CINA: COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Indigenous Communities

Press Release

What is the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus is the name of a large family of viruses causing the novel COVID-19 respiratory illness initiating this global pandemic (WHO, 2020).

Who is at risk?

We are all at risk as this is a novel virus. There is an increased risk for Canadians that are: 65 and older, those

with compromised immune systems, or with underlying medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or blood pressure issues) (Government of Canada, 2020). There are outliers to those who are at risk, meaning there are exceptions.

How many cases are there?

As the number of cases is ever-changing and increasing, to find out how many active cases are present in Canada please visit the following link for accurate information: health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus- infection.html#a1

How is COVID-19 different from previous Coronaviruses and Influenzas?

This virus is different as it is novel, meaning NO ONE in the world has antibodies to it yet (or is immune) as no one has been infected by it previously (WHO, 2020). COVID-19 has been misrepresented in the media to be “just another flu”, but it has had a much worse effect than the common cold or influenza. The fatality rate of COVID-19 is much higher than the flu.

Spread 3 Main Ways (Government of Canada, 2020):

  1. 1)  Contact – Hand to hand contact (shaking hands), close contact (kissing, hugging), sharing items (drinks,foods).
  2. 2)  Droplets – Respiratory droplets as a result of sneezing, coughing, laughing, cheering, singing, yelling.
  3. 3)  Surfaces – All surfaces both hard and soft including clothing and can be active for hours to days.

The virus infected droplets can enter your body through your mucus membrane (eyes, mouth, or nose). This causes infections in the lungs, nose and throat. These infected droplets are able to stay in the air for up to three hours indoors. It should be made clear that just because you don’t have any symptoms, does not mean that you cannot spread the virus to other people that may be more vulnerable for developing the illness than you are. It is because of this risk that all Canadians and Indigenous Peoples in Canada, must practice social distancing.
Under ideal conditions, the virus can live for up to 72 hours. Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands puts you at risk for developing COVID-19. Surfaces that are most often touched should be wiped down with at least 60% rubbing alcohol in order to disinfect the area/surface. The virus attaches itself to all surfaces however, it likes hard surfaces which can hold the virus for hours or days, so cleaning and proper hand hygiene is key (view infographic for proper handwashing protocol).

To avoid spreading the virus further, it is important to follow the precautions below:

  • Proper, thorough and consistent hand washing.
  • Change how we greet one another – instead of a handshakegive a friendly wave or the nod that we do so well.
  • Avoid sharing cigarettes, or any smoking material includingCeremonial Pipes.
  • Keep our hands away from our face and others.
  • When possible make alternate arrangements for communityevents including Feasts, Funerals, Wakes, as we must limit our exposure and ensure that large groups of 10 or more are avoided.
  • Stay at home if you are sick, let others know you are sick and if you need to self-isolate.
  • Avoid outside contact with Elders, seniors, and anyone with an underlying health condition.
  • If you feel feverish monitor your temperature, practice proper cleaning and care of thermometers.
  • Do not think children and youth and young adults can’t catch this virus, that is not true: they can get it, suffer from it and they can carry it.


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