day.”
Tadoule Lake on lockdown after confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community
A Facebook posting on behalf of Yassie and Sayisi Dene First Nation council said no one in Tadoule Lake should be associating with anyone from outside their home and that $1,000 fines would automatically be deducted from employees’ salaries or from First Nation members’ social assistance if they do not follow lockdown protocol. Employees of the First Nation who do not follow lockdown rules after being verbally advised to do so could be put on probation and then terminated.
Cuthand: First Nations communities concerned about second wave of pandemic
The threat of a second wave has been an item of considerable concern in Indian country. While we have locked down our communities and there are security checkpoints on roads leading onto our communities, we still are experiencing a spill over into First Nations communities.
Our people are vulnerable because of our living conditions, including crowded housing, lack of clean water in some communities and pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease and lung infections.
Neskantaga First Nation reports first coronavirus case amid tainted water crisis
In a tweet, Neskantaga Chief Chris Moonias said that he was recently informed of a positive case of COVID-19 involving a contractor working in the community.“We are investigating how this was possible given our protocols.”
A full lockdown of Neskantaga First Nation will now be going forward, with passenger flights grounded until an investigation is conducted.
Manitoba First Nations lock down, seek help as COVID-19 threatens communities
In Manitoba, however, the statistics in Indigenous communities are moving in the opposite direction, which is “disturbing,” Wong said. He pointed to the province’s overall provincial infection rate, which is currently the highest per capita in Canada.
As of Nov. 12, Manitoba had 606 cases on First Nations reserves, compared to 187 in British Columbia, 168 in Ontario and 117 in Quebec. Alberta had 665, according to Indigenous Services Canada.