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COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Information




Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team


September 18th, 2020

The Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team advise that, since the September 14th bulletin, ten (10) new First Nations COVID-19 cases were identified as of 7:00 am, Friday, September 18th. The total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive First Nations cases in Manitoba has increased by 10, taking the total to 52 cases. 45 cases are off-reserve and 7 cases are on-reserve. The total number of recovered cases are now 23 and active cases are 29.

Details of the 10 new First Nations cases:

  • 6 cases are in Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA)

  • 4 cases are geographically within Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA), with 2 individuals from Fisher River Cree Nation, 1 individual from Peguis First Nations and 1 individual from Sagkeeng First Nation.

  • 1 is close contact of a known case, 1 has unknown acquisition and 8 are still under investigation in terms of identifying the potential acquisition.

Details of all 52 First Nations cases:

  • 37 cases in Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA)

  • 8 cases in the Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA)

  • 2 cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud (SHSS)

  • 4 cases in the Prairie Mountain Regional Health Authority (PMH)

  • 1 case in the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA)

  • The number of recovered cases is 23

  • The number of currently hospitalized cases is 1

  • The number of deaths among First Nations people due to COVID-19 is 0.

  • 36 females and 16 males

  • The age range of positive people: 1-69

  • Most people in the 60-69 age group (in comparison to 20-29 for other Manitobans)

  • Travel-acquired cases: 10% (in comparison to 14% for other Manitobans)

  • Acquisition through contact with a known positive case: 56% (in comparison to 61% for other Manitobans)

  • Average time from symptom onset until testing: 5 days (in comparison to 4 days for the rest of MB)

  • 48% of cases reported the presence of an underlying illness (in comparison to 31% for the rest of MB)


First Nation Testing

As of September 18th, 2020, the number of First Nations COVID-19 tests has risen by 732 (since September 14th), for a total of 17273 tests conducted for First Nations across Manitoba since the pandemic began. Current 5-day COVID-19 test positivity rate in Manitoba First Nations is 1.31% which is lower than Manitoba’s 5-day test positivity rate of 1.7%. For First Nations the average test number per person tested is 1.21, which is higher than the overall testing rate in Manitoba, at 1.15 tests/person tested.

The total number of tests in First Nations represents 11% of the overall tests done in Manitoba; testing numbers are highest in hospital, particularly in Winnipeg; the main sources of test samples excluding Winnipeg were from nursing stations.

  • Asymptomatic surveillance has yet to identify any First Nations cases.

  • Except in the very young, testing rates are higher in women, 59% overall. This mirrors the provincial testing trends where there are also more women who are being tested at 56%.

  • A total of 14309 First Nations people have been tested to date. Of those, 59% of tests were completed for First Nations who live on reserve and 41% of tests were completed for First Nations who live in urban or rural areas.

Unlike the majority of cases in Manitoba, First Nations people are most likely to be infected through close contact to a known case of COVID-19.

First Nation Contacts

  • 176 First Nations have been named as contacts over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • 61% of COVID-19 infections were a result of close contact to a positive COVID-19 case

  • Of the 52 First Nation cases, 23 cases can be linked to clusters or outbreaks




The epidemiological curve for COVID-19 in First Nations people in Manitoba is showing a current concerning trend. Our families and connections across communities are a strength in many respects, but when it comes to COVID-19 the mobility and these connections can be a risk for spread. We also need to be mindful of the number of cases in the 60-69 year old age group, as we know about higher rates of co-morbid illness in First Nations people and the higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in older individuals.


It was inevitable that we would see cases in First Nations communities. Our goal is to quickly contain the spread of COVID-19 and limit it to small numbers of cases or clusters. We want to prevent widespread community transmission and avoid outbreaks in settings like health care facilities and schools. We remind everyone that we need to continue to be vigilant about following effective public health measures to reduce and slow the spread of COVID-19. At this time, PRCT encourages the following actions.


  • Be cautious with and if possible, delay travel to/ from regions of the province designated as Orange (Restricted) or Red (Critical) risk levels.

  • If travel to an Orange zone is necessary, keep the number of people traveling as low as possible and be diligent with physical distancing and hand hygiene and follow all measures such as mandatory non-medical masks that may be in place.

  • If you have family who live in other communities/ areas from you, consider ways to connect that are lower risk for spreading COVID-19:

    • Connect by phone or other social media platforms.

    • Only travel to visit in vehicles with people who live in your household.

    • Visit outside as much as possible.

    • Avoid sharing food/ serving dishes/ utensils/ condiments.

    • If you are visiting older relatives, consider limiting your visiting with others or attendance at large gatherings.

