National Day of Observance for COVID-19



A message from Dr. Celeste Loewe, Medical Officer, Health & Wellness, FNHA Office of the Chief Medical Officer; and Katie Hughes, VP, FNHA Public Health Response ​​​

​​​March 11, 2024 will be the fourth annual National Day of Observance for COVID-19, a day to remember people who died during the pandemic. The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) sends our deepest condolences to First Nations people in BC who have lost loved ones.

On this day, we also acknowledge those of you who may still be suffering from significant impacts, including “post-COVID-19 condition" or “long COVID."

The FNHA recognizes the profound and numerous ways the COVID-19 pandemic has affected, and continues to affect, First Nations in BC. Although COVID-19 cases are much lower now than during the height of the pandemic – thanks to vaccines, treatments and rapid tests, which substantially mitigate the overall impact and risk of severe outcomes – it is important to acknowledge that the COVID-19 virus continues to circulate in Canada and around the world, and can still cause serious illness and death.

To help reduce risk and save lives as we move forward, we encourage everyone to be up to date on all vaccinations – not just for COVID-19, but against other vaccine-preventable diseases that we fell behind on during the pandemic, e.g., childhood immunizations against measles and pertussis. We each have an opportunity and responsibility to help protect ourselves and our communities by getting vaccinated and practising personal protective measures to help us reduce the spread of illnesses.

The FNHA also recognizes the amazing contributions of community members, leaders, health professionals and volunteers who provided support and care to help protect their communities. Regional reviews and reports highlighted how First Nations governments, communities and health staff worked collaboratively with each other and partners to plan, mobilize resources, and undertake successful response efforts. These positive working relationships enabled a proactive approach.

First Nations communities came together to support the safety and well-being of their members. Overall, the pandemic response demonstrated the collective strength and resilience of First Nations in BC. Leadership, health teams and community members recognized the importance of maintaining culture and tradition, making concerted efforts to continue these practices with appropriate safety measures.

We commend First Nations communities in BC for how well they worked together during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep one another safe, and for their unwavering dedication to protecting one another from the still-present COVID-19 virus and other viruses and diseases.

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