Ginoogaming First Nation Responds to COVID-19

Ginoogaming First Nation

Ginoogaming First Nation – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Ginoogaming First Nation is taking that approach to COVID-19, and is updating the community members on the next steps the community is taking over the coming two weeks.


  • Update on COVID-19 from the GFN Pandemic Emergency Response Team

As of Monday, April 27, 2020, at 3:00 pm, confirmed by Thunder Bay District Health Unit: there are 67 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Thunder Bay and surrounding areas (including District communities and First Nation communities).

As you may be aware, there has been 1 confirmed case in the Municipality of Greenstone as of April 23, 2020, which has since been resolved. At this time there are no new cases in the Municipality of Greenstone, however as we can see, the virus is drawing nearer and nearer to us.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases in Ginoogaming First Nation.

We are very concerned about the well-being of our community members and have had to make a hard decision in order to keep our members safe.

We are therefore proposing our lockdown of our community on May 4th to May 11th,, 2020 at 6:00 am.

In the meantime, we are concerned with those who are making unnecessary trips to town. We are asking and reminding everyone to please leave your home only for ESSENTIAL items.

  • Those who need to leave Ginoogaming First Nation for anything are asked to self-isolate (trips outside of Greenstone).
  • If you do need to go to town, try to keep this to an extreme minimum. Do NOT go on multiple trips to town (unless absolutely necessary).
  • Do not go visiting.
  • Pick up what you need, and go straight home.

CURFEW 11:00pm – 6:00am: No one is allowed to leave, or enter the community, at all during this time with the exception of any emergency vehicles). We have had many ignore this, and we ask that you please respect what we have in place, as these protocols are being out in place for the health and well-being of all our community members.

  • COVID-19 Testing on-site:

Ginoogaming First Nation Health Centre, Monday to Friday from 9:00am – 5:00pm

Individuals with ANY of the symptoms listed below qualify for COVID-19 testing:

  • Cough
  • Fever (38 C or higher)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore throat/hoarse voice
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Diarrhea

Our CHN Tammy Dube RN, and Angela Nordstrom RN will be providing the testing.  Tammy will be screening over the phone and based upon this screening, testing will be set up.

CHN will come to the doorstep of any home, so that occupants will not have to leave their home for the testing.

COVID-19 Symptoms can be mild to severe. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate,and book an appointment to be tested.

Call (807) 876-2732 or (807) 853-2072


“Lockdown” means no one can leave or enter the First Nation. Because this is the case, we have looked into those members that attend the Longlac OATC, and also those that self-identify that they need a Managed Alcohol Program in the community.

Longlac OATC are aware of our plans, and will work with us to ensure that our members receive their medications for the duration of the lockdown.

The Managed Alcohol Program will be available to those in the community that self-identify to our GFN Health team. I have included some information that contains questions to make a plan for safer drinking.

  • Isolation Centre: GFN AHS Building

If and when the COVID-19 hits Ginoogaming First Nation, we have prepared an Isolation Centre where we can bring those who have been infected by COVID-19. We are aware that there may be not much room, or else overcrowding homes that have larger families. At the Isolation Centre, we will be able to accommodate your family members at our site until the isolation of your loved one is over.

  • Food Security — Please contact any of these staff:

Vanessa Legarde 853-2069/ Lisa Echum 853-2074/ Liz Ferris 853-1949

In recent weeks we have had many shipments of food into the GFN community, and we understand that people are running out of refrigeration/ freezer space for the perishable items.

We have ordered freezers for each of the GFN homes, but unfortunately, our shipment is on backorder and we will not receive some of the freezers until mid-May.

Our GFN Pandemic Team will be handing out a notice that has a list of what we have on-site, and we will hand this out. We hope to have each GFN household filled with food before the lockdown, so we can deliver what you NEED.

Our team is also working on a communication method for the GFN residents. One idea is a colour system that can be placed in your window, to let the team know what your needs are so that we can get assistance to you.

  • Household care packages:

We will be putting together household care packages that include cleaning products, wipes, laundry soap, body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, javex etc.

  • Infant/children needs, feminine sanitary products:

We have diapers, pull-ups, formula, wipes, and feminine products. For those that require these, you can reach our CHR at 807-853-2008.

More information will follow in regard to updates and changes, as they are made available to us.

As the GFN Health Director and Acting Band Manager at this time, you can also email me at or you can call me on my cell at 807-853-1946.

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Peter Rasevych is a Ginoogaming First Nation band member who also has family roots in Long Lake #58 First Nation, as well as Fort William First Nation. He is an avid trapper, fisherman, and hunter on his family’s traditional territory near Longlac, in northwestern Ontario. He is also a fully licensed children’s hockey, soccer, and lacrosse coach. He was born in Toronto, Ontario and was raised there as well as in Montreal, Quebec. As a youth, Peter attended high school in the Town of Pickering (near Toronto) as well as at Riverdale High School (in Montreal). He graduated from John Abbott College (a CEGEP in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec) with a DEC (Diploma D’Etudes Collegiales) in Social Sciences after studying there from 1989-91. He attained Honour Roll status for three of his four semesters there. He was then awarded with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA in English) from McGill University (Montreal) in 1994, after three years of study there. After travelling across Canada and living and working in the bush, he later attended Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, where he graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts (HBA in English) in 1998, as well as a Master’s Degree (MA in English) in 2001, where he completed a thesis which was published by the National Library of Canada. Peter’s research focus on traditional First Nations spiritual values, beliefs and culture led him to pursue a PhD in Natural Resources Management at Lakehead University from 2009-12. His research was centred on traditional Anishnawbe spiritual knowledge as it relates to the land, water, and animals. He has also worked for many years in First Nations community development, education, and human and social development at the local band office level on Ginoogaming First Nation, as well as at the tribal council level (Matawa First Nations), and also at the provincial territorial level (OSHKI, for Nishnawbe-Aski Nation). He has taught post-secondary courses for Confederation College (Negahneewin College) in Thunder Bay, in addition to instructing for courses at Lakehead University (Indigenous Learning, English, and Social Work). In addition to articles, his writing interests include research reports, essays, and creative outlets such as short stories, poetry, songs, and short novels. His interests include traditional Anishnawbe spirituality, and camping/living out in the bush as he has done with family since the age of 4.