Indigenous health managers to discuss preparations for pandemic impact

Perry Bellegarde

Hundreds of Indigenous health managers from across Canada are to meet online today to discuss how to prepare for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Assembly of First Nations has already declared a state of emergency, asking for more resources to help remote, fly-in communities stay healthy.

Chief Perry Bellegarde says ``Whatever the needs are, they should be met.''

He says First Nations are the most vulnerable because of their isolation.

Marion Crowe of the First Nations Health Managers Association expects about 500 people to join the meeting.

First Nations aren't counted separately in COVID-19 numbers, so there aren't any official cases, but Crowe says she's heard otherwise.

Rola Tfaili, an Indigenous Services Canada spokeswoman, confirmed yesterday that the department has been notified of two cases on-reserve in Saskatchewan.

Crowe says First nations health managers have plenty of questions about the novel coronavirus, such as its impact on spiritual practices like sweats.