Covid-19 Daily News Digest – March 17, 2020
- B.C.’s First Nations Health Authority looking to secure funding to use hotels as isolation quarters. Also asking work camps to stock up on supplies. https://thetyee.ca/News/2020/03/16/Northern-BC-Indigenous-Communities-Prepare-For-COVID-19/
- LNG is reducing staffing at work camps to lessen impacts on Indigenous communities and their operations. “The number of staff at our Kitimat site will be gradually reduced to half of current levels over the coming week.” https://www.lngcanada.ca/news/updated-our-response-to-potential-covid-19-risks/
- Chief Matthew Peigan began preparing for COVID-19 on JANUARY 7!!!!! This would be an amazing person to interview. He stockpiled cleaning and health supplies to keep his community safe for two weeks, and may initiate a lockdown if the situation worsens.
“He had the foresight to get in the order a week-and-a-half ago before the first case of COVID-19 hit, as he imagined that people would start panic-buying and stockpiling goods, which did happen an hour away in the city of Regina about a week after the order was placed.”
“That message of low risk — both from the government and in the public discourse — continued for weeks, but Peigan did not let that keep him from planning as he monitored the trends internationally.
“Even though I was watching it, I was also advising my staff at Pasqua First Nation as to the severity of this and that we should start doing preparation. We initiated our emergency response,” Peigan said. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/pasqua-first-nation-chief-prepare-lockdown-coronavirus-1.5499374
- Ontario launched www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus for citizens to self-diagnose and will open 17 testing and assessment facilities to keep the sick out of hospitals. “It’s unclear how these new measures will help First Nations, especially remote communities”
Province claims it is communicating with First Nations, but “Donny Morris, chief of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, said he hasn’t been in touch with the federal or provincial government. He said his community is implementing public safety measures and would use any support funds to ensure Elders and community members have access to traditional resources.”
“Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald reported there are zero cases of COVID-19 in First Nations. Along with preparedness measures, such as staying home as much as possible, developing a 14-day “pandemic kit”, and embracing social distancing, Archibald recommended seeking mental health supports and using the time to “get back to the land.” https://aptnnews.ca/2020/03/16/no-confirmed-covid-19-cases-in-ontario-first-nations-communities-as-province-rolls-out-preparedness-measures/
- Haida Gwaii, Takla Lake FN introduce ‘community self-isolation’ to avoid COVID infections. Haida leaders are asking all residents of, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to avoid travelling off-island and then returning.
- “It remains unclear what steps the federal government is taking to protect Indigenous communities from the global outbreak of COVID-19.” Lots of gobbledygook from politicians that the reporter couldn’t parse.
- Testing for coronavirus in London, Ontario, is being reserved for people sick enough to be hospitalized, health-care workers and people in Indigenous communities, the London area health unit says. Family doctors will not be able to offer or order the test. The health unit is working to establish a testing dedicated assessment site for COVID-19. https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/covid-19-101-your-primer-to-the-public-health-threat?refcon
- Soap for Hope is distributing recycled hand soap from hotels to Indigenous communities, as well as other marginalized groups. https://www.vicnews.com/news/protect-yourself-from-covid-19-by-grabbing-a-bar-of-soap/
- The Chief of Peguis First Nation says officials at its federally-run hospital are alarmed by a diminishing supply equipment to screen for COVID-19.
- Chief Ouray Crowfoot said the First Nation and its members are well prepared to face the situation and is activating its 24-hour emergency coordination centre. “We are a resilient people here at Siksika. We’ve had to overcome a lot over the years,” said Crowfoot.