The federal government announced $2.3 million in COVID-19 support funding for the La Loche area on Wednesday.
The money will flow through the Meadow Lake Tribal Council and the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan through the newly established North West Saskatchewan Pandemic Response Plan.
There is a localized outbreak in the La Loche area, which includes the village of La Loche and the nearby Clearwater River Dene Nation.
The money will be utilized for security checkpoints throughout the area, provision of home care supplies, “measures to address food security” and youth engagement.
There are 149 active cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan’s far north region, which includes the La Loche area. There were 186 active cases throughout the entire province, as of Wednesday.
The community outbreak has claimed two lives, elders in their 80s and both residents of long-term care homes. The situation in the far north has resulted in travel restrictions in the area, with travel permitted for essentials only like medical appointments or to buy groceries.
A public health order was also put in place by the province’s chief medical health officer, which bans gatherings of more than 10 people.
The Saskatchewan government initially reported that the cause of the outbreak had been connected to an oilsands camp in northern Alberta at Kearl Lake. The more recent cases in the outbreak have been linked to community transmission.
Health workers are currently in the La Loche area with mobile testing units and the plan is to test every one of the more than 700 households in the area.