Charter planes transporting nursing station staff to remote First Nations to reduce coronavirus risk – Thompson Citizen

April 28, 2020

A charter plane bearing the colours of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes flew into Manitoba airspace last week, but the team onboard consisted of nurses rather than athletes.

The Nolinor Aviation plane was bringing 46 nursing professionals to nursing stations in 23 fly-in First Nations communities south of the 60th parallel in northern Ontario and Manitoba, said an Indigenous Services Canada spokesperson. The last stages of the journeys for the health care workers, part of the normal staffing complement for the nursing stations in the Manitoba and Ontario communities, were on charter flights by airlines that already serve those destinations. Once staffing schedules are adjusted, this approach will be used for all First Nations south of the 60th parallel where Indigenous Services Canada employs nursing staff for the duration of the novel coronavirus pandemic to ensure continuity of service while minimizing the risk of transmitting COVID-19, the spokesperson said. This practice enables passengers to board at exclusive terminals where strict health and safety procedures are enforced, which is not easily done at major airport terminals where most commercial flights arrive and depart.

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