This media release can be viewed in PDF form here.
For immediate release
May 15, 2020
Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB – The Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team is sharing data today on confirmed cases of COVID-19 for First Nations citizens living in Manitoba. This data was gathered between March 27 to May 12, 2020.
The total number of COVID-19 tests performed for First Nations people living on reserve in Manitoba during this time is 1488. There are no positive cases of COVID-19 in First Nations.
There is no data available for the number of people tested off reserve. The number of First Nation people with confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 living off-reserve is 16. The majority (14) of these people lived within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority with one person living in each of the Interlake-Eastern Region and the Southern Health Region.
The most commonly reported age group for confirmed cases is 20 to 29 years old. There are significantly more cases in females (13) than in males (3). Twenty-seven per cent of the cases were acquired through travel while 73 per cent of cases were acquired through contact with a known positive case.
“I’m thankful to know there are no identified cases of First Nations people in the Northern Health Region. I commend the Chief and Councils of First Nations in Manitoba for working diligently to implement measures that have helped to keep COVID-19 out of our communities,” stated Grand Chief Garrison Settee of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. “As we prepare for a long weekend, I want to encourage people to continue to limit their travel and be vigilant when it comes to observing public health measures that exist to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Let’s work together to keep this virus out of Northern Manitoba.”
“This is essential data to have for First Nations leaders as it helps to inform our response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” shared Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. “While current data shows there are no cases in First Nations in Manitoba, there are confirmed cases for our citizens living off reserve. Thankfully the majority have recovered. I encourage all First Nations people to get tested if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. Continue to practice safety measures at home, in your First Nation and when you have to leave. And as part of that, listen to directions provided by Chiefs and Councils as well as public health officials as they are working to keep us all safe from this virus.”
First Nations people who have symptoms that could be from COVID-19 should not wait more than one to two days to get tested. Only those who test positive will be asked to voluntarily self- identify as First Nation. Manitoba residents can access testing by going to the closest regional health authority testing site, by calling their health care provider, or by calling the health facility in their community—if their community has a health facility. They can also access an online screening tool available here: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/
“Heading into the long weekend, we encourage people to continue to be diligent about following the effective public health measures to stop the spread and minimize the risks,” said Chief Sheldon Kent, Chairperson of the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba. “I’d like to remind everyone of the public health measures, which include following physical distancing whenever you are outside of your home; limiting the size of your gatherings to less than 10 people; staying outside as much as possible if you are visiting with others (and still keep visits to less than 10 people); wash your hands frequently; and limit non-essential travel outside of or between communities.”
The Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team will continue to work closely with the Province of Manitoba to gather and monitor data in relation to First Nations citizens being tested for the COVID-19 virus. The Team will work to share updates as they become available.
For more information:
Email: [email protected]
Melanie Ferris, MKO Communications*
Email: [email protected]
*Contact for interview requests for MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee or Dr. Barry Lavallee
For more information please see the Manitoba First Nations Information Sharing Agreement with the Province of Manitoba during COVID-19 Backgrounder and the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team (PRCT) Bulletin. Both will be under the infographic below in plain text.
Manitoba First Nations Information Sharing Agreement with the Province of Manitoba during COVID-19 Backgrounder
- Through the long-standing oversight and governance of the mandated committee established by Manitoba Chiefs in Assembly, the Health Information Research Governance Committee (HIRGC) and Manitoba First Nations have a long history that recognizes the importance of data governance and data sovereignty.
- The HIRGC is comprised of First Nation health directors, First Nation academics, and has provided oversight and governance over information and research since its original mandate provided by Manitoba Chiefs in Assembly since 1998.
- The Manitoba First Nation COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Coordination Team worked in partnership with HIRGC to negotiate an information sharing agreement between FNHSSM and the Province of Manitoba that was signed on April 28th, 2020.
- This information sharing agreement was negotiated based on the approval provided by the Health information Research Governance Committee (HIRGC) on April 1, 2020 to utilize the First Nations identifiers collected within the COVID-19 intake form and data linkages with the Indian Status Registry to verify First Nations cases to inform specific COVID-19 planning and response tables.
