Thunder Bay

Canadian Rangers assist with COVID-19 outbreak at Lac Seul First Nation

A First Nation in northwestern Ontario will get some help dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak from the Canadian Rangers.

Lac Seul one of dozens of First Nations requesting help with pandemic

Lt. Col. Shane McArthur, the commanding officer of the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group says dozens of communities have requested help from the Rangers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Canadian Forces)

A First Nation in northwestern Ontario will get some help dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak from the Canadian Rangers.

Lac Seul First Nation, which has three settlements in its territory, is located between 40 and 65 km from Sioux Lookout.

As of May 5, the community said it has 17 cases of COVID-19. Chief and council declared a state of emergency earlier in the week due to a high number of cases.

Lt. Col Shane McArthur, the commanding officer of the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, said the Rangers have provided support in many other communities.

"We have done literally dozens of requests for assistance in COVID outbreaks in multiple communities and our remote communities … we have in the last year been supporting quite a number of COVID outbreaks in the same manner that we are in Lac Seul. It's multiple communities."

In Lac Seul, the Rangers will act as community liaisons, assist with a command post, transport people to and from medical appointments and distribute information.

McArthur said another key role is supporting those who cannot get around easily, as the community is in a lockdown.

"Making sure that the vulnerable community members are taken care of, they're checked in on. The elders have food, water and they're not being forgotten about … and they still have access, because the community has established a lockdown." 

Lac Seul said on its website that if groceries are purchased and paid for, the Rangers would be able to do deliveries within the community in an attempt to encourage community members to stay home.

McArthur said the Rangers, who are all from Lac Seul and Sioux Lookout, would continue their duties until May 18. He said the need to be active in the community would be constantly evaluated.

"We're always here to try and help the communities. I'm very proud of our Rangers and what they do and how well they react to the needs and wants of their communities."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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