COVID-19 outbreak in rural Alberta First Nation exacerbated by social inequities, doctors say – CBC

‘The standard of care with First Nations, not just ourselves, have always been atrocious,’ says chief

Sep 11, 2021

A COVID-19 outbreak in a First Nation in rural Alberta is exposing social inequities that make the spread of the virus quick, and recovery slow, according to doctors and leaders.

Conroy Sewepagaham is chief of the Little Red River Cree Nation, which includes Garden Creek, Fox Lake and John D’Or in northern Alberta. The nation has a population of about 6,000 people and as of Friday, there were 209 active cases of COVID-19.

About 53 per cent of residents have their first vaccine dose, and 35 per cent have their second.

Sewepagaham said there are many reasons the virus is spreading quickly, including a lack of health-care staff, boil water advisories and overcrowding of homes.

There is no hospital, ICU beds or permanent doctor. The nursing station is struggling to find staff to do testing, said Sewepagaham.

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