COVID-19 could be ‘devastating’ for First Nations, says Matawa First Nations CEO – CBC

Overcrowded housing could make self-isolation impossible, says Neskatanga chief

Mar 11, 2020

The CEO of an organization that represents several fly-in communities in northern Ontario says the COVID-19 virus poses a potentially “devastating” threat to First Nations that are already dealing with a bad flu year and face overcrowded conditions due to housing shortages.

David Paul Achneepineskum, CEO of Matawa First Nations, said his organization has already implemented precautionary measures because about 60 people from its nine member communities along with some of its staff attended a mining conference earlier this month in Toronto that has been linked to a COVID-19 case in Sudbury, Ont.

Paul Achneepineskum said he and the 12 staff members who attended the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference would now be working from home over the next two weeks as a precaution.

“It’s kind of scary,” he said.

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