The Musqueam Health Department worked with Chief and Council to make the decision to close the Administration offices on March 17, 2020. The 130 Musqueam Indian Band staff have been working remotely to support community members. We developed a COVID-19 Working Group/Task Force; including a COVID-19 Musqueam email and phone line for community members to call with general questions during the pandemic.
A total of three check points were established at each entrance to the Musqueam community on March 21st; staffed from 8am – 12am with two people at each check point. The Health Director and Community Health Nurse have provided our checkpoint guardians with public health information around COVID-19, as well as a handout to help guide communication and rationale to people who went through or to people who were turned away.
Home care services department (Home Care Nurse, Home Care Attendants (5) and Nurses Assistant) is still running an essential Home Care program for Elders and those discharged from hospital. The CHN worked with the Health Director to develop a contact tracing track sheet for individuals who may have had a potential COVID-19 exposure. The CHN provided many phone calls and over the phone assessments and education to community members during the pandemic.
There have been two rounds of food deliveries to 200 homes on reserve. Off-reserve community members received a $50 gift card to Save-On Foods. Local community members also delivered prawns, crabs, salmon, halibut, and ooligan to those that needed it.
Finding various and new innovative ways to show the community that we are still there to support them in their health and social needs though our staff have been working remotely. Our department tries to provide weekly updates regarding the pandemic and changing testing technologies, as well as positive and uplifting messages.
Musqueam Health Department had some PPE from Health Canada from years ago, and placed an order for PPE for the Primary Care Clinic just before pandemic announced. We received small orders sporadically over several weeks due to the global supply shortage.
Following the daily federal and provincial updates during this situation have been very helpful for forecasting how long we are planning on working remotely and when we may gradually reopen our health centre. Staff and community members feel inspired by the community cohesiveness and compassion and the willingness to help each other out. For those individuals under mandatory self-isolation, family members and friends would do the shopping and drop off essentials for them. Elders are always looked after by various means and extensions of families.