Naut'sa mawt Tribal Council Vancouver Island 

8017 Chemainus Rd., Chemainus, BC VOR 1K5
p: (250) 324-1800 | tf : 888-382-7711

Naut'sa mawt Tribal Council Delta Office

330-6165 Highway 17A Delta, BC V4K 5B8

p: (604) 943-6712 | tf: 888-382-7711

CORONAVIRUS

COVID-19

GENERAL INFORMATION

COVID-19

The Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council has established a COVID-19 Task Group to assist its member nations in working with Emergency Management BC and other government agencies that are responding to the pandemic. The Task Group can be reached at covid19@nautsamawt.com

 

While NmTC has made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this site has been obtained from reliable sources, we are not responsible for errors or omissions and can not guarantee accuracy, timeliness, or the results obtained from the use of this information. The Covid-19 situation is changing daily. 

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new disease that has not previously identified in humans. It is part of the Coronavirus family of viruses. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the flu and common cold, and most commonly include fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Who is most at risk?

Based on current understanding, Elders and people with respiratory or chronic health conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) are most at risk of becoming very ill if they contract COVID-19 and possibly dying. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

How is COVID-19 spread? 
Coronavirus is transmitted via liquid droplets when a person with the virus coughs, sneezes or breathes. People can catch COVID-19 by breathing in these in droplets, so it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

Droplets from sneezing and coughing also land on objects and surfaces around the sick person. Others can then catch the disease by touching these objects or surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. So you can protect yourself and others by continuously cleaning your hands and surfaces that others touch a lot.

Many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms – especially in the early stages of the disease. It is, therefore, possible to catch COVID-19 from someone with just a mild cough who does not feel sick. 

How likely am I to catch COVID-19?

According to the WHO, for most people in most locations, the risk of catching COVID-19 is still low. But the risk is higher for people living in or visiting areas where the disease is spreading. This is why the government continues to report and take action every time a new case is identified.

 

What should I do if I think I’m sick?

If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, etc. you should use the BC Covid-19 Self-Assessment tool at https://covid19.thrive.health/ to see if you need further medical assistance or testing. If you develop symptoms like shortness of breath, call 8-1-1 or speak with your health care provider by phone to discuss any need for testing and follow up. For those who have hearing difficulties, dial 7-1-1.  To avoid infecting others, please do not go directly to an emergency room or a clinic if you think you are sick. Instead, call ahead to your primary care provider’s office or call 8-1-1 to assess whether you need testing. After you have been tested, it is important to stay at home and avoid contact with others. If you start to feel worse, call 8-1-1 immediately. You will be contacted by public health if your results are positive. Please wait 72 hours before calling the Negative Results line to confirm the results of your test.

Should I worry about COVID-19?

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness: about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care, so it is normal to worry about how it will affect you and your loved ones. But most recover after hospital care.

We can limit worry by focussing on actions to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities by following expert health advice, including any restrictions on travel, movement and gatherings.

 

Is there a vaccine?

No. Although work is underway around the world to find a vaccine, it can take years to develop one for a new disease and to produce enough for populations.

 

Do antibiotics or other treatments work?

No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. At this point, there is no scientific evidence that other treatments cure COVID-19.

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

Testing is available for all who need it but not everyone needs a test.  If you have no symptoms or mild symptoms you do not require a test. If symptoms appear, call your health care provider or 
8-1-1 for guidance. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

The BC Centre for Disease Control has created an online self-assessment​ tool that is available on its website.

COVID-19 is tested using a standard swab (long Q-tip that scrapes cells from the very back of the nose or throat). These swabs are then sent to a laboratory for testing. The tests are available where influenza testing is being done. Call your health care provider or 8-1-1 for guidance. Not all people with respiratory symptoms need to be tested for COVID-19. If people develop respiratory symptoms, they should self-isolate, regardless of the availability of testing.

 

What are the next steps if I am infected or think that I may be infected or if I've been around someone who is infected?

  • Ensure that you self-isolate immediately and avoid contact with others. This means staying away from others as much as possible. 

  • Wash your hands or use alcohol-based sanitizer frequently. 

  • Use good hygiene practices such as coughing or sneezing into a disposable tissue or into your elbow. 

  • Clean high-touch areas such as toilets, bedside tables and door handles with diluted bleach (one-part bleach to nine parts water) or a household disinfectant.

  • ​If you are experiencing symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider or call 8-1-1 for guidance. If your symptoms are severe, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

 
ABOUT COVID-19

What can I do to avoid being infected?

The most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. If a sink is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wipe to clean your hands as long as they are not visibly soiled. If hands are visibly soiled, use a wipe and then an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean them.

 

Can I still wash my hands if my community has a boil water advisory?

