Canadian Rangers still tasked with helping communities deal with COVID-19

Canada’s Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan says the Canadian Rangers are continuing to work in several Indigenous communities to help with the battle against COVID-19.

At present, Canadian Rangers have been helping in Nunavik and Innu communities in Quebec and northern Saskatchewan.

The Canadian Armed Forces has also helped ship COVID-19 tests to Nunavut, the only jurisdiction without a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country.

“They are educating people about physical distancing, supporting the work of health care personnel and assisting with the delivery of community owned supplies,” Sajjan said at a news conference in Ottawa Friday morning.

At the government’s daily briefing with cabinet ministers and public health officials, the government announced that a different kind of COVID-19 test was being used in some Indigenous communities.

“For example were particularly interested in northern Saskatchewan right now and they have this test called the gene expert which they can do close to where an outbreak is happening in the sort of Laloche area for example,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health doctor.

Tam said the gene expert test has proven useful in areas far from the country’s laboratories.

She says more tests are coming along with mental health supports and a hotline for children and youth.

“Anything we provide should be culturally appropriate and that is in consultation with the communities but I do know that some of the available tools or materials have been developed by individual communities,” said Tam.

Tam stressed that maintaining a social distance is imperative for the country to beat the virus.

 

Reporter / Ottawa

Originally from the Cree Nation of Chisasibi on the eastern coast of James Bay, Quebec, Jamie has lived in Ottawa since 2015. Trained in journalism at Carleton University, he has worked as a freelance print journalist and as a writer/researcher for the Cree unit of CBC North out of Montreal. Jamie was hired as the reporter/correspondent for the Ottawa bureau in October 2019.