UPDATED: Siksika Nation’s Response re: Alberta Revised COVID-19 Public Health Measures

Siksika Health Services and Siksika Nation continue to take strong proactive measures in response to COVID-19, considering Siksika’s specific context, in the interest of protecting our Nation members.

Since March 2020, Siksika has provided a very high level of service for testing, contact tracing and support for those isolating, including mental health, food security, access to health services and isolation options, compared to any jurisdiction in Alberta.

As of July 29, 2021, the province of Alberta lifted the legal requirement for close contacts of COVID-19 cases to isolate. At this time, it remains a requirement for people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and those with new and/or worsening symptoms, to isolate.

Moving forward, Alberta will begin adapting programs and policies in response to COVID-19, bringing the health response in line with influenza and other respiratory viruses. The province had planned to lift the legal requirement for 10-day isolation for symptomatic people and for those who test positive for COVID-19 in mid-August, however new information from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has extended these protocols until September 27, 2021.

As such, until at least September 27, it remains a requirement to isolate if you have new and/or worsening illness symptoms, or if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Siksika Health Services also strongly recommends isolating if you’re a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This is to help prevent spread of the virus by reducing the number of people that an ill person comes in contact with during the time they may be contagious.

Summary of Alberta’s revised protocols:

  • Phase 1: effective July 29, 2021:
    • Isolation requirements: close contacts of COVID-19 cases are recommended to isolate, but no longer required. It remains a requirement for people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and those with new and/or worsening symptoms, to isolate.
      • Mandatory isolation requirements may still be required to manage high-risk settings, or for outbreak management.
    • Contact tracing: anyone who tests positive will be notified, but contact tracers will no longer notify close contacts of exposure. That responsibility will fall to those who test positive.
    • COVID-19 Testing: asymptomatic testing of contacts will no longer be recommended, but testing will remain available to people showing symptoms.
    • Masking: mask mandates remain in effect when inside acute- and continuing-care facilities, or when riding in public transit, taxis or ride-share vehicles.
  • Phase 2: effective September 27, 2021:
    • Isolation requirements: isolation following a positive test?will no longer be required, though it will be strongly recommended.
    • People with symptoms of any respiratory infection should still stay home until symptoms are gone.
    • Masking: mask mandates will be lifted, although some may be required in acute- or continuing-care facilities.
    • COVID-19 Testing: will remain available until Sept. 27 for people with symptoms who meet specific criteria (i.e. when testing is needed for patient care decisions). Those with mild symptoms won’t need to be tested.
    • Isolation supports will no longer be available.

Siksika Health Services Public Health team has reviewed Albertas updated isolation protocols and will move forward with the following modified revised COVID-19 protocols, based on Siksika Nations specific local context.

Summary of Siksika Nations revised protocols:

  • Effective Aug. 3, 2021:
    • Isolation requirements: people who test positive for COVID-19, close contacts, and those with illness symptoms are advised to stay home. The lifting of legal requirement does not change the recommendation to self-isolate to protect others in our community.
    • COVID-19 Testing: drive-thru testing will continue until at least September 27, 2021. Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms should go for testing.
      • After September 27, with urban assessment centres closing, testing will become less available province wide.
      • Our process for Siksika drive-thru testing may change after Sept. 27, pending review.
    • Contact Tracing: Siksika Health’s CDC team will continue to help individuals who have tested positive with COVID to notify close contacts.

People who choose to continue practicing public health measures such as physical distancing and wearing a mask to protect the health of themselves and others should feel empowered to do so. It is acceptable and advisable to continue practicing the healthy hygiene habits we have learned over the past year.

Siksika Health encourages everyone who has not yet been fully vaccinated to receive both vaccine doses as soon as possible. It takes 2 weeks after a dose to develop sufficient immunity from the vaccine.

Comparative Table:

*Siksika Nation’s revised protocols may be updated at a later date, pending review by Siksika Health Services public health team