- “The data sharing process was approved by our committee and authorized FNHSSM to negotiate and begin working with partners to develop a critical data gathering tool and process to support First Nations and other organizations in their planning and monitoring of First Nations covid-19 cases. This is a collaborative partnership with the Province that recognizes First Nations self determination and governance of our own data and utilizes the OCAP® [ownership, control, access and possession] Principles to determine the standards and parameters of how First Nations data is used for the benefit of our people”, stated Doris Young, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, HIRGC Co-Chair.
- Based on HIRGC approval the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba successfully negotiated an information sharing agreement with the Province of Manitoba that respects the principles of data OCAP® and First Nations data sovereignty.
- In previous approvals provided by HIRGC, Manitoba First Nations have successfully utilized First Nations data to highlight health disparities within “The Health Status of and Access to Healthcare by Registered First Nation Peoples in Manitoba http://mchp-appserv.cpe.umanitoba.ca/reference/FN Report web.pdf and the First Nations community profiles. The limitations of these reports did not include non-status First Nations, familial connections and kin who are often missed and not included in reports based on the colonial definitions of a status Indian that have further excluded many of our women and children.
- As First Nations we have collectively come together with the Province of Manitoba and FNHIB/ISC to start collecting identifiers by offering our people the opportunity to self declare as Status and non-status when they test positive for COVID- 19, to count those that have been overlooked and undercounted in many datasets is something we celebrate.
- This information sharing agreement is unprecedented and sets the standard for future agreements with the Province of Manitoba that respects the First Nations principles Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP®) and First Nations data sovereignty.
- The number of positive First Nations COVID-19 cases are based on voluntary self declaration of status and non status and linking to the Indian Status Registry.
- The parameters of the agreement further outline how First Nations data is accessed, how reports are generated and how information is shared, and respects all applicable privacy and information laws. The agreement was negotiated to ensure data accuracy to inform pandemic planning and preparedness and confirm the willingness of parties to work together at various levels to support First Nations data sovereignty.
- Information on the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 for First Nations citizens living in Manitoba will be released through the Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team every Friday starting May 15, 2020.
Anyone with further questions regarding the information sharing agreement or the role of HIRGC can contact Leona Star, Director of Research, First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba at [email protected] or (204) 9469739.
Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team (PRCT) Bulletin
As of Friday, May 15 at 7:00 am, the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team (PRTC) advised that:
- since March 13, 2020,16 cases of COVID-19, all lab-confirmed, have been identified among First Nations citizens residing off-reserve in Manitoba.
Of the 16 cases:
- 14 people in Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA)
- 1 person in the Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA)
- 1 person in the Southern Health-Sante Sud (SHSS)
- The number of active cases is 2
- The number of recovered cases is 14
- The number of currently hospitalized cases is 0
- The number of deaths among First Nations people due to COVID-19 is 0.
- 13 female and 3 male
- The age range of positive people: 1-69
- Most people in the 20-29 age group (same as rest of MB)
- Travel-acquired cases: 27% (in comparison to 24% for other Manitobans)
- Acquisition through contact with a known positive case: 73% (in comparison to 56% for other Manitobans)
- Average time from symptom onset until testing: 6 days (same as the rest of MB)
First Nation On-reserve Testing
- As of May 12, a total of 1488 tests were conducted for First Nations people living on-reserve.
- Information on First Nations people tested at locations other than Nursing Stations or Federal Hospitals will be provided in future bulletins as this information becomes available.
Preliminary analysis suggests that the number of cases that are occurring in First Nations people continues to rise.
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.
All First Nations people in Manitoba (on and off-reserve) are asked to continue to follow safety measures as directed by Provincial public health officials and in your communities.
Heading into the long weekend the PRCT encourages people to continue to be diligent about following the effective public health measures to keep the spread low and minimize the risks:
- No gatherings over 10 people
- Follow physical distancing whenever outside your home
- If you’re going to visit, be outside as much as possible (and still less than 10 people)
- Wash your hands frequently
- Limit non-essential travel outside of or between communities
If you have symptoms that could be from COVID-19 don’t wait more than 1-2 days to get tested. 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.
Manitoba government COVID-19 measures can be found at: https://manitoba.ca/bg/2020/04/covid19.html.
Please visit any of the following websites for more information and resources on COVID-19