The City of Thunder Bay says over 50 evacuees from the Red Lake community have arrived safely in the area, and city staff are preparing to host another 200 evacuated residents from Eabametoong First Nation, also known as Fort Hope.

“Thunder Bay is a willing partner in responding to the needs of our neighbours as they face this dire situation,” said Mayor Bill Mauro.

“We have, though, advised the Province of our limitations due to the strain on our emergency medical services when it comes to hosting vulnerable populations who may require increased medical care, especially as we continue to respond to COVID-19. We are counting on other communities to also step forward to assist during this emergency.”

Red Lake residents have evacuated to communities, lodges and private residences across the region, in Thunder Bay, Red Lake, Kenora, Dryden, Machin, Vermilion Bay and many more.

Fort Hope First Nation residents have been evacuating vulnerable populations as quickly as possible, as a separate forest fire is threatening the community of 1,300.

“We have been in discussions with Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health, as it relates to the arrival and hosting of additional people within the city during a pandemic,” said Norm Gale, City Manager.

“COVID-19 prevention measures are in place in Thunder Bay and evacuees will abide by the health and safety measures in our community to keep the evacuees safe, given that they have no active COVID-19 cases in their communities. This again puts extra pressure on our emergency services during these unprecedented times.”

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has reported 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their area, and 99 of those cases are considered resolved. There has been one death reported from the illness.

Emergency responders in Thunder Bay are continuing to meet to assess next steps in the situation.

For more information:
Thunder Bay to host evacuees