Info on COVID-19

COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION FOR FIRST NATIONS IN ALBERTA



If you are experiencing any symptoms of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) virus, self-isolate and contact Alberta Health Services at 811 immediately. If it is an emergency, call 911 and let operators know you may have the virus.


Government officials are updating the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Alberta Association about the national response on First Nations communities to the COVID-19 outbreak. Updates are being shared regularly with all Chiefs in the Alberta region and are summarized below.

Alberta Health Services remains the best source of information for the latest information on the coronavirus outbreak in the province, and what you can do to prevent the spread of the virus. Please visit their COVID-19 webpage for up-to-date information about the virus: Click Here for Covid-19 Info

Click on the following boxes for information on:

This webpage should be used for information purposes only. It should not be considered medical advice or scientific data. We are sharing facts and information we have received about how to prevent the spread of the virus, as well as specific initiatives being done at the national level to make sure First Nations can respond to an outbreak in their communities.


HOW TO RESPOND TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Communities

First Nations are encouraged to follow provincial and territorial health guidelines in responding to the virus (See: Coronavirus Info For Albertans). Resources and support are available for First Nations to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic through Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). They released a community guide to support communities with their pandemic plans and accessing financial aid.

Communities are asked to update their pandemic plans, and identify any resource gaps or needs to ISC/FNIHB as soon as possible. Pandemic plan templates have been sent to all First Nations in the region, and staff at FNIHB are available to support any community with updating their plans. (More information on funding can be found in the RESOURCES AND FUNDING FOR FIRST NATIONS section of this page).

Regional Health Emergency Management Coordinators are the liaison with headquarters, national Indigenous partners, Regional Medical Officers, First Nations leaders and Provincial Health departments.

Alberta Regional Health Emergency Management Coordinator
Jeff Kresowaty
Manager, Health Emergency Management
First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB)
E: jeff.kresowaty@canada.ca
P: (780) 495-7809

Recommendations for Community Health Centres

ISC Alberta region released a document with recommendations for how best to continue operating essential health centre services in communities, while preventing the transmission of COVID-19. They hope that these recommendations will support decision-making as centres work through their continuity plans and identify essential and non-essential services.

Weekly Virtual Town Hall with First Nations Health Managers Association

The First Nations Health Managers Association is hosting weekly virtual town halls on Thursdays to discuss how COVID-19 is impacting health managers, frontline workers, and communities. Click here to visit Indigneous Health Today where you can find videos of previous town halls, as well as COVID-19 bulletins.

COVID-19 Health Information for Indigenous Communities

For more information on community health guidelines and recommendations please contact:
Dr. Wadieh Yacoub
FNIHB Regional Medical Officers for Alberta
Wadieh.yacoub@canada.ca

Individuals

Alberta Health Services continues to be the best source of information about the coronavirus outbreak in the province. Updates are provided daily at 3:30pm by the Chief Medical Officer: Click Here for AHS Daily Updates

According to Alberta Chief Medical Officer – current risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in Alberta is low but there is growing evidence that the virus is being spread within the community. The best prevention against an infection is good hygiene and avoiding contact with people. Individuals should take the following measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

  • Avoid contact with people as much as possible. Practice social distancing and self-isolation. As of March 25, Albertans are legally required to self-isolate in certain circumstances, including if they are returning from international travel or feeling sick.
    • Click here for Alberta Health guidelines on self-isolation, including who is legally required to self-isolate.*
    • Click here for Alberta Health Guidelines on physical distancing.*
  • Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms or concerned they may have the virus should take the self-assessment test on the Alberta Health website: Self-Assessment Test. Call Health Link 811 to schedule testing if necessary.
  • Anyone feeling ill (including those with mild cold or flu symptoms) is asked to stay home. *If anyone needs immediate medical attention, they are to call 911 and inform them you may have COVID-19*
  • Practicing good personal hygiene, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces (cellphones, door knobs, etc.) frequent and longer handwashing, covering your cough with your elbow, and refraining from shaking hands or hugging are the best ways to prevent the spread of infection.
Recommendations for Visiting or Returning to Your First Nation Community

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) published a guide and self-screening tool for people visiting or returning to their communities during the COVID-19 . Please refer to this guide before visiting or returning to your community to prevent the virus from entering your community.

How to Practice Physical Distancing
Self-Isolation in Indigenous Communities
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FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND INCOME ASSISTANCE

First Nations people are eligible for financial support offered to Canadians and Alberta including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which offers up to $2,000 a month to those who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 and can’t receive Employment Insurance or other benefits. Service Canada has a dedicated toll-free phone line for First Nations members needing help with their CERB applications. Call 1-877-631-2657.

