BY TAWNYA PLAIN EAGLE
Is Piikani Nation or Aakom-Kiyii Health Services prepared for the possibility of a positive Case of COVID-19?
Yes, Aakom-Kiyii Health Services has been preparing for the possibility of a positive case since the pandemic started. We have a plan in place to act quickly, support the individual and their family while also preventing spread.
2. What is the immediate response if someone was to test positive? additionally, What measures are in place to try stop the spread beyond one?
If a Nation member tests positive, AKHS will notify the person immediately and they will be legally required to isolate at home.
AKHS will ask the person who tested positive for a list of people they have been in contact with during a certain period of time, and we will start contacting those people right away. This is called “contact tracing”. The faster we can reach people that were in contact with the positive case, the better our chances of stopping the spread. We have a team of trained staff who are ready to start tracing when needed.
The faster we can get positive cases into isolation, the better our chances of stopping spread. We have taken measures to ensure we have places for people to safely isolate away from others.
3. Is it possible to contain it to just one individual or are we guaranteed to see more depending on how long the individual was contagious for?
It is possible, but there are no guarantees with COVID-19. People can have the virus without having any symptoms, which means they could be contagious without knowing. That makes it hard to stop spread.
The best way to stop COVID-19 from spreading is for all Nation members to avoid visiting people they don’t live with, wash their hands often, get tested if they have symptoms and keep 6 feet away from other people. Avoid large gatherings (more than 15 people) and don’t touch your face.
4. What other recommendations are there for family’s that may be affected but live in large households, and isolations are not possible inside the household?
If somebody tests positive from a large household, we have prepared scenarios of living arrangements. We have an isolation center ready if the person who tests positive wants to isolate away from their family. We also have other arrangements prepared if the person who tests positive should stay home and the family needs to stay somewhere else. All family members will be tested.
A person who tests positive needs to stay in their own room and nobody should have close contact with them. If it’s not possible for the positive person to have their own bathroom, the bathroom needs to be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Proper protective equipment should be worn to deliver meals and do laundry etc.
5. Is Piikani currently at risk for a positive case?
We are seeing positive cases in nearby communities, so yes. Realistically, everywhere in Canada (and the world) is at risk for a positive case, so everyone has a part to play in keeping the community safe.
6. What are some ways to continue this effort of preventing the virus from the community?
- Avoid travel to other communities – especially places with a lot of cases like Calgary. Stay within the South Health Zone.
- Don’t visit people outside your household. When you do see friends or family, stay 6 feet away from everyone. The less people you are in close contact with the safer everyone will be.
- Wash your hands! We hope everybody is washing their hands more than usual. Wash your hands really well when you get home from shopping or visiting.
- Don’t be afraid to get tested. AKHS will test anyone, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Stop the stigma of COVID-19. This virus doesn’t discriminate – anybody can test positive. Show kindness to others and don’t blame anyone for having symptoms or testing positive. We need to support each other during this difficult time. We are stronger together.