Leadership recommends taking Coronavirus precautions seriously
- Jeanelle Mandes | March 12, 2020
In wake of the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declaring the Coronvirus (COVID-19) a pandemic worldwide and the provincial government confirming its first presumptive case of the virus, Indigenous leadership in Saskatchewan are preparing communities to take precautions.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) released a statement on March 12 to ensure that First Nations in Saskatchewan are informed and prepared in the event of wide-spread Covid-19 cases in the province.
“The FSIN Executive are keeping a close eye on this global pandemic and we urge all nations to begin preparing and taking any necessary precautions to be ready in the event of a spike in COVID-19 cases in our region,” according to the statement.
“Another COVID-19 update will be provided to the 74 member nations and FSIN organizations…these bulletins will continue to go out on a regular basis as the issue develops and progresses across Canada. Many Saskatchewan First Nations do have access to or have implemented their own pandemic plan for these types of situations.”
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health’s Provincial Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab confirmed Saskatchewan’s first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Saskatoon.
“The province’s first case is linked to travel from a country where local transmission of COVID-19 has been reported,” Dr. Shahab said in a prepared statement. “This supports the expanded testing criteria of symptomatic travelers to better prepare Saskatchewan’s response to the COVID-19 event. All travelers need to monitor their symptoms for two weeks upon return home.”
The individual, who is in his 60s, reported to have travelled to Egypt and had experienced symptoms of the virus, he was tested March 9 in Saskatoon. The man is currently in self-isolation at home.
“While the risk of acquiring COVID-19 in Saskatchewan continues to be low, increased testing will assist us in detecting cases as early as possible and delaying the spread of the illness as long as possible,” Shahab said. “But it is critical that residents take precautions to protect themselves against respiratory illness. Wash your hands frequently, practice good cough and sneeze hygiene and stay home if you are sick.”
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) also released a statement in wake of Saskatchewan’s first confirmed presumptive case of COVID-19.
“[AFN] is pressing Canada to ensure the unique situation and needs of First Nations are addressed in its preparedness planning. There are many factors such as remoteness, over-crowded housing, lack of access to drinking water and more that require a dedicated plan and response,” according to the email statement. “The AFN is connecting with officials at Indigenous Services Canada, the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch and the Public Health Agency of Canada to get daily updates…We want to ensure First Nations leadership has direct access to health officials and resources in their region.”
Eagle Feather News will continue to keep you informed as this worldwide issue continues to unfold. In the meantime, please take the time to follow the precautions listed below courtesy of the Government of Saskatchewan.
Protect Yourself from Respiratory Illness:
- Wash your hands frequently – for at least 20 seconds;
- Do not touch surfaces and then your mouth, eyes or nose;
- Use tissues when you cough or sneeze and dispose of them immediately, use your elbow if a tissue not available;
- Practice social distancing by not shaking hands, hugging, etc.;
- Stay home if you become ill and prevent the spread of the illness.
All travellers should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or difficulty breathing) for 14 days after returning to Canada and avoid places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill. If you have even mild symptoms, stay home and call HealthLine 811 for advice.
Contact HealthLine 811 within 24 hours of arriving in Canada for direction.