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) published the information sheet above with details on how First Nations financial support during the COVID-19 break. This provides information on:

  • Support for individuals and families.
  • Support for people facing unemployment, who are sick, quarantined, impacted by self-isolation or unable to work.
  • Support for seniors.
  • Support for students and recent graduates.
  • Support for Indigneous communities and people who are vulnerable.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide $2,000 a month for four months to those who lost their job because of COVID-19 and aren’t eligible for Employment Insurance, or other benefits. People can expect their initial payment within 3-10 days of applying. Applications are now available online (see link below) or by phone. Service Canada has a dedicated toll-free phone line for First Nations members needing help with their CERB applications. Call 1-877-631-2657.

There are specific days in the week to apply for CERB based on birth month. If you are:

  • Born January to March -- Apply on Mondays (Starting April 6)
  • Born April to June -- Apply on Tuesdays (Starting April 7)
  • Born July to September -- Apply on Wednesday (Starting April 8)
  • Born October to December -- Apply on Thursdays (Starting April 9)
  • Born any month -- Apply on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays

Highlights about eligibility and reporting for CERB:

  • Payments will be retroactive to March 15.
  • Self-employed and contract workers who aren’t eligible for EI can apply.
  • Those who are sick, in quarantine, or looking after someone who is sick and don’t receive paid leave or aren’t eligible for EI are eligible.
  • Those who still have a job but are not getting paid can apply.
  • People who have already applied for EI do not need to apply for CERB.
  • People who are receiving income through the government’s wage subsidy do not need to apply.
  • The CERB will be taxable, with tax collected at the source./li>
  • People will need to report every month that they remain without a job for the duration of the benefit.
How Indigenous People Can Access Services and New Benefits
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CORONAVIRUS FACTS

AFN Fact Sheets

Click here for more facts from the AFN about COVID-19

Public Health Fact Sheets & Indigenous Language Announcements

The Public Health Agency of Canada has made notices like the ones below available for download here:

Additional public health resources can be found by clicking on the following links:

Indigenous Language Announcements

Click Here for public service announcements about COVID-19 in Blackfoot, Cree, and other languages.

To download these and other resources about how to prepare for self-isolation, advisories for travellers, and more please visit: Awareness Resources

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RESOURCES AND FUNDING FOR FIRST NATIONS

Canada has announced several funding measures to support First Nations respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes $305 million for a “distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation communities.” (Click Here for more details). First Nations can access financial aid and other supports through Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) regional offices immediately, based on their emergency response plans and needs.

Communities are asked to track all spending related to preparations and response to the current coronavirus outbreak. Any resource gaps or needs should be identified to the ISC regional office as soon as possible. ISC sent templates for pandemic plans to all First Nations. They have staff available to support communities with the development and updates of these plans.

$305M Indigenous COVID-19 Fund

First Nations will receive a total of $215 million to “prevent, prepare and respond” to COVID-19. This will be allocated “based on population, remoteness and community well-being.” There is no application or deadline for First Nations to access these funds. ISC will flow funds to Nations through existing agreements.

  • First Nations in Alberta will receive $26,267,000.
  • The $15M set aside for regional, urban, and off-reserve organizations will be distributed through a proposal process. A call-for-proposals went out on April 6 with a deadline of April 13 for submissions.
  • No specific limitations are set for what Nations can use these funds for. ISC is being as flexible as possible so needs to prepare and respond to COVID-19 can be met. ISC says fund can be used for activities including, but not limited to:
    • support for Elders and vulnerable community members
    • measures to address food insecurity
    • educational and other support for children
    • mental health assistance and emergency response services
    • preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Community Guide for Accessing Financial Aid and Other Supports

ISC released a guide “meant to support communities as they plan and prepare for COVID-19 by updating and/or activating their all-hazard/pandemic plans, listing information on how to access supports, and examples of the types of activities they may consider seeking support for.” First Nations are asked to contact the ISC regional office for more information, or if they have any questions about the guide or supports available (contact information below).

Regional Health Emergency Management Coordinators are the liaison with headquarters, national Indigenous partners, Regional Medical Officers, First Nations leaders and Provincial Health departments. They are supporting First Nations with their response to the pandemic.

Alberta Regional Health Emergency Management Coordinator
Jeff Kresowaty
Manager, Health Emergency Management
First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB)
E: jeff.kresowaty@canada.ca

Additional contacts at the ISC regional office can be found in the REGIONAL CONTACTS FOR FIRST NATIONS section of this page.

Questions and Answers for First Nations

Indigenous Services Canada sent us responses to these frequently asked questions they’ve received about COVID-19:

  • Who can First Nations leaders contact for help?
  • How can individuals be tested for COVID-19?
  • Is a state of emergency required to access help?
  • Is there funding to support the needs of First Nations?
  • How to obtain Personal Protective Equipment?
Recommendations for Visiting or Returning to Your First Nation Community

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) published a guide and self-screening tool for people visiting or returning to their communities during the COVID-19 . Please refer to this guide before visiting or returning to your community to prevent the virus from entering your community.

