Monday, June 15

AFN Alberta is summarizing updates and information we are receiving on our website. All our previous bulletins can be found on this page as well: http://www.afnab.ca/News-and-Events/Coronavirus

AFN Alberta will be transitioning to providing the daily bulletin every other business day in June as we begin our slow and phased transition back to regular operations. The next bulletin will be Wednesday, June 17. Critical or time sensitive information will still be provided in real time as needed. Thank you for your understanding.

 

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

AB Testing Results

June 11

June 15

Change

Tests Completed

317,402

343,311

+25,909

Total Positive

7,316

7,453

+137

Active

379

440

+61

Fatalities

149

151

+2

Recoveries

6,788

6,862

+74

COVID-19 Regional Data for Alberta

Calgary zone - 5,097     Edmonton zone - 714
Central zone - 88     South zone - 1,277     North zone - 265

Unidentified zone - 12

COVID-19 in Alberta First Nations* (as of June 14)

Calgary Zone - 26 

North Zone - 5     

South Zone - 30

 

New Measures

  • As of today, pharmacists can begin to give out larger quantities of prescriptions again, up to a 100-day supply.

  • Alberta recommends that anyone that attended the anti-racism demonstrations throughout the province be tested for COVID-19.

    • As a reminder, Alberta is now allowing anyone in the province to get tested for COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms. Asymptomatic testing can be scheduled through the online AHS COVID-19 self-assessment tool here.

  • Alberta will now only supply PPE to critical service providers in publicly funded or contracted settings. Private organizations can continue to access PPE through the government until June 30, but will need to pay market price.

  • Alberta Health has partnered with A&W, McDonalds, and Tim Hortons to distribute non-medical masks to Albertans at no cost.

 

First Nation-specific Updates .

  • Last Thursday, Canada announced an additional $133M in financial aid for Indigneous businesses and $16M for the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. 

  • The Alberta government will provide each First Nation individual in community 4 non-medical masks. Those who are in urban centers will be able to get the masks through the restaurant partnership program, or through a community service agency. 

 

National and Regional Updates 

  • The Alberta health minister says the provincial state of emergency will lapse, but that existing provincial health orders will not be impacted. 

  • Alberta is issuing comprehensive guidance to schools on re-opening for the 2020/21 school year. This includes guidelines on hygiene and health requirements, student learning, transportation and diploma exams. It also addresses mental health and psychological supports for students and staff.

  • Canada launched the P-O-S-T Promise campaign aimed at encouraging businesses to fill out a voluntary declaration to its customers and employees that they will be diligent in their combat of COVID-19. The details of the initiative can be found at postpromise.com 

  • Addressing the separation of family members, the Canadian government is offering a limited exemption allowing members of the immediate family of permanent residents or citizens to come into Canada, targeting husbands, wives and/or children.

 

INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS FOR FIRST NATIONS

Regional Chief’s Presentation to the House of Commons Committee on Indigenous Affairs. 

Regional Chief Poitras testified before the Standing Committee on Indigneous and Northern Affairs on Friday, June 12, as they continued their study on the government’s response to COVID-19. The Regional Chief spoke to the socioeconomic disparities that First Nations faced, which made them more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. She also highlighted issues First Nations faced with enforcement of public health orders, the high costs of security, data gaps, and the lack of dedicated funding for First Nations to support off-reserve members. The Regional Chief impressed several recommendations on the members, including: 

  • Increasing availability of testing for First Nations people, 

  • Designing First Nation-specific assessment guidelines for testing, contact tracing, treatment, and vaccinations with First Nation technicians, leaders, and knowledge-keepers, 

  • That First Nations determine their data needs, and that those be responded to appropriately for planning subsequent health crises; and,

  • Providing distinct funding to support the First Nation businesses with their recovery, and we must be active participants in the rebuilding of our economies. 

Please find attached a summary of the committee proceedings. You can also view the committee at the following link: https://bit.ly/3ebH0K0 


Additional Funding for Indigenous Businesses

News Release: Canada announces additional support for Indigenous businesses and the Indigenous tourism industry

 

Last Thursday, Minister Miller announced $133 million in new funding to support Indigenous business with economic recovery. Canada committed $117 million of this new funding to more community-owned Indigneous businesses including microbusinesses, who are not eligible for existing business support measures. 

