TO: NAN Chiefs & Tribal Councils
DATE: March 10, 2020
RE: Coronavirus Update
FROM: Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler
CC: Executive Council, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, Weeneebayko Area Health Authority
The status of the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is changing daily. Although the risk of contracting coronavirus remains low in Canada, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) is ramping up efforts to equip our communities with the necessary information and resources.
Heath officials are advising caution about attending large gatherings, where risk of contracting viruses can be increased. We support communities taking precautionary measures by not attending mass gatherings including the Little NHL Tournament in Nipissing First Nation and the Northern Bands Hockey Tournament in Dryden next week. We will respect all decisions made at the community level
Internally, NAN is revising our pandemic and business continuity planning, including policies around non-essential travel. We encourage First Nations and affiliated organizations to do the same. We are in frequent contact with federal and regional health authorities and have stressed the need for effective communication to keep communities informed. This includes regular updates via email and increasing public awareness through social media and radio.
NAN is advocating for additional support for communities, Tribal Councils and health authorities for contingency planning and local pandemic plan updates. We are working with First Nation Inuit Health Branch (FINHB) and other partners to ensure that the unique circumstances by each First Nation are met, including access to test kits for the coronavirus and adequate supplies (i.e. soap, hand sanitizer).
The following precautions are recommended to stop the spread of viruses: wash hands frequently, stay home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms, avoid unnecessary contact with people who are sick, practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette (sneeze into sleeve/ immediately dispose of used tissues).
Dr. Maurica Maher, Regional Health Physician at FNIHB, is available for questions at email@example.com
More information can be found at the following sites. Check in often for most recent updates:
Public Health Agency of Canada Ontario www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus
Ministry of Health www.Canada.ca/coronavirus