WINNIPEG -- Manitoba researchers have developed a new COVID-19 app believed to be the first of its kind.

The app, called COVID-19 Indigenous, was created at the University of Manitoba in partnership with Indigenous leaders. It was made to support the COVID-19 response in Indigenous communities.

“It will allow Indigenous communities to document the impacts and their responses to COVID-19 in real time, and everything is aligned with OCAP (ownership, control, access, and possession) principles over their own data,” said Evan Chamakese, community outreach coordinator for the app and a member of Pelican Lake First Nation.

“They can share this information with us if they wish, or they can do as they please.”

Questions posed on the app revolve around mental, physical and spiritual health. Health directors in each community can modify the questions to fit the needs in their community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Indigenous communities hard. As of Wednesday, the federal government is aware of 18,439 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Of those cases, 1,553 are active, and 851 people have been hospitalized.

Researchers said the app will help Indigenous communities as they work toward health sovereignty.

“We know that one-size-fits-all does not work for Indigenous communities,” Dr. Myrle Ballard, a University of Manitoba researcher from Lake St. Martin First Nation in Manitoba, said in a statement.

“This will enable them to collect their own data and reduce reliance on outside agencies or governments," added Chamakese. "It also enables communities to track any changes in the well-being and health of its members.”

The app is available for both Apple and Android users. While primarily designed and developed for indigenous communities in Canada, it could also be of used by Indigenous communities in the United States.

-With files from CTV’s Jon Hendricks.