Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak leadership and the chief provincial public health officer are holding a news conference Wednesday morning to urge northern communities to start planning for COVID-19 to hit their communities.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Garrison Settee, Dr. Barry Lavellee, the medical advisor for MKO health entity Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin, and chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin spoke at 9:30 a.m.
MKO represents 26 First Nations in northern Manitoba, many of which are remote.
A spokesperson for MKO said they want people to respect social distancing by thinking about cancelling gatherings and sending people home from work.
They also want people to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19 and consider controlling who is allowed in and out of their communities.
The spokesperson said they also want people to be ready for the coronavirus to come and think about buildings on First Nations that could be used for social isolation.
The news conference comes one day after the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, which represents 62 First Nations in Manitoba, called for a state of emergency as the COVID-19 situation escalates in the province.
As of Wednesday morning, there have been 15 cases of the coronavirus detected in the province.
In Canada, hundreds of people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and as of Wednesday morning, eight people have died.
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