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Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, holds a news conference in Ottawa on December 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, holds a news conference in Ottawa on December 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says Ottawa will spend $1.2 billion in new funding to help Indigenous communities keep fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes another $380 million for the Indigenous communities support fund to help First Nations deal with COVID-19, including providing support for elders, addressing food insecurity and supporting initiatives to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

It also includes $630 million for Indigenous communities to hire more staff, buy personal protective equipment and adapt existing facilities to deal with the pandemic.

Miller says $186 million will go to providing more home-care services to protect elders and other vulnerable community members.

There are 4,384 active COVID-19 cases in First Nations communities on reserve and a total of 11,502 confirmed cases since March.

The government has announced more than $4.2 billion in COVID-19 support to Indigenous communities and organizations since the beginning of the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2020

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.