Info on COVID-19

COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION FOR FIRST NATIONS IN ALBERTA



If you are experiencing any cold or flu symptoms or have recently returned from international travel you must self-isolate and contact Alberta Health Services at 811 immediately. If it is an emergency, call 911 and let operators know your symptoms.


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

Alberta Health 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 pandemic: 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

Alberta Health continues to be the best source of information about the coronavirus outbreak in the province. Please visit alberta.ca/covid-19 for the latest data, public health orders, and guidance from the Alberta government.

The best prevention against an infection is good hygiene and avoiding contact with people (practicing physical distancing). Individuals should take the following measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

  • As of March 25, Albertans are legally required to self-isolate in certain circumstances, including if they are returning from international travel or are 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 in Alberta can now be tested for COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms. Priority will be given to people displaying symptoms of COVID-19, who have come in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, are a frontline worker, or at a high risk of contracting COVID-19.
    • To schedule a test call your community health centre or visit the AHS COVID-19 self-assessment tool here: Self-Assessment Test
  • 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.
  • Individuals are encouraged to wear a mask or face covering to limit the spread of the coronavirus when they are in public. Click here for guidelines on how to choose and wear a non-medical mask.
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 Wear a Mask Properly

Click here for more information on how to access free masks from the Government of Alberta.

How to Practice Physical Distancing
Self-Isolation in Indigenous Communities
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FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE TO FIRST NATION INDIVIDUALS, COMMUNITIES & BUSINESSES

The Government of Canada has designed and launched a series of measures to provide timely and direct support to Canadians in response to COVID-19. Information on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan can be found at Canada.ca/economic-response-plan. This website is updated regularly and includes tools and reference guides for individuals detailing the various benefits available and how to apply

Canada also created a new web tool to help connect people with COVID-19 aid by asking questions and outlining programs people may be eligible for. Click here to access it.

Individuals

How to Apply for Financial Assistance During COVID-19

ISC published the following documents and guides to help First Nations individuals and communities better understand how they can access the many services and financial supports available to them during the pandemic.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Information for First Nations

The CERB will provide a taxable benefit of $500 per week – for up to 16 weeks – for individuals who are involuntarily without work because of COVID-19. The Assembly of First Nations has also published guides outlining how First Nation individuals can apply for CERB and other benefits:

Service Canada has a toll-free phone line for First Nations members needing help with their Canada Emergency Response Benefit applications. Call 1-877-631-2657.

Communities, Organizations, and Businesses

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. First Nations can access additional funding and resources from FNIHB for activities like setting up security checkpoints and purchasing personal protective equipment.

Please note that the link above does not list contacts in the Alberta region office. If you would like more information about how to access public health funding for your community, please contact your community liaison team (listed in the “contacts for First Nations” section of this website) or write to sac.cdemergenciesab-urgencesmtab.isc@canada.ca.

ISC Update to Communities and Partners on 2020-2021 Funding

In a letter to communities and partners, ISC guaranteed that existing funding agreements for 2020-2021 would be transferred uninterrupted. Click the link above for more information.

Mental Health Funding

Alberta is providing $25 million for projects and services that will improve community mental health and addiction recovery supports and services. First Nations are eligible and encouraged to apply. The second call for proposals closes on August 21, 2020. Click here for more information.

ISC-AB prepared a fact-sheet highlighting external funding opportunities for First Nations communities, ans one for mental health resources.

Business Supports

Canada announced funding to support small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses through short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions. The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association has set up an email distribution service to inform interested Indigenous businesses when they can start applying for this support. Click here for more information. ISC has also published a document detailing the financial supports available to Indigenous businesses:

The Alberta government announced the businesses can apply to the Aboriginal Business Investment fund (ABIF) for initiatives that “demonstrate social and economic benefits for their communities.” Alberta is providing up to $500,000 in investments through this call for proposals. Click here for more information.

Indigenous businesses are eligible for all the support Canada is making available to businesses. A web portal was to help businesses find a wide range of COVID-19 support and other programs and services. Click here to access it.

The Business Resilience Services Hotline is available to small businesses to provide free, customized financial guidance from navigating tax regulations and government support to planning a path to recovery. Click here for more information.

Applications for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) are available through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The CECRA consists of forgivable loans for landlords to subsidize lost rent from small businesses, nonprofits and charitable organizations. Click here for more information.

The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business developed a portal for Indigenous businesses to receive updates, information, and resources about COVID-19. Click here to access it.

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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 COVID-19. Nations should be in contact with the ISC regional office if you require support, or have any questions or concerns about the virus and response.

Alberta 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

Additional Contacts at ISC

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 (Please note that Alberta Health Services is available on request to support communities with developing public health guidelines for ceremonies).

InfoPoint by the First Nations Health Managers Association

First Nation health directors, leaders, and technicians can contact “InfoPoint” to request information about their COVID-19-related questions at 1-855-446-2719 or InfoPoint@fnhma.ca from Monday to Friday, 6 am to 6 pm MT.

Red Cross Pandemic Planning Help Desk

The Canadian Red Cross is operating a help desk for First Nations to get dedicated, personalized support on pandemic planning. It is available 7 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm MT. Call 1-833-937-1597.

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MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

The First Nations and Inuit Health Branch in Alberta (FNIHB-AB) published a guide to mental health support and resources available to First Nations. Click here to access it.

Immediate Support

Hope for Wellness Help Line for Indigenous People

  • Provides free support during a mental health crisis
  • Call 1-855-242-3310 or access the online chat service at hopeforwellness.ca

Talk4Healing

  • A free and safe hotline for Indigenous women
  • Call 1-855-554-HEAL (4325)

Alberta Mental Health Helpline

  • Provides free, 24-hour mental health crisis support to Albertans
  • Call 1-877-303-2642

Alberta Addictions Helpline

  • Provides free, 24-hour support to Albertans struggling with addictions
  • Call 1-866-332-2322

Native Youth Crisis Hotline

  • Provides free, 24/7 support to Indigenous youth.
  • Contact 1-877-209-1266

Kids Help Phone

  • Provides free mental health support for children and youth. 24/7
  • Contact 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868

Alberta Family Violence InfoLine

  • Call 310-1818 for anonymous help in over 170 languages
  • Click here for the online chat service in English, available from 8 am to 8 pm.

Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence

  • Provides help in finding sexual assault support services from 9 am to 9 pm daily.
  • Call 1-866-403-8000 for service in 215+ languages
  • Text 1-866-403-8000 for service in English
  • Click her for the online chat service in English Chat online for service English
Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Mental Wellness Support

You may be eligible for up to 22 hours of counselling or therapy support through your NIHB. This can include virtual or telephone counselling services. Click here for more information on the benefits and services covered under NIHB, or call the regional contact below.

Non-Insured Health Benefits (Alberta)
General inquiries
Telephone: (780) 495-2694
Toll free: 1 (800) 232-7301

Online Documents and Guidance

AFN Mental Wellness Resources

The AFN has prepared information sheets sharing a list of wellness resources available to First Nations and ideas for taking care of our physical and mental wellbeing during the pandemic:

Thunderbird Partnership Foundation is sharing harm reduction advice to support people’s wellness during COVID-19. Click here to access their resources.

First Peoples Wellness Circle is making information sheets on mental wellness tips for community, families, Elders, and more available for download. Click here to access them.

Youth Resources

Substance Use and Harm Reduction During COVID 19

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PUBLIC HEALTH AND PANDEMIC PLANNING RESOURCES FOR COMMUNITIES

Under the headers below you will find information and links to resource about:

  • Alberta First Nation case count and epidemiological data
  • Guidelines for re-opening businesses and offices
  • Guidelines for re-opening northern, remote, and isolated communities
  • Pandemic Planning Help Desk for Indigneous Communities
  • Q&As about COVID-19 for First Nations
  • Recommendations for Visiting or Returning to Your First Nation Community
  • Recommendations for Community Health Centres
  • Practical Guidance for Funerals, Wakes, or Memorials
  • Substance Use and Harm Reduction Resources During COVID-19
  • Planning for Food Security Toolkit for COVID-19
  • Weekly Virtual Town Hall with the First Nations Health Managers Association
  • COVID-19 Fact Sheets & Indigenous Language Announcements
  • COVID-19 Video Resources from Indigenous Services Canada
  • StatsCan Impact Reports
Weekly COVID-19 First Nation Case & Data Updates for Alberta

The Alberta First Nation Governance Information Centre is publishing a weekly COVID-19 update with First Nations case count and epidemiological data. Click here to access the latest and previous reports (on the left sidebar of the webpage).

Guidelines for Re-Opening Businesses and Offices

The Alberta government published a website which offers sector-specific public health guidance to business owners re-opening the different phases of Alberta’s economic relaunch strategy. Visit Alberta Biz Connect for more information on guidelines for re-opening.

Guidelines for Re-Opening Northern, Remote, Isolated Communities

Below is an ISC document outlining considerations and recommendations for re-opening northern, remote, and isolated Indigenous communities.

Red Cross Pandemic Planning Help Desk

The Canadian Red Cross is operating a help desk for First Nations to get dedicated, personalized support on pandemic planning. It is available 7 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm MT. Call 1-833-937-1597.

Questions and Answers for First Nations

Click on the link below for responses to frequently asked questions Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) received about COVID-19, including:

  • 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?
    • Please note that Canada created a web hub for buying and supplying PPE. Click here to access it.
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.

Recommendations for Community Health Centres

ISC 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.

Practical Guidance for Funerals, Wakes, or Memorials

FNIHB release a practical guide with public health recommendations for funerals, wakes, or memorials on April 14, 2020.

Substance Use and Harm Reduction During COVID 19:
Planning for Food Security Toolkit for COVID-19

The BC First Nations Health Authority published a free toolkit on food security planning for First Nations during the pandemic. Click here to access it.

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.

Fact Sheets & Indigenous Language Announcements

Alberta Health Services (AHS) Posters for Indigenous Communities:

AHS Resources in Blackfoot, Cree, and Stoney-Nakoda:

Public Health Agency of Canada posters in Indigenous languages (Click “please select language” on the right-hand side of the page to download the posters):

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

Assembly of First Nations Fact Sheets:

COVID-19 Video Resources from Indigenous Services Canada
Statistics Canada Reports on the Impact of COVID-19

StatsCan released reports about the impact of COVID-19 on society, including the following reports that may be of interest to First Nations. Click here to access the full list of reports.

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AFN ALBERTA BULLETINS


The AFN Alberta office is sending 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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