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:
- Sore Throat
- Runny Nose
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms May Also Include:
- Muscle/joint aches
- Loss of appetite
- Altered smell or taste
Most people have mild symptoms and can recover at home.
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 and Siksika Nation Administration 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. 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 or 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: limit non-essential travel to places outside of your home/yard, and follow public health advice: keep distance (2 metres) from others who are not in your household; wash your hands regularly – more often than usual – with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, when soap and water is not available); clean & disinfect common surfaces; etc. See more information below, and on the Alberta Health website: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus.
If you feel ill or have ANY new symptoms 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.
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:
- You are a household or other contact of anyone who has symptoms, or who was a suspect, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.
- 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.
- 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.
To organize regular work-place testing every two weeks for worksites or group living sites with front-line workers and caregivers, managers should contact email@example.com or 403-734-5720.
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 entire household may be asked to stay home and isolate to limit the spread in the community if results come back positive for COVID-19 (see “Isolation to Limit COVID-19 Spread”).
- Every person with symptoms who is tested will receive a follow-up on the same or next day by a Community Health Nurse, who checks on their health and informs them of their test results. Test results typically return in 1 day.
- Every person without symptoms who is tested may receive a follow-up from an AHS auto-dialer.
If your test result is negative, you may still develop COVID-19 if you have been exposed to the virus in the last 14 days. The long incubation period of COVID-19 means that we may not know the outcome for those who are exposed for up to two weeks after their exposure. If someone is infected, they may not show symptoms or become infectious for up to two weeks. Some may not show symptoms at all. Its important to continue monitoring for symptoms.
Additional Option To Access Test Results:
If you’ve been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results, you may be able to access your own lab results online. Those with a MyAlberta Digital ID can access their MyHealth Records by visiting https://myhealth.alberta.ca/myhealthrecords. If you do not have a MyAlberta Digital ID, you can set one up by visiting the same link.
Everyone tested for COVID-19 will be notified of their test results. Negative test results may take longer to communicate because of the large volume of COVID-19 tests being done at this time.
Isolation information for people WITH symptoms:
If you feel unwell or have any 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 get tested as quickly as possible.
Every person with symptoms who is tested will receive a follow-up call on the same or next day by a Community Health Nurse, who checks on their health and informs them of their results, usually within 1 day. Test results are confidential and protected personal health information.
For people with symptoms who get tested for COVID-19, the entire household will be asked to isolate while waiting for test results, in order to limit the spread in the community if results come back positive for COVID-19. If the test comes back negative (no COVID-19), isolation for the household may be lifted (the Community Health Nurse will provide direction), however people with symptoms should continue self-isolating for 10 days, or until their symptoms go away completely (whichever is longer).
Isolation information for people WITHOUT symptoms:
Individuals who do not have symptoms but receive COVID-19 testing will not need to self-isolate unless they are asked to do so by a Community Health Nurse or other member of Siksika’s public health team. If an individual is a household or close contact of someone with symptoms, or a household or close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they will likely be required to self-isolate.
Isolation information for people who test positive for COVID-19:
If your COVID-19 test result is positive, you will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days, even if you do not have symptoms. Anyone who has been in close contact with you would also need to self-isolate.
General Isolation Information:
Its important to continue monitoring for symptoms. A negative test does not mean someone does not need to self-isolate – they should follow the instructions provided by the Community Health Nurse or Public Health Team member.
Siksika has developed some compassionate isolation options for those who cannot isolate safely at home. 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. Siksika Health Services may be able to support individuals and households that are isolating with food and supplies, prescriptions, and medical care, as needed.