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Neskantaga declares state of emergency due to COVID-19 cases among members in Thunder Bay

According to Chief Chris Moonias, six per cent of off-reserve members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the city of Thunder Bay
COVID-19 9

THUNDER BAY - Neskantaga First Nation is declaring a state of emergency due to a large number of off-reserve members testing positive for COVID-19 in the city of Thunder Bay.

"We are experiencing an outbreak among Neskantaga First Nation members with six per cent of our off-reserve membership testing positive for COVID-19,” said Chief Chris Moonias, of Neskantaga First Nation in a media release issued Wednesday.

“With 12 members being positively identified, including one in critical condition at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre—we are deeply troubled by this trend we are seeing among our off-reserve membership.”

According to the release, factors contributing to the outbreak include the high rate of COVID-19 cases in Thunder Bay and an outbreak among the homeless population.

Neskantaga is calling on Indigenous Services Canada to provide emergency funding for housing to accommodate the homeless population who have been forced off-reserve due to a lack of housing in the community.

Adequate housing will lower the risk of contracting COVID-19 and support the health and safety of members.

Neskantaga is located approximately 430 kilometres north east of Thunder Bay. There are approximately 217 members who live off reserve. 

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit declared an outbreak of COVID-19 among the homeless population earlier this month.


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