Military lands in Shamattawa First Nation to aid with COVID-19 outbreak
Canadian Armed Forces say the military is doing an assessment on how to proceed next
A Hercules military aircraft from the Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Shamattawa First Nation Wednesday afternoon to assist with the community's COVID-19 outbreak.
Indigenous Services Canada said medics and additional rangers will conduct a full assessment over the next 48 hours to determine what additional resources are required to meet the community's needs.
"As the emergency at Shamattawa First Nation evolves, we will continue to work closely with the nation and all partners," the statement from the federal government reads.
Canada's Department of National Defence said the liaison and reconnaissance team was dispatched from the forces' base in Shilo, Man. to rapidly assess the situation.
As of Wednesday, 48 people have been removed from the community and sent to Winnipeg to isolate, according to a statement from ISC. The federal government says it's working with the First Nation to secure more isolation accommodations.
On Tuesday, Shamattawa Chief Eric Redhead wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling on the federal government to move elders out of the remote, fly-in community, located 745 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
The letter was also signed by Grand Chief Garrison Settee of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, a political advocacy group that represents 30 northern Manitoba First Nations.
Redhead said 25 per cent of the community, which has approximately 1,300 people, have tested positive for the virus.
Four members of the Canadian Red Cross are also there to assist with the COVID-19 response efforts.