March 19, 2020

Measures for Community Preparedness


ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — Since the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) declared a State of Emergency on Tuesday, March 17, 2019, the Government of Canada has made several announcements related to financial support for First Nations.

“SCO continues to advocate with the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba to try to ensure that SCO-member communities concerns are at the forefront, and that Chiefs and our communities have the supports, services and funding we need to properly prepare,” stated Grand Chief Jerry Daniels.

For health system navigation and support within WRHA facilities and Health Sciences Centre, Indigenous patients and families may contact Indigenous Health at 204-940-8880 or 1-877-940-8880 or by email at  Hours of operation are 8:00 am to 6:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Indigenous Services Canada will provide additional funds that will flow directly to First Nations including:

  • $25,000 for each community to purchase cleaning supplies, including additional funding for cleaning kits for each home and cleaning for Personal Care Homes
  • One time top up to social assistance for April to provide additional dollars for food security
  • Overtime costs associated with water delivery and sewage workers
  • Supports for mental health during this difficult time
  • Flexibility to allow redirection of resources to the current priorities

First Nations Inuit Health Branch advises that:

  • Completed Pandemic plans will enable First Nations to access additional pandemic response funds
  • Three day Red Cross planning with all First Nations concludes on Thursday, March 19, 2020

SCO supports the advice of health care officials for SCO-member communities to do the following:

  • Promote social distancing and slow the spread of the virus by postponing all gatherings until further notice, including closing schools, day cares, and other programs
  • Limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus to our most vulnerable people including Elders and personal care homes
  • Plan for the possible influx of the virus by preparing empty schools and buildings for health care delivery or spaces of self-isolation

Manitoba now has nine dedicated testing sites for COVID-19. There are four sites in Winnipeg, as well as locations in Brandon, Thompson, Flin Flon, The Pas and Selkirk. Additional locations are expected to open in the coming days including drive-thru locations in Winnipeg and Steinbach. The new drive-thru in Winnipeg will open in the coming days at the Manitoba Public Insurance Bison Drive Service Centre at 15 Barnes Street (intersection of Barnes Street and Bison Drive) in south Winnipeg, while the Steinbach location will open Friday morning at the Community Health Services Building at 365 Reimer Avenue.

Any person concerned about their exposure to or risk of having COVID-19 should call Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257 before arriving at a testing site.

“Together, we will get through this,” said Grand Chief Daniels. “We are strong and resilient, and we know in difficult times that we can rely on each other for support. Thank you to our dedicated health leaders and staff as they work around the clock to prepare our communities.”

SCO reminds community members of the COVID-19 Screening Tool: Experiencing symptoms? Take a self-assessment.

The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations in what is now called southern Manitoba.  SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes and enhances First Nations inherent rights, languages, customs and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.




For Media Inquiries:

Vic Savino, Communications Officer, Southern Chiefs’ Organization

Winnipeg Sub-Office: (204) 946-1869 | Email: