Quick Facts for COVID-19

  • In the respiratory tract lining, COVID-19 infects the cells and has been labelled a respiratory virus.
  • The virus is NOT airborne, but can be spread by droplets through coughing, sneezing, talking, laughing, etc.
  • Droplets also settle on surfaces all around us and this virus can survive on surfaces from hours to days. Frequent sanitization of commonly touched surfaces is recommended.
  • 40/40 rule – 40 degrees Celsius (hot soap and water, hot wash in laundry) and 40% alcohol, kills the virus.
  • The reproduction number is 2-2.5, which means that in a population that is not immune, if there is no physical distancing or other control measures, each infected person will infect 2-2.5 others.
  • Assuming Siksika Nation has approximately 600 high-risk vulnerable individuals in the community, if there is no physical distancing, 500 would be infected. If physical distancing was 50 percent effective, that would drop to 50 high-risk individuals infected.
  • People are generally infectious for many days, that is why it is recommended that individuals self-isolate for at least ten days, or until symptoms have gone away (whichever is longer) if they are sick.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that infects the cells of the lining of the respiratory tract, pharynx, and throat. It is invisible to the human eye, but very dangerous, causing many people to become very sick and need to visit the hospital, and in some cases, pass away. Seniors and people with underlying medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are at higher risk of becoming very sick, so its especially important that we work together to protect these people.

Common Symptoms Include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Fatigue
  • Runny Nose
  • Shortness of breath
Symptoms May Also Include:
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Muscle/joint aches
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Altered smell or taste

Most people have mild symptoms and can recover at home.

COVID-19 can travel from one person to another person through the droplets in their breath, speech, coughs, and sneezes, and it is very contagious. COVID-19 is not airborne; it must be spread by droplets. When a person infected with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs, or sneezes, droplets that contain the virus fall down and settle on surfaces around them. And when that person touches their nose or mouth maybe coughs into their hands or wipes their nose or mouth the sickness is now on their hands until they wash them really well with soap and water, and can be spread to anything they touch, like door handles, countertops, light switches, etc. The virus can survive for hours and even days on those surfaces if they’re not cleaned and disinfected.

    • Being coughed on directly
    • Close contact with an infected person
    • Touching any surface that has droplets on them, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

The reproduction number for COVID-19 is 2-2.5. That means that in a population that is not immune, if there is no physical distancing or other control measures, each infected person will infect 2-2.5 others. This is compared to 1.5 for non-pandemic influenza, 10 for chicken pox, 15 for measles.

Currently, there is no way in the world to stop the virus; the best we can do is prepare for when it arrives in Siksika, do our best to slow down how quickly it spreads, and try to protect the people who are at highest risk, seniors, and people with underlying medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.

When individuals are sick, even with mild symptoms, it is important for them to stay home and self-isolate:

    • Stay away from other people.
    • Don’t go out, ask others to bring your supplies, or medications.
    • Wash your hand frequently with soap and water.
    • Cover your cough or cough into your sleeve.

Siksika Health Services, Siksika Emergency Management and all Siksika service areas are doing their best to support individuals and households to self-isolate within their own home. This includes support for food and essential supplies, medications and access to mental health and essential services. However, some ill individuals may not be able to isolate safely at home, or their household may not have the resources or space for isolation.

Siksika has been developing compassionate isolation options for those who cannot isolate safely at home. The Siksika Nation High School has been set up as a Compassionate Isolation Centre (CIC), for adults who test positive for COVID-19, and require necessary support to safely isolate outside of their home. The Compassionate Isolation Centre is available through a referral process, so if this is something you believe that you or someone in your household requires or may benefit from, be sure to tell the Community Health nurse when they call, following your COVID-19 test.

If you feel unwell or have any new of change in symptoms, stay home and call the COVID-19 Response Unit or CRU at 403-734-3829, which is available 7 days a week. The CRU offers testing in your home and by drive thru, but you should call to arrange testing. If you need to see a doctor, you can also call the medical clinic at 403-734-5690 during business hours.

It is important to continue to prepare for when COVID-19 arrives in Siksika, do our best to slow down how quickly it spreads, and try to protect the people who are at highest risk: Elders, and people with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.

There are things you can do to protect yourself and others:

For healthy people: stay home as much as possible, and limit all non-essential travel to other places, including the store, the medical clinic, other peoples houses, etc. While you are staying at home, reach out to family and friends for support in getting things you need. They can pick up what you need and leave anything on your door step.

If you feel ill or have ANY new symptom or change in symptoms (this can include cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle/joint aches, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, altered smell or taste), stay home and call the COVID-19 Response Unit or CRU at 403-734-3829, which is available 7 days a week. The CRU offers testing in your home and by drive thru, but you should call to arrange testing. If you need to see a doctor, you can also call the medical clinic at 403-734-5690 during business hours.

Keep distance from other people: at least 2 metres away from people who are not in your household. This COVID-19 virus can travel in the droplets from a sick persons breath, speech, coughs or sneezes, so if you are within 2 metres of another person and they speak or breathe, or happen to cough or sneeze, the droplets containing COVID-19 virus could reach you, and also make you sick. People infected with COVID-19 do not always have noticeable symptoms, and it can take a few days for symptoms to develop once a person does become infected. What this means is that if you are within 2 metres of another person, you can catch COVID-19 from them.

Physical Distancing is the best way to prevent and limit the spread of infection. Stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people.

  • Go for a walk, get groceries, pick up your mail, carry on with your usual activities, but always remember to:
    • Stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people.
    • Avoid shaking hands, kissing and hugging.
    • Cover your cough.
    • Wash your hands when you return home.

But just because we need to stay physically distant from one another doesn’t mean that we need to be socially disconnected! There are plenty of ways to stay in touch with family and friends, and even make new friends at this time: call, text, or video message other people, or call the support line at 403-734-5660 to talk to someone Being alone can add fear to feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression. Talk to check on and remain connected to your children, family, and friends.

Wash your hands very often, to remove any of those COVID-19 droplets that you may have picked up by touching door handles, cellphones, light switches, etc. If you’ve touched any surfaces that have COVID-19 droplets on them, the virus might be on your hands now, and then if you touch your nose, eyes, or mouth you could become infected with the virus as well. When it comes to washing your hands, just regular soap and water is best (don’t worry about buying the best antibacterial soap or COVID-19 soap). Sing your favourite powwow or country/western song while washing your hands to be sure you’re washing long enough – 20-30 seconds is the length of time it takes to get your hands clean.

  • Hand washing frequently – Regular soap and water works the best.
    • Wash for 20-30 seconds at a time.
    • Using hand sanitizer is a good option when handwashing with soap and water is not possible. Regular soap and water works best.

Try hard to not touch your face, just in case you did pick up some of those COVID-19 droplets by touching a table or a light switch or something that had the virus on it. It can be challenging to avoid touching your face, but its also important because the COVID-19 virus can enter a persons body through their nose, eyes or mouth. Do your best to prevent the virus from entering your body to limit your risk to becoming infected.

Cleaning and disinfecting the house can be a pain-in-the-butt, but its important for getting rid of any virus droplets that may have fallen on surfaces like countertops, tables, door handles, light switches and cleaning can be a great workout too! Try turning on the radio to 104.7FM – The Nations Station – or putting on some music that makes you smile, and make that cleaning/disinfecting happen! Any cleaning product labelled “Disinfectant” will do the job, and if you cant find any, a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water will work just as well. (don’t forget to wear rubber gloves when disinfecting – especially if you’re using bleach!)

  • On hard surfaces, you can use:
    • Cleaning products that have a label with the word “disinfectant”.
    • Bleach solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water.
    • Liquids such a lemon juice and vinegar are not strong enough to kill viruses/ bacteria.
  • On Upholstered surfaces (couches, arm chairs, etc.): Clean as usual with vacuuming, etc. Don’t use disinfectants.
    • it will damage material and soak into the cushioning.

Gatherings of people increase the risk that COVID-19 could spread, because its not always possible to know who may have it and who may not. If you are in the same room as someone with COVID-19, the risk of you also becoming sick is high. Yes, some people have symptoms like coughing and sneezing, but some sick people do not have symptoms, and they are still very contagious. This is why it is important to limit all gatherings to no more than 5 people in one room together.

The most important steps you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are to wash your hands, stay home (especially when sick), and keep 2 meters away from all others when out for essential supplies.

  • Masks do cover the mouth and nose and may help protect others, especially if you are sick.
    • Masks prevent respiratory droplets from contaminating people and surfaces around you.
    • Masks can also reduce spread from those who are infected with the virus but do not know it.
  • In addition to these measures, wearing a non-medical mask may help you if you find yourself in a place where you cannot distance yourself from others.
  • If you wear a non-medical mask, please note that it can become a source of infection when damp or wet. Disposable masks should be discarded after each use. Assume that any mask is contaminated after you wear it.

Homemade cloth masks have not been proven to protect the person wearing them from COVID-19 and they are not a substitute for physical distancing and good hand hygiene.

  • Continue to practice physical distancing and hand washing.
  • Wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off.
  • Do not touch your face while using it.
  • Do not share it with others.
  • Change it as soon as it gets damp or soiled by putting it directly into the washing machine or a plastic bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then thrown out.
  • Wash the mask using a hot cycle and then dry it thoroughly.
  • Do not embroider or add beadwork, as this will poke large holes into the cloth.

Gloves when out in public:

  • Gloves do not stop the transfer of germs to the face.
  • Instead of using gloves remember to:
    • Limit contact with high touch surfaces (door handles, light switches, touchpads, etc).
    • Avoid touching your face.
    • Wash hands with soap and water frequently.

For Those Living or Working in Siksika, COVID-19 Testing is Available for People WITH or WITHOUT SYMPTOMS:

Quickly self-isolating and getting tested if you feel unwell with ANY NEW or CHANGE in symptoms, even if they are mild, remains the most important way to limit the spread of COVID19 in the community

If you feel unwell or have ANY new symptoms or change in symptoms like a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle/joint aches, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, altered smell or taste, stay home and call the medical clinic during business hours, or the COVID-19 Response Unit (CRU) 403-734-3829 (available 24/7) to get tested as quickly as possible.

If you DO NOT have symptoms and one of the following categories applies to you, please get tested:

  1. You are an essential worker, front-line worker, or caregiver who works with clients/patients/customers outside of your home, or you work within other peoples homes. Examples of workers in this category include healthcare workers, law enforcement, front-line service providers in other Siksika service areas and businesses, security, custodians, drivers, tellers, and those who work in group homes, shelters or other group living facilities.
  2. You have returned to Siksika within 14 days of any of the following:
    • Being in an area, site or facility that has or recently had a COVID19 outbreak
    • Working in or being discharged from a healthcare facility
    • Working or living in a group living site like long term care or assisted living, shelters, correctional facilities, work and recreation camps, or group homes
    • Working in an industrial facility like a meat processing plant, logistics or distribution centre, or oil and gas refinery.
    • You have traveled outside the province of Alberta

If you are within one of these higher risk categories, you can repeat testing every two weeks as long as you continue to have NO symptoms. Those who develop ANY symptoms should be re-tested immediately.

Its very important that matapiiks (Siksika Nation members) get tested for COVID-19 because it will help the Siksika Medical Team track any cases of the virus and prevent it from spreading to more people. The identity of those who get tested and their household is confidential information that is protected by public health.

What Does a COVID-19 Test Involve?

The test for COVID-19 is a throat swab, which is quick and not painful. It may cause a bit of gagging, especially in young children, but this is not different than a throat swab done to when people have a sore throat. If someone is unable to get a throat swab, a nose swab can be done, which is also quick but may be a bit uncomfortable.

When a Person is Tested:

  • The community health team will follow-up daily by phone to check on the person and ask the entire household to stay home until the test results are received. This is necessary to ensure that there is no risk to others in the community if COVID-19 infection is identified.
  • Individuals who receive COVID-19 testing but do not have symptoms or who are not household or close contacts of people with symptoms will NOT need to isolate.
  • For those isolating, assistance can be provided for food, essential supplies and medications, if needed.
  • For those who cannot isolate safely at home, the Siksika Nation High School has been set up as a Compassionate Isolation Centre (CIC), for adults who test positive for COVID-19, and require necessary support to safely isolate outside of their home.

When individuals are tested for COVID-19, it can take up to 2 days for test results to come back. During this time it is recommended that the entire household must go into isolation; the Siksika Community Health team will follow-up daily by phone to check on the person that was tested, and their household. Self-isolation for sick people and their households is necessary to reduce the potential risk of them spreading COVID-19 to other people in the community, if COVID-19 infection is identified. COVID-19 is very contagious, and can travel from one person to another through the droplets in their breath, speech, coughs, and sneezes.

We try our best to support people in their own home who are being tested for COVID-19, however sometimes this may not be possible. Households may lack the resources or space, or washrooms needed to safely isolate individuals who are ill.

Siksika has been developing compassionate isolation options for those who cannot isolate safely at home. The Siksika Nation High School has been set up as a Compassionate Isolation Centre (CIC), for adults who test positive for COVID-19, and require necessary support to safely isolate outside of their home.

Individual rooms have been set up within the high school to ensure safe isolation, and around-the-clock medical services will be available for residents, along with food services, and access to television and internet. This Compassionate Isolation Centre launched on May 6.

The Compassionate Isolation Centre is available through a referral process, so if this is something you believe that you or someone in your household requires or may benefit from, be sure to tell the Community Health nurse when they call, following your COVID-19 test.Some ill individuals may not be able to isolate safely at home, or their household may not have the resources or space for isolation.

Self-Isolation