August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Tar sands coronavirus outbreak kills two Dene elders


Agnes McDonald died from coronavirus spread from a tar sands man camp.
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The coronavirus outbreak spread by tar sands workers has killed two Dene elders and is spreading widely by workers that are returning home. Canada failed to contain the spread from the man camp. Two Dene elders in a La Loche care home have died from the virus spread from the man camp near Fort McMurray.

"By the end of April, workers from Kearl had unwittingly spread COVID-19 to a remote northern Saskatchewan Dene village, starting an outbreak that killed two elders, and into a long-term care home in British Columbia. Cases have also been reported in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. The outbreak now spans 106 cases in five provinces, including Alberta," reports National Observer.

The Globe and Mail reports, "An outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan’s far north is considered one of the most alarming scenarios in the country, with more than 150 cases confirmed, including in vulnerable Indigenous communities.

"As of Thursday, there were 167 positive cases of COVID-19 in the region, which extends north over a large geographic area from the town of La Ronge. The caseload has been particularly high in La Loche, a Dene village of more than 2,800 people about 600 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

Health officials in Saskatchewan have confirmed that some of the COVID-19 cases in La Loche are linked to travel from a Kearl Lake oil sands work camp north of Fort McMurray, Alta.​​


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