COVID-19 Daily News Digest – November 4th, 2020
First Nations leaders ask Manitoba Hydro to shut down Keeyask until COVID-19 outbreak is contained
After discovering one confirmed case fo the virus last week, Manitoba Hydro decided to test all 764 workers who were at the site and to temporarily scale back operations at the site in response. As of Nov. 3, 20 workers had tested positive and 11 workers with unclear results from their initial tests are awaiting confirmation of their status by tests at Cadham Provincial Laboratory in Winnipeg. Common areas at the site such as the theatre, gym and lounge have been closed by Manitoba Hydro, which has also stopped bringing in new workers to the site for the time being, apart from those needed to perform critical work. There are currently 59 workers isolating in special dorm rooms at the Keeyask work site.
FNHMA planning virtual town hall meetings
First Nations Health Managers Association CEO Marion Crowe is looking forward to a three-hour virtual celebration for health workers and 2020 Certified First Nations Health Manager graduates featuring Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price, Wiikwemkoong singer Crystal Shawanda, National Chief Perry Bellegarde and others. Submitted photo.
“I hope everyone will join FNHMA on Nov. 4 from 1-4 p.m. EST on ihtoday.ca as we have a huge virtual celebration planned on that day for thanking all of the front-line health workers and essential workers that are keeping our nations safe right now,” says Marion Crowe, CEO at FNHMA. “What better time to say thank you than now for the job they do every day. We have some exciting folks who will be giving messages of inspiration, shout outs of thank you and support and we will have our 2020 graduates of the organization’s (CFNHM) designation as well as a leadership award.”
In Manitoba, an omnibus bill puts systemic racism against Indigenous people in plain view
First Nations, already struggling with inadequate access to health care, are disproportionately at risk as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. And yet somehow, by as soon as the end of this week, the Manitoba government will have rammed through its omnibus Bill 2 – the Budget Implementation and Tax Statutes Amendment Act (BITSA) – and in that bill, and during this pandemic, two buried items threaten to further perpetuate poverty and vulnerability for First Nations people in Manitoba.
I cannot, as Grand Chief, say loudly enough that this is wrong. Hear me now, and hear me clearly: This systemically racist omnibus bill, which steps on the necks of First Nations people as it masquerades as being “good for taxpayers,” cannot be allowed to cruise easily through the Manitoba legislature
COVID-19 cases spike on Manitoba First Nations; chiefs call for prompt action
“Shocking and alarming,” is how Arlen Dumas, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief, describes the situation unfolding on some Manitoba First Nation communities. Global’s Marney Blunt has the story.
More funding needed to address inequalities harming COVID-19 response, AFN chief says
Poitras said the unprecedented funding in the current crisis has shown that First Nations have not been a priority in the past, even though they have been living through chronic health, mental health and addiction epidemics for years.
“First Nations need to be afforded equitable opportunities to make it through the next wave of the pandemic with minimal illness, and loss of lives,” she said.
COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: active cases reach 500
“While we understand the effects of COVID-19 fatigue, we cannot let our guards down,” the Mohawk Council said in a news release.
“The time to take collective action is now in order to prevent a much worse scenario and stricter measures in the future.”
As of Nov. 2, there have been a total of 1,610 cases on-reserve in Canada since the pandemic started. Ten additional hospitalizations were reported since last week bringing the total to 83. The death toll remains at 15. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease has reached 1,095.
Total cases on First Nations reserves per region reported as of Nov. 2:
- British Columbia: 182
- Alberta: 478
- Saskatchewan: 339
- Manitoba: 356
- Ontario: 159
- Quebec: 96