Weekly COVID-19 Update

Confirmed Cases & Transmission
First Nations in Ontario
There have been no new cases of COVID-19 reported in First Nation communities in the month of August 2020. This week, there are three new cases amongst First Nation people living outside of communities. Cumulative testing rate in First Nations remains higher than across Ontario and the relative positivity rate remains slightly lower than mainstream Ontario’s. More information on First Nation cases and testing is contained in the attached “The First Nation COVID-19 Testing Report 20.”

Ontario General
Ontario has an average of just over 106 new cases daily, which is an increase of 10% from last week. On September 2, 2020, Ontario reported 133 new cases of COVID-19. This is a slight increase from the 112 and 113 new cases reported on Monday and Tuesday of this week. New cases are concentrated in the Toronto, Peel, Windsor-Essex, Durham, and York Regions. As of September 2, 2020, 29 of the province’s 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases and 20 are reporting no new cases at all. The majority of new cases (57%) are people aged 40 and under. Fifty-five percent of new cases are reported to be contacts with a confirmed case. The remainder of new cases are linked to travel or have no known source. Provincial reports indicate that a total of 42,309 Ontarians have contracted COVID-19. Nearly 90% of these cases have recovered while 2,811 (just over 6%) have resulted in death. Hospitalizations this week are up by about 30% though there are still less than 50 COVID-19 patients currently in hospital.The reproductive rate for the province remains the same as it was the previous two weeks, sitting at 1.1. This is slightly above the goal of less than one, required for the disease to die out. To monitor updated case numbers and demographic breakdowns of COVID-19 in the province, access the Ontario Public Health data tool here: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/data-and-analysis/infectious-disease/covid-19-data-surveillance/covid-19-data-tool

Confirmed Cases and Transmissions across Canada
Canada has 129,245 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 5,686 currently active. Just over 114,600 people have now recovered from the virus and 9,132 have died. The vast majority of cases in the country are located in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. More specific demographic information and regularly updated numbers for Canada are available here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

As of August 29, 2020, there are 438 cumulative COVID-19 cases confirmed amongst First Nations people living on-reserves across Canada with nine additional cases were reported this past week in the province of Quebec. Out of the total cumulative cases on reserves across Canada, 418 have now recovered. More specific demographic information is available here: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1589895506010/1589895527965

Border Closures
The Government of Canada has extended the Canada-U.S. border until September 21, 2020 for non-essential travel. International travel suspension orders limiting non-essential travelers and non-citizens from entering the country have also been extended until September 30, 2020 with the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine remaining for all individuals entering Canada internationally.

Ontario Re-opening
Stage 3
The vast majority of Ontario has been in stage 3 of re-opening for four weeks. To date, there are no jurisdictions in Ontario that have reversed re-opening measures despite minor increases in cases. Social gatherings are still limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and a maximum of 100 people for outdoors. Physical distancing requirements must remain in place during all gatherings for those who are not part of the established same social bubble. Ontario continues to strongly recommend wearing masks in all indoor spaces, public transit, or where physical distancing is a challenge. Masking bylaws are implemented in many regions of the province to make these recommendations mandatory. It is recommended to look the up the masking requirements in your local area. More information on proper mask use is available here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/face-coverings-and-face-masks

Federal Funding Support
A summary of funding allocated to First Nation communities from federal sources is provided in the attached document called “COVID-19 Funding Allocation Summary.” An update on new funding announcements is provided below. Indigenous Public Health Support
Indigenous Services Canada has dedicated $285 million to assisting Indigenous communities in accessing additional public health support during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding can be accessed by First Nations communities and organizations that deliver community-based services in response to COVID-19 public health needs. In case of outbreaks, this funding can be accessed for surge capacity and additional support for similar services in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. This funding is part of the $650 million announced in May 2020 that was to support Indigenous communities with current COVID-19 needs and to prepare for a potential second wave. More information on the public health support fund is available here: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1584819394157/1584819418553

Indigenous Community Support Fund – Phase II
Indigenous Services Canada is providing $305 million to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis leadership across Canada for COVID-19 response measures. The funding can be used for a variety of COVID-19 response measures, such as, supporting Elders and vulnerable community members, addressing food insecurity, educational and other supports for children, mental health assistance, and emergency response, and spread prevention services.Funds are to be transferred directly to First Nations in same way Phase I funds were in March 2020. The allocation will be smaller because a portion of the funding pot is set aside for a needs-based application process. Details on this process are forthcoming.More information about this fund is available here: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1585189335380/1585189357198

Indigenous Community Business Fund
Indigenous Services Canada is allocating $117 million nationally with $8.8 million going to Ontario to support Indigenous community businesses in instances where other federal business assistance is not applicable. It is intended for non-repayable contributions to support operating costs for businesses to allow them to strengthen operations and position them for recovery post pandemic. It is up to First Nation leadership to determine their priorities for the funding but, reporting requirements will seek details regarding which businesses and sectors were supported, which jobs were maintained, and the amounts received by the businesses supported. The allocation methodology for this fund is the same as that used for the Indigenous Community Support Fund. An email should have been received by First Nations to this effect. If your First Nation has not yet received an email, it is recommended to contact Indigenous Services Canada.Stream 2 of this fund is application based. Indigenous Services Canada will be reaching out to provide details of this application process.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Update

On September 27th, the Government of Canada will implement the following:
• Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit: anyone who must stay home to care for a loved one or family member because school, daycare, or care facilities are closed or deemed too high risk can receive $500 a week for up to 26 weeks.
• Canada Recovery Benefit: workers who are self-employed and cannot resume or return to work will be eligible to receive $400 per week for up to 26 weeks.
• Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: workers who are ill or must self-isolate due to COVID-19-related reasons will be eligible to receive $500 per week for up to two weeks.For more information visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/08/supporting-canadians-through-the-next-phase-of-the-economy-re-opening-increased-access-to-ei-and-recovery-benefits.html

Information & Resources
InfoPoint A single point of contact for credible and reliable info on COVID-19. Health managers can call or email to ask specific questions. Toll free: 1-855-446-2719 or Email: Infopoint@fnhma.ca Ontario COVID-19 website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus

Canada COVID-19 website: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Chiefs of Ontario COVID-19 webpage: https://chiefsofontario.wordpress.com/

COVID-19 Tracking App Access the national voluntary COVID-19 notification app download and more information on its uses here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/covid-alert.html

Red Cross Support The Canadian Red Cross has developed a virtual help desk to assist Indigenous communities in their COVID-19 responses. This help desk is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CST), 7 days a week at: 1-833-937-1597.