Quick Facts for COVID-19

  • In the respiratory tract lining, COVID-19 infects the cells and has been labelled a respiratory virus.
  • The virus 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.
  • 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 it’s 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.

How is COVID-19 Spread?

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. 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.

How does the disease enter your body?

    • 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.

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 developed 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 403-734-5688, 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.

Continue Protecting Yourself and Others by Following COVID-19 Public Health Measures:

Keep distance from other people: wear a mask whenever you are indoors in common areas or shared spaces with people outside 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. Wear a mask whenever you are indoors in common areas or shared spaces with people outside your household

  • Healthy people can go for a walk, get groceries, pick up your mail, carry on with your usual activities, but always remember to:
    • Wear a mask whenever you are indoors in common areas or shared spaces with people outside your household
    • 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 a Mental Health Therapist. 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 hand washing 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 Nation’s 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 – both informal social gatherings, and formal gatherings.

Gatherings should only be permitted if the space and the organization of the group activity allows physical distancing (2 metres between people), cleaning and disinfecting, adequate hand-washing stations or alcohol-based hand sanitizer available to all participants, and other public health measures. In situations where these measures cannot be maintained, groups will need to be smaller so that these preventive measures can be maintained to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during the activity.

Sick individuals with any type of symptoms should not attend gatherings.

Siksika Nation Chief & Council passed a motion on July 23 which requires face masks to be worn in all Siksika Nation-owned buildings, beginning Aug. 1, 2020.

It is important to note that wearing a mask or face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing and good hand hygiene.

  • 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 METRES AWAY from others when out for essential supplies.

Wearing Masks:

  • 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 infected with the virus but do not know it.
  • Masks may help when in places where you cannot physically distance from others.

Guidance for Mask Use:

  • Continue to practice physical distancing and hand washing, even while wearing a mask.
  • Wear a mask whenever you are indoors in common areas or shared spaces with people outside your household
  • Before and after using a mask, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol.
  • Ensure your hair is away from your face when wearing a mask. A face mask can be safely worn by someone with facial hair.
  • Check the mask for damage before use. If it is damaged, do not use the mask – discard it and replace with a mask that is not damaged.
  • Ensure the mask fully covers from above the nose to below the chin.
  • Refrain from touching your face while using a mask or face covering.
  • It is important to not share face masks with other people.
  • When wearing a 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.
  • If a mask is single use (disposable), dispose of it in a lined garbage bin after use.
  • If a mask is reusable, place it in a clean plastic bag after use, and clean it thoroughly before reusing.
  • Wash reusable masks using a hot cycle in the wash machine, and then dry it thoroughly.
  • Do not embroider or add beadwork to a mask, as this will poke large holes in the cloth.

Exceptions to Mandatory Masking:

Beginning August 1, 2020, masks are required in all Siksika Nation-owned buildings/facilities. Exceptions include:

  • When eating, provided physical distancing, hand hygiene and sanitation of surfaces is maintained.
  • When alone in an office or workspace that is NOT shared, and where physical distancing, hand hygiene and sanitization of surfaces is maintained.
  • Young children under two years of age.
  • People with underlying medical conditions or disabilities inhibiting their ability to wear a face covering.
  • People who are unable to place, use, or remove a face covering safely without assistance.
  • People engaging in an athletic or fitness activity.
  • In circumstances where a mask detrimentally interferes with an activity or service (for example, lip reading or dentist visit).

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.