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Feds announce $2.3M help to combat COVID-19 outbreak in northern Saskatchewan

OTTAWA — The federal government says it is contributing $2.3 million in funding to support a response plan in northern Saskatchewan dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in the region.

Indigenous Services Canada says 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.

The government of Saskatchewan says 149 out of the 186 active cases are in the northern part of the province.

It has said the virus was brought in via travel from an oilsands work camp in northern Alberta.

Indigenous Services Canada says the funds will be jointly administered and support ongoing community-based efforts, such as security checkpoints in affected communities, measures to address food security and the provision of homecare supplies.

The government agency says it will also work with affected communities to increase access to testing, enhanced surveillance and contact tracing.

"Meadow Lake Tribal Council and Metis Nation–Saskatchewan have undertaken exemplary collaboration in leading the response to this significant outbreak," the statement says.

"The safety and security of all is the number one priority and these funds will support measures to protect the vulnerable and help those who need it the most."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2020

The Canadian Press

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