  • Practice physical distancing measures and stay 2m/ 6ft away from people who are outside of your household.

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

  • Regularly clean commonly touched surfaces such as door handles and countertops.

  • Wear non-medical masks when you are in places where physical distancing cannot be maintained (e.g. crowded stores or when using public/ community transportation services).

  • Follow gathering size orders.

  • Consider postponing any large gatherings or reducing the numbers who attend in person.

  • Stay home and self-isolate if you have any new symptoms that could be from COVID-19, no matter how mild the symptoms are.

  • Present for testing if your symptoms last for more than 24 hours.


You can access testing by calling the health facility in your community, going to the RHA testing site closest to you, calling your health care provider, or use the Screening Tool available here https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/ to find out when/ where you can be tested.


COVID-19 resources and links:


Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Alert Levels



School Division Reopening Plans



Restoring Safe Schools: August 13 - School Settings Practice Guidance and Protocols



Applying Current Public Health Orders and Guidance to Community Events https://manitobachiefs.com/wp-content/uploads/PRCT-GUIDE-Applying-Current-Public-Health-Orders-and-Guidance-to-Community-Events-29May2020-FINALasof459pm.pdf


Public Health Considerations During COVID-19 for Sundance Leaders



Manitoba government COVID-19 information



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PRCT GUIDE (**Updated**):

Applying Current Public Health Orders and Guidance to Community Events





Public Health Considerations for Sundances during COVID-19


COVID-19 Information and Resources for First Nations Leaders, Communities, Health Teams and Citizens

Funding Resources for First Nations


Use messages above and resources below to share with your community:

*Utilize Community Radio - Read messages, Fact Sheets and MB Gov Updates and Canada Updates on COVID-19

*Have Elders Speak on Radio about listening to these messages, have them share stories and knowledge to encourage and help people as they stay at home

*Ask Youth Role Models to talk about messages on Radio, Instagram, Snapchat

*Have printed information packages dropped of at home doors

*Share Mental Health Resource Information to access online and by phone

*Provide opportunities for people to have a line of communication- a phone number, email dedicated to answering COVID-19-related calls and questions.


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(Novel Coronavirus)

Key Messages for First Nations Communities

  • Wash your hands very often and thoroughly

  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth

  • For the time being, practice social distancing (2 meters away from others) and avoid touching others

  • Clean and disinfect common surfaces, washrooms, taps, door handles, etc.

  • Try to eat as healthy possible and get good rest

  • If you are feeling cold/flu symptoms, stay home and call your local health care provider or health authority (do not show up at a health clinic and put others health at risk)

  • Consider closing public buildings and areas within community- only keep essential services that are required

  • Update and complete community pandemic planning and inform community so everyone can work on it together.

  • Check on your elders and those who live alone to see if they need any support (grocery shopping, medication fill, etc.)

  • Above all, remain calm, being informed and prepared will help slow the spread and not overburden the health care system so it can properly handle those who get sick and need help the most. 

  • Feeling symptoms? Use the ONLINE SCREENING TOOL to see if you should proceed to the next step. Contact your local Health Care Provider or follow processes provided to you. You may be asked to go to a designated location within your community or other testing sites in MB

Audio Resources

MB FN Medical Officer Dr Routledge 9Apr2
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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. This plan includes $305 million for a new, distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. This funding will also provide support to regional, urban and off-reserve Indigenous organizations.

These new funds will flow directly to Indigenous communities and groups across the country and will provide Indigenous leadership with the flexibility needed as they prepare for and react to the spread of COVID-19. These funds could be used for measures 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


As shown in the map, the Indigenous Community Support Fund will be distributed as follows:

  • $215 million for First Nations: allocated to each First Nation based on population, remoteness and community well-being

  • $45 million for Inuit, which will flow to each of the four land claims organizations through an allocation determined by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and regional Inuit land claims organizations

  • $30 million for Métis Nation communities, which will flow through each of the Governing Members

  • $15 million for regional and urban Indigenous organizations supporting their members living away from their communities, and to regional organizations such as Friendship Centres and the Métis Settlements General Council of Alberta


Manitoba First Nations will receive $35,974,000

Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Team Updates on Facebook 

July 10 MB First Nations COVID-19 Update

June 26 MB First Nations COVID-19 Update

June 19 MB First Nations COVID-19 Update

June 12 MB First Nations COVID-19 Update

July 24 MB First Nations COVID-19 Update

July 17 MB First Nations COVID-19 Update

June 5 MB First Nations COVID-19 Update

May 29 MB First Nations COVID-19 Update

May 22 MB First Nations COVID-19 Update

May 15 MB First Nations COVID-19 Update

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