Yes, it's safe to wash your hands with soap if you are living in a community with a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) or a Do Not Consume (DNC) advisory. However, if you are living with a Do Not Use (DNU) advisory you should wash with bottled water. For more information about water advisories, see: https://www.fnha.ca/what-we-do/environmental-health/drinking-water-advisories

 

What can I use to disinfect and kill germs? 

The virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for a few hours to several days (depending on type of surface, temperature or humidity).

Regular household cleaners are effective for removing viruses from a surface. You may also use a solution of one-part bleach mixed with nine-parts water to disinfect areas that are touched often such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.

If you or anyone around you has COVID-19, it is important to use bleach to disinfect, especially if you share any common areas (such as a bathroom) with others or if others will be entering the room where you are staying.

 

What should I do if I have to cough or sneeze?

If you are coughing or sneezing, always cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue. Throw the tissue into a closed bin immediately after use. Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or with soap and warm water after you cough or sneeze. Do the same when you are caring for a loved one that is sick. This is called good respiratory hygiene. 

PROTECTIVE MEASURES
 

Should I avoid travelling?

You should avoid unnecessary travel within Canada, due to the amount of close contact with others. If you must travel, wash your hands regularly, do not touch your face and cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. Try to keep two metres between yourself and others at all time. Self-isolate immediately for 14 days if you come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Those traveling outside Canada are now required to “self-isolate” for 14 days when they return. If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing during this period, avoid contact with others and call a health provider as soon as possible.

 

Why should I avoid public gatherings?

You should avoid attendance at public gatherings of more than 50 people due to the increased risk of spreading the COVID-19 at the gathering. (The 50-person limit was set by the Provincial Health Officer March 16).

Attending even small gatherings increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19. This increases the chance of participants becoming infected and carrying the virus into their communities and passing it on to vulnerable friends and family, particularly Elders and people with existing health conditions.

 

Should I keep my children home from school?

BC suspended all K-12 classes on March 17 indefinitely. Teachers and schools are developing plans for continuing instruction, outside of the classroom. http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/childcare-schools

 

Is it safe to participate in cultural gatherings (e.g., sweat lodges, potlatches, ceremonies and other gatherings)?

The FNHA acknowledges the significance of cultural gatherings in our communities and the lingering negative memories and trauma caused by past practices of banning cultural activities. 

Even gatherings of fewer than 50 people require an assessment of risk - especially to Elders and those with chronic disease and especially if the event will entail travel and people sharing accommodations. Communities are encouraged to consider alternatives, such as holding smaller events now with the larger event at a later date. If you are holding a smaller event, consider having bag lunches rather than shared meals, ensure there are opportunities to wash and/or sanitize hands, and practice social distancing.  

In terms of sweat lodges, health authorities cannot say what effect they might have on the virus because factors such as temperature and timing can't be easily controlled. 

If you are organizing an event, the Public Health Agency of Canada has provided information on organizing mass gatherings: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/mass-gatherings-risk-assesment.html

TRAVEL AND EVENTS
 

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation means staying at home and not going to work or school to prevent spreading infection to others. When you are exposed to an illness, there is the time between exposure and when you start to feel sick. This is called an incubation period. There is a small chance you can spread germs in the days before you feel sick. People at high-risk of having been exposed to the illness are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

When self-isolating, you should monitor yourself for symptoms If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, couth, runny nose, sore throat, etc. you should use the BC Covid-19 Self-Assessment tool at https://covid19.thrive.health/ to see if you need further medical assistance or testing.

 

I am infected and I live with other people. How do I self-isolate?

Stay and sleep in a room with good airflow that is away from others. Use a separate bathroom if you can. Wear a facemask (surgical/procedure mask) if you are in the same room with anyone and avoid face-to-face contact. Do not share towels or face cloths. Friends and family can drop off food outside your room or home. If you live with an Elder or someone with a chronic health condition, it would be best if those people could stay in the home of other family or friends in the community.  ​

 

What happens if someone in my community is infected? 

If someone in the community is infected, they must self-isolate. People who were in close contact with that person (i.e. people living in the same household) should also self-isolate for 14 days.

What happens if one person in my household is infected but no one else has symptoms?
The whole household must self-isolate to prevent the spread of the virus to anyone outside of your household.

SELF-ISOLATION
 
 
COVID-19 TESTING

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

Testing is available for all who need it but not everyone needs a test.  If you have no symptoms or mild symptoms you do not require a test. If symptoms appear, call your health care provider or 
8-1-1 for guidance. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus-disease-covid-19. The BC Centre for Disease Control has created an online self-assessment​ tool that is available on its website. It is also linked from www.fnha.ca/coronavirus

 

Are there COVID-19 test kits that First Nations can access?

