The Fond du Lac First Nation is taking unprecedented moves to try to limit the far north community to the exposure of the Coronavirus.
It has cancelled the Athabasca Sector Gathering and the Winter Carnival, and if the virus does come to the community the annual caribou hunt would be in jeopardy.
Chief Louis Mercredi said the community is not medically equipped to handle the virus.
“We don’t have the resources. We only have two doctors covering the whole Athabasca Basin at times. In my community we only have one emergency bed in the health clinic. So, with that being said we don’t have the resources. We don’t even have the proper dispensers for hand sanitizer,” explained Mercredi.
Mercredi stated that he has been in contact with health officials about acquiring the proper medical supplies, but that is going to be somewhat difficult given the virus is now labeled a pandemic. “
Most importantly we do not want to create fear. Instead we want to give information to our members to protect their health and limit the spread of coronavirus at this time. People most at risk of getting the sickest from coronavirus are people aged 65 and over, people with a compromised immune system and with underlying medical conditions. This mainly includes our elders who we want to protect,” stated Mercredi.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations too is postponing all sporting events, gatherings, conferences and forums until further notice. Leadership said it is taking all precautionary measures to curb and restrict the potential spread of the virus.
Public gatherings, handshaking and touching are not recommended. Washing your hands and avoid touching your face. People who feel sick should stay home.