Manitoba First Nation to get military aid to battle COVID-19 outbreak, chief says

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A First Nation in northern Manitoba will be receiving military aid to battle its COVID-19 outbreak, the community’s chief told CBC News.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces visited Pimicikamak, also known as Cross Lake First Nation, last weekend to assess how best to help the COVID-19 outbreak there.

On Monday, Chief David Monias told CBC News via text message that 25 armed forces personnel will be dispatched to the First Nation of about 8,000 people, located about 530 kilometres north of Winnipeg. 

“That’s a big relief for our community,” said Donnie McKay, a Cross Lake band councillor responsible for health and social services.

As of Monday, Pimicikamak has 178 known active cases of COVID-19; 87 of those cases are children, according to a bulletin issued by the band office.

The community has had 260 total COVID-19 cases since Feb. 8, it says, adding that about 6.4 per cent of community members have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Nurses working at the community nursing station have been working around the clock and they’re getting tired, so the army’s arrival will lighten their load, said McKay.

“They will get the relief that they need — our nurses and doctors and our health staff…

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