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

Supporters gather during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop cafe in Mirror Alta, on Saturday May 8, 2021. The Whistle Stop was shut down by AHS for not complying with COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police hand out tickets to dozens leaving anti-lockdown protest in Alberta

Hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Café in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta.

Oval Race track at Central Alberta Raceway. (Photo Submitted)
Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey delays opening after health restrictions expand

Central Alberta Raceways had originally planned to open for the season at the end of May

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Alberta leads the Prairie provinces in being the first to take COVID-19 vaccine bookings for pre-teens. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta leads Prairie provinces in accepting COVID vaccine bookings for pre-teens

The province begins accepting appointments for kids as young as 12 starting today

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
Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

File photo
Arrest made for armed robbery in Millet, Wetaskiwin RCMP continue to investigate

Wetaskiwin RCMP are investigating an armed robbery took place May 4, 2021 in Millet, Alta.

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read