Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak has introduced additional recommendations to address the needs of northern First Nations communities as the spread of COVID-19 persists.
MKO’s Lead Medical Official, Doctor Barry Lavellee, says one of the measures will be to limit gatherings that have more than ten people.
Lavellee adds that MKO is taking a family-based approach when it comes to the social distancing and self-isolating strategies.
"One of the things we're really emphasizing with our chiefs and our leaders and our health directors is this concept of social distancing, and what does that mean if you live in a house of twelve or thirteen people and there are not a lot of buildings... in the community."
He goes on to elaborate, saying "if a couple of people are ill in the home, that would be a family isolation, getting the families to work together in that context".
Lavellee also recommended special measures for the older population, such as designated grocery times for the elderly, workplaces implementing measures to protect employees aged 50 and over, and protection of elders and personal care homes, which include limited or no visitation.
Should testing sites for COVID-19 begin operating in First Nations communities, Lavellee says they should not be done at nursing stations or health centres.
"We want testing to be done in alternative spaces across our 26 First Nations communities. We do not want tetsing done at nursing stations because we are not sure at the point if somebody who comes in indeed has COVID virus, goes into a small nursing station with two or three nurses and exposure occur in our community and our workforce."
Lavellee goes on to say MKO is working "very quickly" with the government to find resources and access to testing that are alternatives.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee says MKO has spoken with Northern Store, and prices in the stores have been frozen, and will continue to ensure there is enough inventory of supplies.
MKO is also asking hunters to start hunting now to gather meat, and will support the delivery of traditional medicine.