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Bearskin Lake First Nation in Ontario asks for military help with COVID outbreak

THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

An Ontario First Nation is requesting military assistance amid a COVID-19 outbreak that has infected half of its on-reserve population and “crippled” daily operations.

Bearskin Lake First Nation says 174 people have tested positive, including people in essential jobs with administration and maintenance units for the band.

Read more: Ontario moves schools to online learning, bans indoor dining and issues new COVID capacity restrictions

The First Nation says most households are quarantining and need deliveries of food, water, chopped wood and medication, and the community does not have space to host testing or isolation centres.

Chief Lefty Kamenawatamin says resources are being stretched to a breaking point.

Kamenawatamin says the community has asked for financial support from the federal government but resources offered so far have been “minimal.”

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The community 425 kilometres north of Sioux Lookout, Ont., declared a state of emergency last week due to the outbreak.

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