COVID crisis has Bearskin Lake at breaking point: Chief – APTN

Jan 07, 2022

The chief of a northern Ontario First Nation says his members are simply worn out after dealing with a COVID-19 crisis that has been ravaging the community since late December.

“We’re almost at the breaking point,” Lefty Kamenawatamin says. “People are exhausted – emotionally and physically. We have close to 30 frontline workers doing everything from grocery shopping, hauling water, wood and everything that needs to be done in the community.”

About half the community’s 400 members are infected with the Omicron variant, he said.

Kamenawatamin has asked the federal government for a number of supports, including military assistance, but community leaders say Ottawa is not stepping up.

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) has given Bearskin Lake about $1.2 million in financial aid since the crisis began but former Nishnawbe-Aski Nation grand chief and community member Charles Fox says this isn’t nearly enough.

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