A northern MLA said it’s a day late and a dollar short in how the province is reacting to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the north as more cases continue to appear.
As the province works to reopen parts of the economy, a travel ban has been imposed on all on-critical movement in the entire north and travel between communities is discouraged.
Athabasca MLA Buckley Belanger said Northern leaders for weeks have asked for a travel ban to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Now there are 32 active cases, including 24 in the La Loche and Clearwater River Dene Nation.
An elder, identified as 83-year-old Joseph Sylvestre, a long-term care resident in that community died Sunday in North Battleford hospital from complications of the coronavirus.
La Loche said more presumptive cases have been identified through contact tracing and could be confirmed today as the community awaits test results.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nation wanted greater screening for southern health care workers and more personal protective equipment in the North.
Belanger said throughout the pandemic, the provincial government has shown a lack of leadership towards north and its needs.
The government is responding by restricting travel, opening up isolation units in the La Loche school, mobile units and social housing in that community.
A rapid testing machine has been deployed to La Loche with testing expected to increase.
Northern mayors said the province has not offered any additional money to help provide relief to their residents and businesses impacted by COVID-19, and estimate $10 million is needed now.
Premier Scott Moe said he just recently heard of the financial request and will work with communities to provide whatever supports needed to combat the virus.