COVID-19 is tested using a standard swab (long Q-tip that scrapes cells from the very back of the nose or throat). These swabs are then sent to a laboratory for testing. The tests are available where influenza testing is being done. Call your health care provider or 8-1-1 for guidance. Not all people with respiratory symptoms need to be tested for COVID-19. If people develop respiratory symptoms, they should self-isolate, regardless of the availability of testing.

 

What are the next steps if I am infected or think that I may be infected or if I've been around someone who is infected?

  • Ensure that you self-isolate immediately and avoid contact with others. This means staying away from others as much as possible. 

  • Wash your hands or use alcohol-based sanitizer frequently. 

  • Use good hygiene practices such as coughing or sneezing into a disposable tissue or into your elbow. 

  • Clean high-touch areas such as toilets, bedside tables and door handles with diluted bleach (one-part bleach to nine parts water) or a household disinfectant.

  • ​If you are experiencing symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider or call 8-1-1 for guidance. If your symptoms are severe, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

Can I get COVID-19 from eating food?

Although the COVID-19 virus can survive on food surfaces, there is currently no evidence that the virus can be transmitted by eating this food. However, it is important to wash your hands before preparing or eating food. And it is best practice to wash all produce with fresh water before using it.

As with any virus, it is best to not share food, drinks, utensils, etc. that have been in contact with another person’s mouth. This means washing your hands before and after preparing food, and before eating.

 

Am I at risk of getting COVID-19 in a grocery store?

Unless you are in direct contact with droplets from another person’s cough or sneeze, grocery stores are open spaces where people tend to walk around and are therefore unlikely places to allow for virus spread.

The biggest risks come from sustained close contact with an affected individual, for example, sitting in a car on a long trip, or living in the same household.

As long as you practice good hand hygiene, there is a very low risk that you can get COVID-19 from eating food. But you should wash your hands after unpacking groceries, and before and after preparing food.

 

Should I stock up on food and toilet paper?

You should stock your household with essential supplies in case you are asked to self-isolate for 14 days. However, it's not necessary to stockpile large quantities of toilet paper or any other supplies. This only creates supply issues for everyone.

 

Can I go outside?

The federal and provincial governments are currently urging everyone to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave. However, it is important to get exercise and fresh air, so everyone who does not have COVID-19 is encouraged to get outdoors, but to avoid socializing. It is ok to walk with the members in your household, but it is critical that you avoid groups and that you maintain a safe distance of at least 2 metres (feet) between yourself and others.

 

Should I wear a mask?

Unless you are looking after someone with COVID-19 or have the disease, wearing a mask is a waste of time, and is contributing to a world-wide shortage of masks.

If you need to wear a mask because you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19:

  • clean your hands before touching it, then inspect it for tears or holes

  • place the mask on your face with the colored side outwards, and pinch the metal strip or stiff edge to mould to your nose, then pull the mask’s bottom down so it covers your mouth and chin

  • after use, remove and discard the mask and wash your hand thoroughly

  • a mask can only be used once

Can I get COVID-19 from a pet?

There is currently no evidence that domestic animals, including dogs and cats, can become sick with this new coronavirus. A pet dog in Hong Kong recently tested positive for the virus but did not show any signs of illness. This animal was from a household with a person infected with COVID-19. This situation is being monitored very closely and any new information on the ability of the virus to cause illness in pets and any other domestic animals will be updated as it becomes available. There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19 to a human.

 

Can the virus live on clothes?

Yes, the virus can survive on porous surfaces such as skin and cloth as well as other materials and surfaces for hours to days, depending on the surface. Regular washing is recommended.

 

What is the risk for infants?

Recent evidence does not indicate a large risk for infants – very few children under five showed serious illness from COVID-19. There has been a positive case detected, however, so they are not immune.

 

What are the risks for pregnant women?

It is too early to determine the level of risk posed to pregnant women infected with COVID-19. A study of pregnant women with the coronavirus SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) found that the more severe the illness experienced by the mother, the higher the likelihood of risk to her pregnancy – including stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/pregnant-women-faq.html

 

What supports are in place for remote communities that may be short-staffed or don't have access to equipment (i.e., respirators)?

The FNHA is working with regional, provincial and federal partners in the health and health emergency management sectors to ensure that communities have access to appropriate care. If communities have specific concerns about access to care relating to COVID-19, they can connect with their FNHA Regional Team or covid19@fnha.ca or https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1581964230816/1581964277298

OTHER FAQ'S
 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. Although we are attempting to provide up-to-date information from recognized sources, Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council (NmTC) makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability of the information, products, services, or related graphics provided on this page or found by following a link on this page to an external website. Any action you take based on information on this page is strictly at your own risk, and NmTC will not be liable for any losses and damages arising from the use of this page.

 
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Where can I find the most current information on Covid-19

Response to the COVID-19 pandemic changes daily. The following websites have the most recent and definitive information:

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