Canada's NDP


December 8th, 2020

Federal government response to Shamattawa grossly inadequate: nightmare scenario a reality.

Thompson – Shamattawa is dealing with a devastating outbreak of COVID-19 that is getting worse by the hour. There are now 264 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a community of just over 1000 people. There is the very real concern that COVID-19 has spread throughout the community. This is one of the worst Covid 19 outbreaks in Canada. This is nothing less than the nightmare scenario for the people of Shamattawa.

People had hope late last week when the community was told that the military would be assisting them. The community is reporting that not one member of the Armed Forces has arrived in the community. There are six local members of the Rangers in the community who are already involved in the pandemic response. This is not acceptable. Outside specialized military help is needed now.

There is the very real concern that the federal government is not recognizing the severity of the spread in Shamattawa. They have sent in five members of the Red Cross and have committed to sending in members of the Bear Clan. The community is making it clear much more needs to be done.

The Federal ministers and the Federal government have acknowledged there is a problem. They must now recognize - this is a crisis.

The Federal Government must immediately:

  • Recognize that COVID-19 may have spread throughout Shamattawa. Treat this as the crisis it is.
  • Evacuate vulnerable people out immediately to Winnipeg where they can be close to specialized medical care including Intensive Care Units. This includes Elders, diabetics, TB patients and other members in vulnerable situations.
  • Send military support into the community to assist with medical needs including testing and tracing as well as self-isolation infrastructure.
  • Support the community to ensure enforcement of Public Health Orders.

This is matter of life and death for a community that already faces a spread of tuberculosis, high rates of diabetes, overcrowded housing, and isolation. This is a community that has virtually no health resources to deal with one of the worst Covid 19 outbreaks in Canada.

Time is of the essence The Federal Government must immediately pull out all the stops to save the lives of the people of Shamattawa.