Mandryk: Northern outbreak opportunity to support La Loche, First Nations

Article content continued

Of the 72 active COVID-19 cases in this province as of Monday, there are only 20 (10 in Regina, seven in Saskatoon and three in southern rural) in areas that account for the vast bulk of the province’s population.

Forty-two of the active 72 cases  are in the far north and 29 are in La Loche. With a population of 2,827 population —  0.2 per cent of Saskatchewan’s 1,181,666 people — La Loche now accounts for 40 per cent of the province’s active COVID-19 cases.

Simply put, the government can no longer afford to ignore La Loche — something it has done for decades.

Long before the COVID-19 outbreak, this was a community plagued with poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, over-crowding and housing shortages that were clearly contributing to mental health issues and a suicide rate of 27.9 per 100,000 people — far in excess of the provincial rate (18.7 suicides per 100,000).