 

To support the economic recovery of the Indigenous tourism sector, Canada is providing $16M in funding to the Indigneous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) to administer a stimulus fund. It’s worth noting that Indigenous Tourism Alberta signed an MOU with ITAC last year to advance Indigneous tourism in the province. Previously, ITAC was not affiliated with any regional tourism industry association in Alberta. 


Updates from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)

*NEW*  Weekly Bulletin from Dr. Yacoub (attached)

Dr. Yacoub, Alberta’s Senior Medical Officer of Health at FNIHB, sends a weekly bulletin to all First Nations. These bulletins provide updates to First Nations on COVID-19 from a public health perspective. This week’s bulletin is attached. 


Dr.Hinshaw and her team at Alberta Health are available at First Nations’ request  to support with creating public health guidelines for ceremonies.
She emphasized that Alberta Health is not developing any recommendations around ceremonies, but are happy to collaborate with Nations, at their direction, to support the development of such guidance at either an individual community level, or more collectively. 


Millar Group Proposal for Getting PPE to Communities

The Millar Group has struck a successful partnership with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) in Saskatchewan to provide all First Nations in that province with PPE and hand sanitizer. The Millar Group has established global and domestic supply chains and has built capacity to respond to a wide range of PPE needs. FSIN secured federal funding to provide urgently required PPE supplies, supply chain management and logistics services to First Nations through the Millar Group. 

 

The group is keen to support Nations in Alberta with similar services to the ones they are providing in Saskatchewan. We have sought Chiefs’ input on the Millar Group’s proposal and request direction on whether AFN Alberta should proceed to work with them on initiating a similar initiative as the one developed by FSIN  in Saskatchewan.  


CALL & MEETING SUMMARIES

June 10 | All Chiefs Meeting with ISC-AB and Dr.Hinshaw

On June 10th, ISC-AB organized an all-Chiefs meeting with Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. This was the second time Dr. Hinshaw addressed the Chiefs. She spoke about a new way Alberta will be responding to spikes in active cases of COVID-19 (through a more localized, rather than province-wide, response). As noted above, she also expressed that Alberta Health is willing to support Nations in developing guidance for ceremonies, only if First Nations seek that assistance. Key Highlights: 

  • More First Nations people have been tested for COVID-19, and less have contracted the disease, compared to Albertans.

  • Alberta will continue providing PPE to FN health centres at no cost for the near term.

  • Dr. Hinshaw said that Alberta Health is willing to support developing guidance documents around ceremonies, either at an individual Nation-level or at a more collective  level. However, they will only do so at First Nation(s)’ direction. FNs should contact Alberta Health if they want collaborative support on issuing public health recommendations for ceremonies. 

  • Dr. Hinshaw notified Chiefs about a new way Alberta will track “hot spots” where public health measures may need to be increased. The purpose for this is to provide a more focussed, regional response for new outbreaks, rather than having to make province-wide restrictions. 

    • If a municipality reaches 50 active cases per 100,000 people, or a rural area reaches 10 active cases per 10,000 people, the area will go from beige to blue on the provincial COVID map. This will trigger a conversation between the province and local health authorities on possible public health measures that need to be put in place. 

    • If these “blue areas” implement new restrictions following a discussion with the province, the area will turn purple to denote that there are more public health restrictions in that region than neighbouring areas. 

  • Chiefs asked a wide range of questions to Dr. Hinshaw. Most questions focussed on the possibility of a second wave of the pandemic, and how Alberta plans to respond to outbreaks and spikes in confirmed cases  as it moves to re-open. 

    • Some Chiefs sought guidance on how to respond to returning community members that may have come into contact with COVID-19. 

    • Others asked for more detail on the new method of responding to localized/regional COVID-19 outbreaks, and how the province would work with First Nations if their communities are in a regional “blue zone.”  

  • Dr. Hinshaw said the type of advice leaders give to the community on testing will depend on the priorities of the Nation and the specific situation they are in -- ie: are there active cases in the community, outbreaks nearby, etc. The highest priority is to test anyone with symptoms, close contact of a known case. Identifying these cases fast helps stop the chain of transmission. She recognizes the reluctance some may have of getting tested for fear of receiving a positive result, and encourages strong public health messaging to combat this stigma. 

