Interior Health called out for lack of proper notification of confirmed COVID-19 cases involving First Nations

First Nation being let down

There is concern within First Nations in B.C. over the rise in cases of COVID-19.

According to the First Nation Health Authority, positive tests have risen by 200 per cent over the past month alone.

Last month, the health authority says it was notified of 67 new cases, 40 per cent of those on reserves.

The Neskonlith Band says Interior Health did not properly notify it about a confirmed case within the community, and had to reach out to get confirmation.

They further state there has been a delay of two to three days before IH informs the First Nation Chief Medical Officer . No names are provided.

“The lack of communication to our band about confirmed COVID-19 cases is unacceptable,” says Chief Judy Wilson.

“Our communities raised concerns about notification at the start of COVID-19 which have not yet been resolved, meaning our members do not have the opportunity to proactively increase their personal, family and community precautions against COVID-19.”

In a news release Monday, Wilson says there are gaps within the system, including the fact people are only asked to provide the MSP card when getting tested, and not whether they are First Nation.

"We request that IHA and FNHA provide an interim solution for a culturally appropriate contact tracing that would involve our community members in facilitating contact tracing, this would expedite contact tracing with the goal of mitigating and managing community health and safety.," the release stated.

Chief Wilson added mechanisms are needed between the province and First Nations in order to achieve real-time notification of cases, contact tracing, community notice, testing capacity and processes.

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