How Red Cross is responding to COVID-19 in Manitoba

Red Cross worker packing boxes

In Manitoba, the Canadian Red Cross has been helping communities prepare to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting First Nation communities

With our extensive work over recent years with First Nations across the province in the areas of emergency response, first aid and water safety training, community support and violence education, the Red Cross has developed strong, collaborative relationships with First Nation communities. With these relationships and our expertise, the Canadian Red Cross has become uniquely situated to collaborate with First Nation communities in Manitoba in the area of emergency preparedness.

The Red Cross started in March by reaching out to each of the province’s 63 First Nations, on behalf of Indigenous Services Canada – First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, to see if community leadership would be interested in receiving supplies to support any pandemic response. Almost all First Nations expressed interest in receiving the supplies, which the Red Cross has been procuring and distributing, on behalf of Indigenous Services Canada – First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.

The supplies include items for isolation kits, which was something communities said they needed. The isolation kits include cots, blankets, pillows and hygiene kits, and would be used if communities had to set-up self-isolation centres for individuals who need to be separated temporarily from other members of their residence due to COVID-19.

The Red Cross has also been procuring and delivering supplies for support workers in the communities to use in self-isolation centres. These supplies include gloves, paper towels, masks, antiseptic wipes, gowns, hand sanitizer, face cloths, bath towels and thermometers.

Working with leadership

When the global pandemic was declared in March, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, along with other First Nations leadership partners, initiated the Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team (MFNPRCT), to focus on COVID-19 preparedness and response. The Canadian Red Cross has been a partner in this team right from the beginning.

The Canadian Red Cross has provided support and expertise, as requested by First Nations leadership, in supporting the work of the MFNPRCT since March. This organization continues to provide support where it is needed by First Nations in the province.

Virtually supporting those impacted by small-scale disasters

The Canadian Red Cross continues to help those people dealing with small-scale disasters, such as house fires, during the pandemic. In the past, much of this work was done face-to-face, but the team has implemented a new set of protocols that allows it to ensure people receive the support they need while still maintaining proper levels of physical distancing. Most of this support is now done virtually through phone and digital response.

How you can help

The Canadian Red Cross is prepared and ready to support Canadians now during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the spring and summer as we anticipate floods, wildfires and other disasters that will affect families and communities. The best way you can support our work is with a donation now to the Canadian Emergencies & COVID-19 Response Fund.

Additional resources