  • Dr. Hinshaw also clarified that once a region or municipality exceeds the threshold of 50 active cases per 100,000 people, or 10 active cases per 10,000 people in rural areas, a conversation takes place with the province on local health authorities and leaders on how to minimize the risk. No restrictions are put in place when that happens. If First Nations are in these areas, Alberta Health will reach out and collaborate with them. 

  • It’s likely that the risk of a second wave will get higher in the fall when people spend more time indoors. Subsequent waves of the virus depend on our collective behaviour. 

  • Alberta Health can provide First Nations with the 14-day quarantine plan template they provide int’l travellers, should it be helpful to adapt when responding to returning community members that may have come in contact with COVID.

  • Response to outbreaks and spikes in cases will be targeted regionally. Depending on the severity and scope of  the future spread of COVID-19, they may consider going back to province-wide measures. Alberta health hopes that they can prevent this by putting in restrictions locally and earlier. 

  • Bingo halls and casinos are expected to follow similar guidelines as groceries stores and malls during re-opening. A hard limit on the number of people allowed in a facility will not be implemented, rather the operator will be required to ensure people keep a 2 m distance at all times, visitors are screened, increased sanitation happens, etc. Table games will not be allowed. 


REGIONAL AND NATIONAL UPDATES

Summaries and information of the following can be found in the update below. 

  • Canada’s COVID-19 Update - June 15 & 12

  • Alberta’s COVID-19 Update - June 15 & 12

  • *RECAP* Alberta outlines plan for Stage 2 of repoening 

 

Canada’s COVID-19 Update - June 15

Prime Minister’s briefing

Federal Ministers and Health Officials Update

Speaking this morning from his usual podium in Ottawa, Prime Minister Trudeau gave his daily briefing to Canadians on COVID-19. Following this, Federal Officials and Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Dr.Tam gave their daily update. Key Highlights:

  • There are now 98,787 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Canada. 8,146 have died from COVID-19 and 60,272, or 61% have recovered. 2,152,000 tests have been completed across Canada to date for an average of 33,000 daily over the past week with about 2% of these cases returning positive.

  • This Friday, the new application for the CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account), which allows for more small businesses such as farmers will be available, more information will be provided in the coming days. Edc.ca has information on how to apply 

  • The government is also looking to extend CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) for those who are still unable to return to work, more details to come later this week.

  • Today, applications for the Surplus Food Rescue Program open. Getting products that farmers and fishers can’t sell to communities that need it. People across the country will benefit from this, including remote northern communities.


Canada’s COVID-19 Update - June 12

Prime Minister’s briefing

Federal Ministers COVID-19 Update

Speaking from Outside his home in Ottawa, Prime Minister Trudeau discussed the federal government response to COVID-19. Following this, select Federal Ministers attended the daily COVID-19 press update. Key Highlights:

  • There was no statistics update on COVID-19 numbers today as Dr’s Tam and Njoo were not present for the Federal Ministers COVID-19 update.

  • Speaking to reopening measures, the Prime Minister said Canada must learn from other jurisdictions and make sure safety is maintained as the economy restarts, including 

  • The Prime Minister continues to advocate for the use of Body Cameras on police service members and spoke explicitly to the arrest of Chief Allan Adam.

  • Friday, June 12th, the Federal government announced temperature screening is being mandated for airline passengers, this is in addition to previous measures such as mandated masks for travellers. 

    • This will come in a phased approach. First, for those travelling to Canada. Then, for those travelling from Canada. And finally, those travelling within Canada. A passenger with a fever will not be permitted to board. Employees in secure areas will also require temperature checks.
       

Additional Information

  • In long term care facilities across Canada where the situation has stabilized, health care workers are returning and military forces are being redeployed where the situation is more critical. Ontario and Quebec deployment is being extended to June 26th.

  • The Prime Minister encouraged businesses to continue to take advantage of the emergency benefits available to them.

  • Echoing the statements of Alberta’s CMO, Dr. Tam reminded youth in particular that they are not invincible against COVID-19 and they have a role to play in protecting others, even if they are not worried about severe outcomes for themselves.


