Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver and Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson announced, from Edmonton on Monday, February 1, 2021, an expansion of outreach programs and supports to limit the spread of COVID-19. All Albertans are now eligible to receive self-isolation supports to help limit the spread of COVID-19. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver and Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson announced, from Edmonton on Monday, February 1, 2021, an expansion of outreach programs and supports to limit the spread of COVID-19. All Albertans are now eligible to receive self-isolation supports to help limit the spread of COVID-19. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta expands self-isolation hotel initiative to include First Nations and rural communities

LJI —The program was made to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among people living in crowded houses.

  • Feb. 2, 2021 1:10 p.m.

Story from Local Journalism Initiative

Alberta Native News

By Jacob Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

(ANN)-All Albertans, including First Nations living on and off reserve, are now eligible to receive financial support in order to self-isolate. The program is for those who must isolate or quarantine and aren’t able to safely do so in their home. It includes a free-of-charge hotel room stay for up to 14 days with “culturally appropriate” food and a one-time payment of $625 for isolating.

The provincial government’s program was previously only available to those living in Edmonton or Calgary, but has now been expanded to include all of Alberta. The program was made to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among people living in crowded houses.

“This program came about as a result of community organizations within Calgary and Edmonton, initially, coming to government and saying we all know which neighbourhoods the COVID spread has been higher, and there’s a reason for that,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver.

“It’s because people are in living situations where they are not able to self-isolate, sometimes due to the number of people living in a household, sometimes multi-generational households.”

“Expanding the isolation benefit will help more Albertans keep themselves and their families safe,” Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver said.

According to McIver, 850 Albertans have taken advantage of the program since it was introduced in December.

Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson mentioned that this was the case for many First Nations who have had it “especially rough lately” in regards to COVID-19 cases.

“Living conditions are sometimes strained,” he said. “You have multi-generational families living together, and so it’s hard to isolate. So this program is really going to allow them to still be able to have that support and take their family members that are suffering from COVID and isolate them from the rest of the family.”

Chief Ivan Sawan of the Loon River First Nation, which is about 400 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, spoke about how some households in his Nation have 10 to 15 people living in them at any given time. “That’s been the primary reason why the spike of COVID-19 within First Nations communities … trying to keep our people safe from COVID-19 has been a challenge itself,” he said.

“It’s going to alleviate some of the pressures, that our people are able to isolate in a hotel.”

Alberta has had 5,048 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on First Nations reserves as of Jan. 29, according to Indigenous Services Canada, which is the most COVID-19 cases in any province for First Nations in Canada.

The rate of reported cases of COVID-19 in First Nations living on reserve is currently 40 per cent higher than the rate in the general Canadian population.

Reserves across Canada have had 16,376 confirmed cases since the pandemic began. More than 13,300 people have recovered and 157 have died, according to Indigenous Services Canada.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

County of Paintearth
County of Paintearth, Towns of Castor and Coronation to strike committee reviewing recreational funding

‘We want everybody to be able to use (the recreation facilities)’

Supporters gather outside GraceLife Church near Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday, April 11, 2021. The church has been fenced off by police and Alberta Health Services in violation of COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hundreds gather to support Alberta church shut down for ignoring COVID-19 orders

GraceLife Church and its pastor, are charged for holding services that break health restrictions

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,183 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

50.5% of all active cases are variants of concern

File photo
A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Alberta meat plant, site of COVID-19 outbreak last year, to get vaccination clinics

Nearly half of the 2,200 workers at the Cargill facility contracted the novel coronavirus and two employees died last April

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Stettler’s own Renegade Station is kicking off the spring season with a brand new single - to be released April 9th. (Photo submitted)
A brand new single is on the way from Stettler-based band Renegade Station

Free Free Free hits all streaming platforms on April 9th

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau waits for a virtual meeting to begin with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ottawa, Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ottawa mulls exempting more workers from Canada-U.S. border shutdown: Garneau

Canada-U.S. border has been closed to people travelling for vacations and other non-essential visits since March 2020

A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls: Statistics Canada

Figure released this morning outpaced the 259,000 gain seen in February

FILE - This file photo dated July 10, 1947 shows the official photograph of Britain’s Princess Elizabeth and her fiance, Lieut. Philip Mountbatten in London. Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died aged 99. (AP Photo/File)
Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99

Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16

Campbell River city council will continue its 2020 policy of waiving late fees and NSFs. (Mirror File photo)
53% of Canadians teetering the brink of insolvency: survey

A majority of Canadians admit they’re just $200 away from not being able to pay their monthly bills

Most Read