FNHA Video Messages and Podcasts
COVID-19: What You Need to Know
Travel and Events
Topics: FNHA moves to Level 3 state of readiness | “What happens to communities happens to us” | First batch of personal protective equipment delivered to communities
Topics: Latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak | Taking care of your family and community members | Finding trustworthy and up-to-date information
COVID-19 – What You Need to Know
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses, including the flu and common cold. They may include coughing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing.
Coronavirus is transmitted via larger liquid droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The virus can enter via these droplets through the eyes, nose or throat if you are in close contact. You can also infect yourself by touching your eyes, nose and mouth as the virus may be present on your hands.
By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
Elders and people with chronic health or respiratory conditions are most at risk of becoming very ill if they contract COVID-19 and possibly dying.
Is there a vaccine?No. It can take years to develop a vaccine for a new disease and to produce enough for populations.
If you are in close contact, the virus can enter your body via these droplets through your eyes, nose or throat.
Have COVID-19 Symptoms? Call 8-1-1 Poster (FNHA poster)
The most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using soap and water is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of infection. If a sink is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands as long as they are not visibly soiled. If hands are visibly soiled, use a wipe and then an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean them.
Everyone should take the following steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
* Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly* Avoid touching your face* Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow* Practice social distancing by staying two metres (6 feet) away from other people* Forgo social greetings such as handshakes, hugs and kisses* Avoid all social gatherings * Avoid all non-essential travel
Also, self-isolate (stay at home and don’t go to work or school) for 14 days if:* you are infected or think you may be* you have been in close contact with someone who is now infected* someone in your household is infected* you have recently returned from travel outside of Canada, including the U.S.General protection against COVID-19 (FNHA poster)
Cleaning your Phone (FNHA poster)
Washing your Hands (FNHA poster)
Do Not Enter Warning Sign (FNHA warning sign for health care facilities)
Do Not Enter Warning Sign (FNHA warning sign for homes)
Harm Reduction and Overdose Response for COVID-19 (BCCDC info sheet)
Yes, it's safe to wash your hands with soap if you are living in a community with a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) or a Do Not Consume (DNC) advisory. However, if you are living with a Do Not Use (DNU) advisory you should wash with bottled water. (See the FNHA
Drinking Water Advisories page.)
Regular household cleaners are effective for removing germs. You may also use a solution of one part bleach mixed with nine parts water to disinfect areas that are touched often such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. If you have COVID-19, it is important to use bleach to disinfect, especially if you are sharing any common areas (such as a bathroom) with others or if others will be entering the room where you are staying.
Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. This is called good respiratory hygiene.
The FNHA recommends social distancing, forgoing usual greetings (such as handshakes, hugs, kisses etc.), avoiding all social gatherings over 50 people, and staying home if you are experiencing any signs of illness, even if they are mild symptoms.
If you are coughing or sneezing, always cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue. Throw the tissue into a closed bin immediately after use. Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or with soap and warm water after you cough or sneeze. Do the same when you are caring for a loved one that is sick.
When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease. Avoiding physical contact while greeting friends, family and community members helps to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to the people we care about.
Due to the unprecedented risk presented by COVID-19, physical distancing is essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All of us must take responsibility to care for each other by keeping our physical distance.
Physical Distancing Do's and Don'ts (FNHA poster)
How Physical Distancing Works (FNHA infographic)
Travel and Events
Attending even small gatherings increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19. This increases the chance of participants becoming infected and carrying the virus into their communities and passing it on to vulnerable friends and family, particularly Elders and people with existing health conditions.
We understand people will be disappointed at the postponement of events and travel plans but our common priority now is to slow the spread of the disease, contain the chain of transmission, and protect our most vulnerable family and community members.
The FNHA acknowledges the significance of cultural gatherings in our communities and the lingering negative memories and trauma caused by the banning of cultural activities in the past.
It is no longer safe to participate in cultural gatherings due the rapid spread of COVID-19 in BC. The FNHA recommends the immediate cancellation or postponement of all cultural events.
As an alternative, you could modify your cultural practice or ceremony to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres (six feet). You could also conduct ceremonies with only family members who live in the same household (and have a larger event later), or consider an alternative such as a FaceTime event.
The FNHA advises that you temporarily suspend traditional practices like sweat lodges and pipe ceremonies. Doing a sweat and being near others who are sweating could easily lead to transmission of the virus to others. And there is a strong likelihood during a pipe ceremony of transmitting the virus via saliva when the pipe is passed from one person to the next.
