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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
How is COVID-19 spread?
Coronavirus is transmitted via liquid droplets when a person with the virus coughs, sneezes or breathes and others breath in these droplets. Covid-19 can also be spread by infected people who are asymptomatic (do not have symptoms). It is important to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
What should I do if I think I’m sick?
If you are experiencing symptoms 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 are experiencing symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing, isolate yourself immediately and call 8-1-1 for guidance (711 for hearing impaired).
If your symptoms are severe, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 9-1-1.
Is there a vaccine?
Although work is underway around the world to find a vaccine, at this time there is no vaccine for Covid-19.
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?
If symptoms appear, call your health care provider or 8-1-1 for guidance.
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. 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
What can I do to avoid being infected?
The most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to follow the instructions of Canadian Health officials. This includes practicing physical distancing, frequent hand washing, remaining at home and avoiding all non-essential trips in your community
What is Physical Distancing
Social Distancing means making changes in your everyday routines in order to minimize close contact with others, including staying at home and not going to work or school to prevent spreading infection to others. If you must leave the home for food or other essential services, you are required to keep a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 meters) from others.
What is Self Isolating / Quarantine
People with COVID-19 do not always recognize their early symptoms. Even if you do not have symptoms now, you need to quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days if, you are returning from travel outside of Canada (mandatory quarantine), had close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19, have been told by public health that you may have been exposed and need to quarantine (self-isolate).
Quarantine (self-isolate) means that, for 14 days you need to stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even if mild, avoid contact with other people to help prevent transmission of the virus, do your part to prevent the spread of disease by practicing social distancing in your home. People at high-risk of having been exposed to the illness are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
Why should I avoid public gatherings?
You should avoid attendance at public gatherings due to the increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. Following social distancing guidelines reduces the chances of participants becoming infected and carrying the virus into their communities and passing it on to vulnerable friends and family, including Elders and people with existing health conditions.
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. However, communities are encouraged to consider alternatives during the pandemic for the safety of all community members.
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:
ISC BC Region non-medical COVID-19 information: call 604-209-9709 (7:00 to 19:00 every day) or email email@example.com
BC non-medical COVID-19 information: 1-888-268-4319 (7:30 to 20:00 every day) or text message: 604-630-0300
General inquiries: COVID19needs@fnha.ca
Individual health care & COVID-19 questions: dial 811 (or 711 for hearing impaired)
updated June 7, 2020
The public health system and how health care is administered in First Nations communities is different in each province and territory.
If/when a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in a First Nation, the specific/administrative steps taken by regional/local health officials will vary according to provincial/territorial guidelines. However, the principles and priorities of providing support as required and ensuring that each case is managed appropriately remain the same across the country.
Please note that the First Nations Health Authority, which is responsible for the oversight of delivery of health care to First Nations in British Columbia, has prepared the following specific: Notice and Follow-up Process for a Confirmed Case in a First Nations Community
What happens when a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in a First Nation community?
The specific/administrative steps will vary from one region to another, but the priorities will always be:
Ensuring that the affected person is informed of their status, knows the appropriate steps to take care of themselves and their loved ones (e.g. self-isolation), and has access to medical care as needed.
Putting immediate measures in place to reduce the chances of further spread, including contact tracing, and implementing the community pandemic emergency response plan.
Providing additional support to the First Nation, as required.
What is contact tracing?
Contact tracing is a process to identify and keep a log of individuals who may have come into close contact with someone with a COVID-19 infection.
While the detailed process may vary from one region to another, contact tracing is always conducted following well established public health practices.
Anyone who is identified through the contact tracing process as being at risk for COVID-19 infection will be informed directly by public health officials. The public health officials will also explain the appropriate steps that the person should take (e.g. self-isolation at home).
Who is considered a “contact?”
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone with a COVID-19 infection may be considered a “contact.” The level of risk of infection, however, will vary, depending on what kind of “contact” has happened.
Close personal contact, such as caregiving, hugging or kissing, sharing food, cups or utensils, or living in the same household with someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 infection, are higher risk activities. There is a greater chance of the virus being transmitted through these kinds of contacts.
Travel, working in a high risk environment (such as health care facilities, and participating in gatherings (e.g. ceremonial or cultural events), are also higher risk activities, and increase your chances of being exposed to the virus.
Anyone identified through a contact tracing process who is considered at risk for transmission of the COVID-19 virus from that specific contact, will be informed directly. At that time public health officials will also explain the appropriate steps that the person should take (e.g. self-isolation at home, testing, etc.).
Public health officials may not contact people who are identified through the contact tracing process, but who are considered low risk for transmission of the virus.
Why does contact tracing take so long?
Contact tracing is a complex, and labour intensive process. How long it takes depends on the situation. If the affected person has travelled recently, attended large gatherings, or been in close contact with a large number of other people, the contact tracing process will take longer than for someone who has already been self-isolating at home and carefully following other precautions.
I know of/have heard of a case of COVID-19 in my community. Why are their names not being released?
No personal information about anyone affected by COVID-19 will be publicly released. Even during health emergencies federal and provincial/territorial privacy rules still apply, and we must continue to respect everyone’s dignity and privacy. Personal information, including the name, home community, and health information about people affected by COVID-19 will only be shared as necessary with health officials.
Keep in mind too, that many First Nation communities are very small. Sharing personal information can be harmful to individuals and can put entire communities at risk by making it more difficult for health professionals to provide appropriate care.
We ask for everyone in affected communities to respect the privacy of their friends, family and neighbours, as we all work through this difficult time
Do the Chief/community leaders/elders know who the affected person is?
Chiefs and/or other community leaders are informed ONLY that there is a case of COVID-19 in their community. This is so that they can take appropriate action to protect and support the community, according to established emergency plans. NO personal or identifying information will be released to Chiefs, community leaders or other non-health officials.
How do I know if I have been in contact with an infected person if I do not know who they are?
If contact tracing indicates that you are at risk from contact with someone infected with COVID-19, health officials will contact you directly. These health officials will also explain what you should do next (e.g. self-isolate at home, get tested, etc.).
If you have not been contacted by health officials, but you are still worried that you may have come into contact with someone infected with COVID-19, self-isolate at home, and contact your local health care provider.
Your health is too important to take action based on rumours, social media postings, or news from unreliable sources.
How do I keep my family and community safe if I do not know who is infected?
The best way to keep yourself, your family and your community safe is to follow instructions from health officials and other trusted, reliable sources.
Wash your hands, often, and for at least 20 seconds.
Practice physical distancing, keep at least 6 feet – or 2 meters - between yourself and others.
Cough or sneeze into your arm.
If you feel unwell, self-isolate and contact your local health care provider
CONFIRMATION OF CASES AND CONTACT TRACING IN FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES
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