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

File photo
Alberta’s central zone has 670 active cases

301 new cases identified Sunday

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

4-H Alberta Logo
Rimbey 4-H Club holds virtual public speaking event

Club members submitted their speeches and performances in video format for judging this year.

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

People line up outside a vaccine clinic as seniors wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton Alta, on Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Health Services head sorry for glitches in vaccine booking system for seniors

AHS president said technical issues have been fixed and a virtual waiting room is in place

Vandalism is shown on Alberta NDP MLA Janis Irwin’s constituency office in Edmonton in this handout photo on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney quickly condemned vandalism at an Opposition legislature member Janis Irwin’s Edmonton office after the MLA posted pictures showing her front window spray-painted with the words “Antifa Liar.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Janis Irwin *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

Edmonton MLA Janis Irwin posted pictures showing the front window spray-painted with the words ‘Antifa Liar’

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Most Read