Neskantaga First Nation Declares State of Emergency Off Reserve Members in Thunder Bay over COVID-19

Chief Moonias Neskantaga

Thunder Bay – NEWS – Surging COVID-19 numbers in Thunder Bay have generated a call of a State of Emergency by Neskantaga First Nation over off-reserve members living in Thunder Bay.

Neskantaga First Nation Chief and Council have issued a declaration of state of emergency with respect to a large number of off-reserve members in Thunder Bay testing positive for COVID-19.

“We are experiencing an outbreak among Neskantaga First Nation members with 6% of our off-reserve membership testing positive for COVID-19,” said Chief Chris Moonias, of Neskantaga First Nation. “With 12 members being positively identified, including 1 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.”

Within the Declaration of Emergency, factors are identified as attributing to the outbreak including the high rates of COVID-19 cases in Thunder Bay and homeless. The state of emergency calls for Indigenous Services Canada to fund emergency housing to accommodate the homeless population who have been forced off-reserve due to a lack of housing, in order to lower their risk of contracting COVID-19 and further support their health and safety.