First Nations across Saskatchewan have been proactive in trying to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is asking people not to panic, but it hopes steps will be taken to make health and testing services accessible.
“This is a matter of life and death to all levels of government. All resources and all services must be available immediately. We cannot wait a couple of days, a couple of weeks. It has to happen now. It has to happen today,” said Chief Bobby Cameron.
During a press conference earlier this week, the prime minister said some of the $1-billion COVID 19 response fund would be dedicated to Indigenous communities.
Last week, Justin Trudeau spoke with Indigenous leaders about preparedness and mitigation efforts.
“Minister (Dan) Vandal has also been connecting with the territories and is working on exceptional measures to protect the north. We’re making sure that everyone, no matter where they live is prepared,” Trudeau told reporters.
It’s something Cameron hasn’t seen yet, especially in northern sections of the province.
Saskatchewan has three testing sites in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert.
With one case being reported in northern Saskatchewan, Cameron hopes all levels of government can help bring testing and medical resources to these communities before it spreads further.
“We cannot wait. Should, if and when this COVID-19 hits our First Nations, it’s going to have a major impact. But also, we encourage all of our First Nations to do what they can,” he said.
Last week, the FSIN said it would be hard for some living in First Nations communities to self-isolate because some homes have up to 19 people living under one roof.
Cameron said he has been told nothing of what the federal government’s plan is in regards to funding or medical resources for Saskatchewan First Nations.