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COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Information



Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team


October 26, 2020


Given the ongoing concerning rise in cases in Manitoba and the escalated restrictions in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Area effective Monday, October 19th and restrictions beginning October 26th in NRHA:

  • We strongly encourage cancelling non-essential travel to Orange (Restricted) or Red (Critical) risk levels. This includes the Winnipeg Metropolitan Area and the NRHA.



  • We strongly encourage limiting close contacts outside of the home for all First Nations people.

The Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team advise that, since the October 23rd bulletin, sixty four (64) new First Nations COVID-19 cases were identified as of 7:00 am Monday, October 26th. The total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive First Nations cases in Manitoba has increased by 64, taking the total to 513 cases. Of the total cases, 318 cases are off-reserve and 195 cases are on-reserve. The total number of recovered cases are now 132, there have been 3 deaths, and 378 cases are considered active. As of 4pm October 25th, according to information received from FNIHB there were 122 active cases on reserve.

Details of the 513 First Nations cases:

  • 228 people in Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA)

  • 156 people in the Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA)

  • 33 people in the Southern Health-Santé Sud (SHSS)

  • 12 people in the Prairie Mountain Regional Health Authority (PMH)

  • 83 people in the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA)

  • 1 case where the region of residence is pending

  • The number of recovered cases is 132

  • The number of currently hospitalized cases is 16. This is 20.8% of all hospitalizations in the province currently.

  • The number of First Nations people in the ICU due to COVID-19 is 2. This is 13.3% of all COVID-19 ICU admissions currently.

  • The number of deaths among First Nations people due to COVID-19 is now 3, as another death has been reported. The person who passed away was in their 50s and a resident of the WRHA.

  • 261 females and 252 males

  • The age range of positive people: 1-88

  • The most commonly reported age group of infected individuals is 20-29 (same as the rest of MB)

  • Travel-acquired cases: 4% (in comparison to 8% for other Manitobans)

  • Acquisition through contact with a known positive case: 70% (in comparison to 67% for other Manitobans)

  • Average time from symptom onset until testing: 3 days (same as the rest of MB)

  • 47% of cases reported the presence of an underlying illness (in comparison to 37% for the rest of MB)


First Nation Testing

As of October 26th, 2020, the number of First Nations COVID-19 tests has risen by 880, for a total of 26672 tests conducted for First Nations across Manitoba since the pandemic began. The 5-day COVID-19 test positivity rate in Manitoba First Nations is 5.6% which is lower than Manitoba’s current 5-day test positivity rate of 6.9%.

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 21123 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

  • Of completed investigations currently available in PHIMS, there are 1012 First Nations people that have been named as contacts over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • 70% of COVID-19 infections were a result of close contact to a positive COVID-19 case




The epidemiological curve for COVID-19 in First Nations people in Manitoba is showing an ongoing very concerning trend with high test positivity rate (5.6%), and an increasing number of First Nations communities with cases. As of October 25th, 22 First Nations communities have had cases, and 17 First Nations communities have active cases.


We continue to see new cases that are related to traveling, visiting family, and attending gatherings. In the past week there have been several public bulletins related to exposures at funerals in First Nations communities. While we recognize the importance of the grieving process and supporting the family of one who has passed on, funerals are high risk events for passing on COVID-19 and so we strongly encourage limiting in-person attendance and finding other ways to support the family of one who has passed. MFNPRCT had previously developed guidance for funerals, and it is available at https://manitobachiefs.com/wp-content/uploads/PRCT-Poster-Funeral_Info-FINAL-04.08.2020.png.


As Winnipeg has continued to have high new case numbers, on Monday October 19th public health measures were further strengthened including limiting gathering sizes to 5 people. Northern RHA also moved to the Orange Alert Level on Monday, October 26th and now has the same restrictions as Winnipeg, including the gathering size limit of 5 people.


We strongly encourage all First Nations communities in Manitoba to move to the Orange Alert Level and in particular to limit gathering sizes (including for wedding and funerals) to 10 people. Please note that in the NRHA effective October 26th gathering size limits will be 5. In addition, we encourage that all communities review their in-community isolation plans and their business continuity plans in the event that essential staff have to self-isolate if they are cases or are named as close contacts.


At this time, PRCT encourages the following actions:


  • Cancel or postpone non-essential travel to areas of the province that are in Orange or Red levels on the Pandemic Response System, including the Winnipeg Metropolitan Area and the Northern RHA.

  • Limit gathering sizes in all communities to 10 people, and 5 for communities in the Northern RHA.

  • Limit close contacts outside of the household. This is very important for reducing transmission of COVID-19.

  • If you have family who live in other communities/ areas from you, consider ways to connect that are lower risk for spreading COVID-19, such as connecting by phone, social media or other virtual platforms.

  • 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

  • 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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Applying Current Public Health Orders and Guidance to Community Events

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Public Health Considerations for Sundances during COVID-19

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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 

Figure 1. Epidemiologic curve – First Nations cases

Figure 2. Number of First Nations cases in Manitoba

Figure 3. Number of tests performed, and number of people tested

Figure 4. Epidemic curve of First Nations testing in Manitoba

Figure 5. Number of people tested for COVID-19 by Tribal Council region of home community

Figure 6. Test sampling by type of site

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