Weekly Virtual Town Hall with First Nations Health Managers Association

The First Nations Health Managers Association is hosting weekly virtual town halls on Thursdays to discuss how COVID-19 is impacting health managers, frontline workers, and communities. Click here to visit Indigneous Health Today where you can find videos of previous town halls, as well as COVID-19 bulletins.

COVID-19 Video Resources from Indigenous Services Canada
Public Announcements About COVID-19 in Indigenous Languages

Indigenous Services Canada has made public health announcements about COVID-19 available in Cree, Blackfoot, Denesuline, and other First Nation languages here: https://indigenous.link/indigenous-services-canada/

Additional public health resources can be found by clicking on the following links:

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COVID-19 INDIGENOUS SERVICES CANADA CONTACTS FOR FIRST NATIONS

We have received the following contact information for people at Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) who are working with First Nations in Alberta on dealing with COVID-19. Your Nation should be in contact with the ISC regional office if you require support, or have any questions or concerns about the virus and response.

Community Liaison Teams

ISC created teams to work closely with First Nations and act as their point of contact for COVID-19. Communities can contact their respective teams below for response to their questions, and to deal with any operational or coordination issues related to COVID-19.

Team # First Nation / Tribal Council FNIHB Rep Regional Office Rep
1 Yellowhead Tribal Council & member Nations, Paul and Enoch Laurina Eskow
Laurina.eskow@canada.ca
Javed Sommers
Javed.sommers@canada.ca
2 Maskwacis Tribal Council and member Nations, and the Maskwacis Health Services Janice Willier
Janice.willier@canada.ca
Javed Sommers
Javed.sommers@canada.ca
3 TCVI and member Nations, Saddle Lake Laurina Eskow (TCVI)
Laurina.eskow@canada.ca

Michelle Voyageur (Saddle Lake)
Michelle.voyageur@canada.ca
Cornelius Gladue
Cornelius.gladue@canada.ca
4 Treaty 7 First Nations Janice Willier
Janice.willier@canada.ca
Chris Piper
Chris.piper@canada.ca
5 Athabasca Tribal Council and member Nations, Mikisew, Fort McKay, and the Nunee Health Board Erin Bligh
Erin.bligh@canada.ca
Jacqueline Stone
Jacqueline.stone@canada.ca
6 KTC and member Nations, Bigstone Kathleen Gibson
Kathleen.gibson@canada.ca
Jacqueline Stone
Jacqueline.stone@canada.ca
7 LSLIRC and member Nations, Smiths Landing Kathleen Gibson
Kathleen.gibson@canada.ca
Anil Patel
Anil.patel@canada.ca
8 NPTC and member Nations, WCTC and member Nations Michelle Voyageur
Michelle.voyageur@canada.ca
Anil Patel
Anil.patel@canada.ca

Public Health Inquiries and Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Indigenous Services Canada Communicable Disease Inbox
E: sac.cdemergenciesab-urgencesmtab.isc@canada.ca
PPE requests and concerns should be directed to this email

Special Leadership Liaison (supporting information sharing and leadership inquiries)
Dean Janvier (temporary assignment)
E: Dean.Janvier@gmail.com

Alberta Regional Health Emergency Management Coordinator
Jeff Kresowaty
Manager, Health Emergency Management
First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB)
E: jeff.kresowaty@canada.ca

Director, Community Infrastructure and FNR
Michael Oostendorp
E: Michael.Oostendorp@aandc-aadnc.gc.ca

ISC Alberta Regional Medical Officer
Dr. Wadieh Yacoub
E: Wadieh.yacoub@canada.ca

Alberta Health Indigenous Inquiries Email

Indigenous-specific questions/concerns can be emailed to Alberta Health Services at ahs.ecc.operations.ih@ahs.ca

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AFN ALBERTA DAILY BULLETINS


The AFN Alberta office is sending daily updates to First Nations leaders about COVID-19, which can be found in the links below. Please note that our office is currently closed, but all staff are working remotely. If you need to reach us call (780) 509-6657.

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MESSAGES FROM REGIONAL CHIEF POITRAS

April 9th, 2020 - The Regional Chief shares a message of encouragement during this pandemic.

The Regional Chief shares a message of thanks to everyone who participated in the COVID-19 Hour of Prayer on social media.

Regional Chief Poitras sent a message to all Treaty no. 6, Treaty no. 7, and Treaty no. 8 (Alberta) Chiefs on March 22 about the ongoing COVID-19, expressing her support during this unprecedented time. She also provided updates about national funding announcements and tips for First Nations to consider when trying to access these funds.

On March 11th, the Regional Chief issued the following statement regarding the news that the COVID-19 outbreak is now considered a global pandemic. She is encouraging people to take a calm and measured response.

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