For more information, read
the FNHA advisory page.
COVID-19 and community gatherings (FNHA video on YouTube)
Self-isolation means staying at home and not going to work or school. It also means monitoring yourself for symptoms for 14 days.
If you have no symptoms but may have been exposed to the virus, you need to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of possible exposure.
If you are experiencing symptoms, you need to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the date of the onset of symptoms. If you are still having symptoms at 10 days, continue self-isolation until you are symptom-free. Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-isolate beyond 10 days.
Stay and sleep in a room with good airflow that is away from others. Use a separate bathroom if you can. Wear a facemask (surgical/procedure mask) if you are in the same room with anyone and avoid face-to-face contact. Do not share towels or face cloths. Friends and family can drop off food outside your room or home. If you live with an Elder or someone with a chronic health condition, it would be best if those people could stay in the home of other family or friends in the community.
If someone in the community is infected, they must self-isolate. People who were in close contact with that person (i.e. people living in the same household) should also self-isolate for 14 days.
The whole household must self-isolate for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus to anyone outside of your household.
Keeping Kids Active During the Pandemic (FNHA poster)
The impact of COVID-19 on mental health (FNHA video on YouTube)
Staying Connected During the Pandemic (FNHA poster)
Temporary Medical Transportation Changes in Response to COVID-19 (FNHA notice page)
Testing is available for all who need it but not everyone needs a test. If you have no symptoms or mild symptoms you do not require a test. If symptoms appear, call your health care provider or 8-1-1 for guidance.
You can use this easy
self-assessment tool from the BC provincial government to help determine whether you or a loved one need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.
COVID-19 is tested using a standard swab (long Q-tip that scrapes cells from the very back of the nose or throat). These swabs are then sent to a laboratory for testing. The tests are available where influenza testing is being done. Call your health care provider or 8-1-1 for guidance. Not all people with respiratory symptoms need to be tested for COVID-19. If people develop respiratory symptoms, they should self-isolate, regardless of the availability of testing.
* Ensure that you self-isolate immediately and avoid contact with others. This means staying away from others as much as possible.
* Wash your hands or use alcohol-based sanitizer frequently.
* Use good hygiene practices such as coughing or sneezing into a disposable
tissue or into your elbow.
* Clean high-touch areas such as toilets, bedside tables and door handles with diluted bleach (one-part bleach to nine parts water) or a household disinfectant.
* If you are experiencing symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider or
call 8-1-1 for guidance. If your symptoms are severe, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department
If you are feeling anxious about COVID-19, you’re not alone. It’s normal to worry. You may even find that it triggers symptoms of trauma. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – from family, friends, or health providers. There are also many mental wellness and cultural supports available to you.
Mental wellness and cultural supports available during the pandemic (FNHA info sheet)
You should stock your household with essential supplies in case you are asked to self-isolate for 14 days. However, it's not necessary to stockpile large quantities of toilet paper or any other supplies. This only creates supply issues for everyone.
If it’s not toilet paper, don’t flush it! (FNHA information page)
Masks should be used by sick people to prevent transmission to other people. A mask will help keep a person's droplets in. It is less effective to wear a mask in the community when a person is not sick themselves. Masks may give a person a false sense of security and are likely to increase the number of times a person will touch their own face (e.g., to adjust the mask). Health-care workers will wear surgical masks, eye protection and gowns in order to protect themselves and their patients.
Yes, the virus can survive on porous surfaces such as skin and cloth as well as other materials and surfaces for hours to days, depending on the surface. Regular washing is recommended.
Recent evidence does not indicate a large risk for infants – very few children under five showed serious illness from COVID-19. There has been a positive case detected, however, so they are not immune.
There is currently no evidence that domestic animals like pets can become sick with COVID-19 or can spread the virus to people.
* Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum: 1-250-268-2463 or toll free 1-888-590-3123
Do people who smoke/vape have a higher chance of developing severe complications if they become infected with COVID-19
Read our FAQs here.
FNHA and privacy (FNHA privacy statement)
If you think that you have been exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) or are experiencing symptoms, please contact your primary care provider or local public health office or call 8-1-1.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) (HealthLink BC website)
Coronavirus info line: 1-833-784-4397 (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Your Pharmacist Can Help (BC Pharmacy Association)
Daily update on COVID-19 response
Accessing financial benefits and support (Indigenous Services of Canada notice)