The federal government is contributing $2.3 million in funding to the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 outbreak in northwestern Saskatchewan.
A press release posted on the Indigenous Services Canada website Wednesday night says the money will support the North West Saskatchewan Pandemic Response Plan — a partnering of First Nation, Métis, municipal, provincial, and federal officials responding to the growing COVID-19 caseload in the region.
According to the Saskatchewan government’s website, 149 of the 186 active cases in the province were in that area at the time of publication.
“It’s a start ,” Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) Chief Richard Ben told Global News.
“We know this virus isn’t going to go away tomorrow.”
The MLTC and Métis Nation–Saskatchewan have been “exemplary” leaders in the response to the outbreak, states the Indigenous Services Canada press release.
Ben said he is pleased to see the northern leaders acknowledged.
“They’re doing a hard job, a tough job right now through a really critical time and they’re doing they’re best,” he said.
“Basically, all the north is working together right now with combating this virus.”
The money will be jointly administered to complement initiatives already underway, from supporting entrance and exit checkpoints to addressing food insecurity to providing homecare supplies.
While Ben said it’s too early to know if the funding, which will cover a two-month span will be enough, the groups are grateful for the assistance.
“Hopefully, we could have some results and some good positive results,” he said.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.