Local Canadian Rangers from the Sahtú have been activated to help with the ongoing COVID outbreak, but the region is still awaiting more support.
Fort Good Hope Chief Tommy Kakfwi says the community’s two local Rangers have begun assisting, but are waiting for five additional staff to be activated.
On Aug. 21, Michael McLeod, NWT MP, issued a tweet saying he had spoken with Bill Blair, the public safety minister, about deploying Canadian Armed Forces personnel.
I have also been on the phone with Minister @BillBlair, and I am pleased to share that the Government of Canada is able to provide assistance via the deployment of @CanadianForces personnel to help with community response efforts.
— Michael McLeod (@MMcLeodNWT) August 21, 2021
Suzanne Nogue, public affairs officer with Joint Task Force North (JTFN), says in an email nine Canadian Rangers have been activated from patrols in Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells, Tulita, Délı̨nę and Colville Lake.
The Rangers are tasked with providing logistical support including transportation assistance, delivery of food, water and supplies to those in self-isolation.
Nogue says there is also one liaison officer from JTFN working with the Territory Emergency Management Office (TEMO) in Yellowknife. A second CAF member is expected to support TEMO planning.
The Rangers have been scheduled to provide support for 14 days, with two additional 14-day options for possible extensions.
The assistance falls under Operation LASER, the military’s response to COVID-19 outbreaks in remote communities.
Dene Nation is also providing support to the affected communities, as National Chief Norman Yakeleya says a COVID Rapid Response team has been established to help.
The team donated $7,500 for groceries, food for the Fort Good Hope Meals on Wheels Elders program, development of an online donation initiative for isolation activities such as puzzles for Elders, as well coloring books and crayons for youth.
The money went to Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake and Délı̨nę.
Additionally, Yakeleya says he has been in discussions with federal Indigenous services minister Marc Miller and Premier Caroline Cochrane about the situation.