First Nations in northern Ontario facing COVID surge amid health-care worker shortage – CP24

July 13, 2022

Several First Nations in Ontario’s Far North are in a “very dire situation” as they deal with a surge in COVID-19 amid an ongoing shortage of health-care workers, a doctor with a health organization in the region said as he called on governments to address the issue.

Dr. Lloyd Douglas, a public health physician with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, said the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in certain First Nation communities have put an “additional burden” on health-care services that were already strained before the pandemic.

“Our communities and our community members face a very dire situation,” said Douglas, whose health unit provides a variety of essential health services to 33 northern and remote First Nations communities.

“The long history of limited access to health care and health-care services, the inequities in terms of the system, this is now compounded by critical staff shortages, increases in COVID-19 cases, the direct and indirect impacts of COVID over the past two-plus years. So we have a very challenging time.”

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