November 28, 2020
Community Notice: COVID-19
To Members of Peerless Trout First Nation
I am writing today to notify Peerless Trout First Nation that there has been a recent potential exposure of COVID-19 in your community as of November 28, 2020, and an active public health investigation is underway. Recognizing this is a stressful time, I would like to take the opportunity to reiterate the supports that are available to you and several key public health messages to limit the impact the virus may have within the community.
The Medical Officer of Health (MOH) team, in collaboration with the province, are responsible for disease surveillance and preventing the spread of communicable diseases. During the current pandemic, the ISC-AB MOH, Communicable Disease Control, Nursing, and Environmental Public Health teams work with the province, and in partnership with your community’s nursing team, to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in First Nations communities.
There is potential that an individual(s) in your community has been exposed to COVID-19, and as such, an active public health investigation is underway. The current priorities of our investigation are identification of any and all contacts, and testing individuals who are experiencing symptoms or who were in close contact with the exposed individual. A testing plan for all close contacts, or anyone with symptoms, is being coordinated with Alberta Health Services. It is important that anyone who is contacted by a nurse is cooperative with the public health investigation.
Any individual experiencing symptoms that could potentially be COVID-19 related such as shortness of breath, a runny nose or sore throat, are required to stay home and seek guidance from your Nation’s health center or call health link at 811. When a case of COVID-19 is confirmed, the health of the impacted individual and their contacts is closely monitored. ISC- AB ensures all individuals adhere to the Mandatory Quarantine and Isolation: Chief Medical Officer of Health Order 05-2020. Individuals are legally required to isolate if they have COVID-19 or quarantine if they are a close contact to someone who has COVID-19.
Public health orders can be legally enforced to protect the health and safety of others. Guidelines for self-isolation include:
- Stay home – do not attend work, school, social events or any other public gatherings;
- Avoid close contact with other people, including members of your household and especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems;
- Do not take public transportation like buses, taxis or ride sharing, where possible; and,
- Watch for symptoms in yourself or a family member.
It is key to understand that the privacy and disclosure of personal health information is protected and governed under the provincial Health Information Act. This Act identifies the very specific parameters under which health information is protected and prevents disclosure of personal health information outside of the circle of care. Therefore, I cannot emphasize
enough that only health providers within the circle of care team have access to the personal health information of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in your community.
It is critically important that we work together to limit any transmission of COVID-19. COVID-19 is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with an individual who is sick with the virus. In addition to basic infection, prevention, and control measures the following are steps your membership can to take to protect themselves and others:
- Practice physical distancing, staying at least 2 metres away from others when in public or social settings;
- Wear a mask in public and when unable to physically distance from individuals who do not live with you;
- Practice good hygiene: wash yours hands often for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer, cover your coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your face;
- Monitor for symptoms including: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat. Please note that COVID-19 can present with other symptoms. For more information on symptoms and testing please see the Government of Alberta’s webpage;
- Stay home and isolate yourself from others if you have any symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or medical condition; and,
- If you have symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed case, take the COVID-19 self-assessment or contact the health centre to access testing.
Please note, the province of Alberta continues to enforce a number of public health orders to protect the health and safety of all Albertans and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially among seniors and vulnerable populations. On November 24, 2020, in response to the recent increase of COVID-19 across Alberta the Government of Alberta announced a number of mandatory restrictions. These will be implemented for a minimum of three weeks. These new mandatory measures have been selected in order to slow the spread of the virus and protect the health system as well as vulnerable Albertans.
New measures for all Alberta:
- No indoor social gatherings in any setting (private homes, public spaces or workplaces);
- Mandatory limit of 10 individuals for outdoor gatherings and must not have an indoor component;
- Mandatory limit on the number of individuals attending wedding ceremonies or funeral services to a maximum of 10 individuals and no receptions permitted;
- No festivals or events (indoors and outdoors);
- Grade 7-12 shifting to at-home learning beginning November 30 with in-person classes resuming January 11;
- Early Childhood Services to Grade 6 at-home learning after scheduled winter break until January 11; and,
- Employers should consider working from home, where possible.
The health and safety of Peerless Trout First Nation community members remains our priority. Thank you for your patience as we work collaboratively to navigate this challenging period.
The ISC-AB Medical Officer of Health and Communicable Disease Control teams will continue to work closely with your health staff and are available to support follow-up efforts as needed.
Dr. Chris Sarin, Deputy Medical Officer of Health, ISC-AB
Cc: Dr. Wadieh Yacoub, Senior Medical Officer of Health, FNIHB-AB
Dr. Parminder Thiara, Regional Director, Primary and Population Health, FNIHB-AB