Last week we reached the milestone of 100 days since the BC Provincial Health Officer (PHO) issued the first provincial warning related to COVID-19. Since then we’ve seen unprecedented changes within our communities. As leaders, you have a prominent role to play within the response efforts and we commend each of you for the work you do on behalf of your family, community and Nation.
This new weekly bulletin from the First Nations Health Council (FNHC) will provide Chiefs and Leaders with access to relevant information during this health crisis (and beyond). We’ll share updates from your Health Council representatives who continue to advocate for BC First Nations health and wellbeing during this pandemic.
Call with Premier Horgan
The FNHC Chair had a recent call with Premier John Horgan to elevate your concerns on a variety of COVID-19 issues, including:
- Personal Protective Equipment;
- Coordination of Emergency Services;
- Supports for community members requiring isolation;
- Notifications of Provincial Correctional inmates returning to community;
- Increased response funding for communities; and
- Deferring referrals from Industry during COVID-19.
Chair Charlene Belleau will continue to bring issues forward with our provincial and federal partners.
Chiefs ‘Town Hall’ Highlight
On April 23, 2020 the FNHC hosted an all Chiefs and leaders Town Hall information call. The session featured FNHA senior leadership, Indigenous Services Canada leadership and Emergency Management British Columbia representatives.
These calls will be held bi-weekly for the foreseeable future to provide updates on FNHA and partner agency activities related to COVID-19.
Each call will feature a question and answer session to allow participants to ask about issues in real-time.
The next Town Hall information session is scheduled for Thursday, May 7th from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm.
Actions for Communities without a Health Director or Health Lead
For communities that require additional supports during this time, the FNHA has created an uptake form and community guide available here. This includes personal protective equipment and health human resources surge capacity. Completed forms can be e-mailed to COVID19needs@fnha.ca.
COVID-19 Positive Cases/Patient Privacy
The FNHA has released a document that outlines the public health process and role of communities to follow up on any positive cases in your community. This document is available for download here.
Counselling Supports for Chiefs and Leaders
The Kackaamin Family Development Centre and Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum Treatment Centre are offering direct counseling and cultural support. Call toll-free 1-888-403-3123 for an initial consultation.
Hours for initial consultations are:
MONDAY TO FRIDAY …………………………….. 8am – 8pm
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY ……………………. 10am – 2pm
Question of the Week
How will the FNHA and the Regional Health Authorities address the issue of tree planters and industrial camps given the associated risks to communities?
On April 24, BC’s PHO delivered guidelines for industrial camps covering the agriculture, aquaculture, forestry and resource industries, setting out prevention, control and inspection protocols for workers and their employers. Specifically, the guidelines for those working in the silviculture (tree planting) sector require:
- screening of workers for symptoms or potential COVID-19 exposure;
- added hygiene measures in camps;
- training workers on how to stay safe while travelling to camp and to worksites;
- food preparation guidelines;
- limiting travel outside of camp; and
- having at least one infection and control coordinator at each site.
If you have comments or suggestions for future issues of this FNHC bulletin, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org