Alberta’s COVID-19 Update - June 15

Alberta Chief Medical Officer COVID-19 Update - June 15

News Releases: Weekly overview of COVID-19 action plan (June 14)

  • 6,862 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.There are 440 active cases, 31 are hospitalized, with 7 in ICU. The total number of fatalities rose to 151. 

  • The Alberta health minister says the provincial state of emergency will lapse, but that existing provincial health orders will not be impacted. The government will also still be able to 

  • Two districts are under the government’s “watch” advisory category, including Edmonton, meaning the number of active cases per 100,000 people in that region are more than 50. No additional public measures are being implemented but the province is monitoring an uptick in cases as a result of people not distancing at social events or wearing masks during high-risk activities. 

  • Out of 11,341 asymptomatic tests conducted last week, 4 returned positive.

  • 300 asymptomatic tests were done on close contacts of confirmed cases and 41 COVID-19 cases were identified from those 300 tests. Hinshaw says this underscores why close contacts need to be tested promptly and stay in isolation even if they are feeling well. 


Alberta’s COVID-19 Update - June 12

Alberta Chief Medical Officer COVID-19 Update - June 12

News Release:Update 91: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (June 13 at 3 p.m.)

On Friday, Chief Medical Officer for the Province of Alberta Dr.Hinshaw provided her daily statistical update on COVID-19. Key Highlights:

  • 6,811 Albertans have now recovered from COVID-19. 386 active cases now remain in the province. 53 cases are hospitalized with 6 of these in the ICU. Over 325,000 Albertans have been tested to date. Yesterday in testing of 7,746 in the last 24 hours, 30 new cases were identified. No additional deaths have been identified in the last 24 hours.

  • Dr.Hinshaw highlighted two First Nations success stories in Alberta during her Friday update.

    • Blood tribe Chief and Council efforts supported by AHS and FNIHB including a 35 bed clinical and isolation facility. 2,540 food and cleaning packages to both on and off reserve members. Community health and essential services staff continue work on combating COVID-19. Rick Soup, the Disaster and Emergency Manager has shown exemplary support and leadership in this time.

    • Whitefish Lake adapted their Goodfish garment facility to produce reusable masks, providing to every member on reserve and also fulfilling large orders of fire resistant masks for energy companies operating in Alberta.

  • Dr.Hinshaw also spoke specifically to youth, reminding them that although they themselves may not be at high risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19, that they have a role to play in protecting the vulnerable, elderly and immunocompromised.
     

 

*RECAP* Alberta moves to stage two of relaunch

Press Conference: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to Announce Next Phase of Reopening Plan

News Release: June 09, 2020 - Alberta moves to stage two

Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney held a press conference today, June 9, 2020 to outline its strategy for moving towards stage two of its relaunch strategy, the full news release and press conference are linked above, and below are some Key Highlights:

  • Strong testing data shows active COVID-19 cases in Alberta are lower than expected, meaning stage two of the relaunch strategy can safely begin on June 12, a week sooner than expected.

  • A list of openings, with restrictions, follows:

    • K-12 schools, for requested diploma exams and summer school, following guidance.

    • Libraries

    • More surgeries and wellness services such as massage, acupuncture and reflexology.

    • Personal services (esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatment, and artificial tanning)

    • Indoor recreation, fitness, and sports, including gyms and arenas. Pools for leisure swimming.

    • Movie theaters and community halls, Instrumental concerts.

    • VLTs in restaurants and bars, casinos and bingo halls (but not table games).

  • Additionally, the 50 per cent capacity limit for provincial campgrounds is being lifted. Over the coming days, the online reservation system will be updated and sites will come online in phases with all sites open by July 1.

  • Events and gatherings can now also be larger, 50 person limits for indoor social gatherings, and 100 person limits for outdoor events and indoor seated events

    • There is no limit on people in worship gatherings, restaurants, cafes, lounges and bars, casinos and bingo halls - but public health measures and physical distancing requirements remain.

  • Regular in-school classes will resume in September 2020. Major festivals and concerts as well as large conferences, trade shows and similar events are still prohibited.

  • Nightclubs, Amusement parks, major sporting events will continue to be prohibited until Stage 3.

  • Non-essential travel outside the province is still not recommended.

  •