The federal government says it is contributing $2.3 million in funding to support a response plan in northern Saskatchewan that is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in the region.
Indigenous Services Canada said in a news release Wednesday night that the money will go to the North West Saskatchewan Pandemic Response Plan, which includes First Nation, Metis, municipal, provincial and federal officials.
There is a COVID-19 outbreak in the province’s La Loche area, which includes the village of La Loche and the nearby Clearwater River Dene Nation.
The government of Saskatchewan says 149 out of the 186 active cases are in the northern part of the province, which includes the La Loche area.
The money will be used for security checkpoints throughout the area, provision of home care supplies, “measures to address food security” and youth engagement.
The outbreak has claimed two lives, elders in their 80s who were residents of long-term care homes. It has also resulted in restrictions in the area, with travel permitted only for essentials like medical appointments or to buy groceries.
The province’s chief medical health officer has also banned gatherings of more than 10 people.
The Saskatchewan government initially reported that the cause of the outbreak was connected to an oilsands camp in northern Alberta at Kearl Lake. The more recent cases in the outbreak have been linked to community transmission.
Health workers are currently in the La Loche area with mobile testing units and the plan is to test every one of the more than 700 households in the area.