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How the Canadian Red Cross in Manitoba is helping during the pandemic

Click to play video '“Concerning trend,” number of Manitoba First Nations people with COVID-19 reaches all-time high' “Concerning trend,” number of Manitoba First Nations people with COVID-19 reaches all-time high
The total number of Manitoba First Nations people infected with COVID-19 reached 339 on Monday. Global's Erik Pindera looks into what's happening – Oct 21, 2020

The Red Cross in Manitoba is offering up services to help First Nations communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve been invited by the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team to help the health teams already there with COVID-19 testing,” said Jason Small of the Canadian Red Cross, Manitoba and Nunavut Division.

“We’re also helping with transportation, training on proper use of personal protective equipment. We also did training on the prevention of disease transmission,” Small told Global News Morning.

The Red Cross is also helping to provide space to those who may not be able to properly self-isolate in First Nations communities.

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“We’re helping to look after those who can’t self isolate in their homes within their community. We help provide lodging, food and recreation. We also provide any medical attention they need while isolating during the specified time frame,” said Small.

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Read more: Manitoba chief calls increasing COVID-19 cases on reserves a ‘wake-up call’

The Red Cross is helping to fill the gaps where more assistance may be needed during the pandemic.

“It was recently announced we will help with contact tracing in Manitoba. In Quebec, we’ve supplied workforce support in long-term care homes,” he said.

“It’s finding out what’s needed and how we can realistically support. We’re working with governments to see how we can support the people in need.”

Read more: Ontario government deciding which long-term care homes to get Red Cross support

The support for First Nations communities comes as cases continue to spike in remote communities.

“It’s a wake-up call for all of us,” said Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.

There have been 179 COVID-19 cases among First Nations people in Manitoba as of last week, according to the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team.

—With files from The Canadian Press