[Anglican Journal (Anglican Church of Canada)] The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PRWDF) is distributing $80,000 to 14 Indigenous communities stricken by COVID-19’s Omicron variant in northern Manitoba and Ontario.
The aid will go toward providing masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and food for communities where supplies are scarce and medical care is hours away by car or plane.
PWRDF began looking for communities in need when Isaiah Beardy, suffragan bishop of Northern Manitoba, called to let the agency know his area, Tataskweyak Cree Nation, declared a state of emergency. The community went into lockdown Jan. 3, announcing 230 cases of COVID-19 out of a population of 3,000 people.
“Earlier in the pandemic there were churches even from the Toronto area — they sent us masks and they really helped initially,” says Beardy. “But now [with] Omicron they’re calling for these special [N-95] masks. They’re hard to get.” In nearby Thompson, Manitoba, he says, people came from miles around to line up outside a local liquor store that was giving out masks in –45-degree (Celsius) weather.