Eabametoong First Nation Has Confirmed COVID-19 Case

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Nishnawbe-Aski Grand Chief Harvey Yesno
Fort Hope Chief Harvey Yesno

Eabametoong First Nation, also known as Fort Hope First Nation, is the first far north remote community in Ontario to confirm a positive case of COVID-19.

Eabametoong First Nation Chief Harvey Yesno says that he’s asked for a Canadian Forces field hospital “Because we did not see a comprehensive and coordinated response by both governments.” (Source: Twitter)

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler states, “With one confirmed case of #Covid19 in Eabametoong First Nation today, I am issuing an urgent request to Ontario & Canada to help quickly respond with additional test kits, adequate PPE’s and other essential supplies. We need to act fast.”

The announcement, although not unexpected, realizes the concerns of many who deal with remote First Nation communities as they can face many unique challenges in dealing with the pandemic. Through the COVID-19 Regional Response Team (CRRT), Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) is responding to the ongoing and constantly evolving challenges faced by these communities.

“First Nations communities have limited access to medical facilities, medical equipment, supplies and professionals. Within all First Nation communities, there is a risk that the spread of the virus could be amplified due to overcrowding and lack of resources” states Dr. Natalie Bocking, Public Health Physician for the SLFNHA CRRT. Dr. Bocking further states that “Communities, Tribal Councils, Provincial-Territorial Organizations (PTOs), and SLFNHA have all been preparing, coordinating and are now mobilizing a response to assist Chief Harvey Yesno and the community members of Fort Hope. We are working with all levels of government in trying to get much-needed supplies and help for Fort Hope and other First Nation communities.”

With cases confirmed in Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout, all remote Communities are now experiencing elevated risk factors. Both Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout are essential hubs servicing all of Northern Ontario. In response, as part of current measures to protect the health and wellbeing of community members, the CRRT has recommended limiting all non-essential travel in and out of communities.

Communities are monitoring both road and air entrances. Dr. Bocking adds that “preventing the spread of the virus to First Nations communities is the best way to ensure their continued safety”.


COVID-19-Bimaadzwin