STAY INFORMED TO STAY SAFE: Elevated & ongoing COVID-19 transmission on Haida Gwaii
March 4, 2021
What we know works:
- Following proper masking practices
- Make sure your mask is keeping you safe- See information from the BC CDC Masks (bccdc.ca)
- Maintaining physical distance of at least 2 meters/6 feet from people who are not from your household if you can, no matter where you are
- Washing your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water for 30 seconds; if soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
- Don’t socialize outside of the people in your household
- This includes indoor AND outdoor gatherings
- Limit the time you spend in public spaces
- Remember that these measures still apply and are still important, even if you have been vaccinated.
Everyone is tired and we have all heard these basic measures over and over, but they are integral to staying safe.
Remember to treat others with compassion to reduce the stigma surrounding this illness. Support friends, family and community members to make the decisions that work for each person, family and household.
What we don’t know:
- Because of the time needed for test results and public health notification, we may not know the exact number of active cases and new cases at any given time.
- Numbers of cases, like the weather, can change drastically. Haida Gwaii’s Health Centres and EOCs do their best to communicate to communities as needed.
- We may not know whether any of the new COVID-19 variants have reached Haida Gwaii.
- There is limited testing for variants in BC, but if concern is raised by elevated rates of transmission then samples can be prioritized for specific testing.
- We are waiting to find out when Haida Gwaii will get vaccinated
- 260 Haida Elders have already received vaccines in Skidegate and Old Massett, and additional vaccines will be administered through the month of March.
- Lots of great information about vaccination is available from our local health centres and Northern Health, and they will be keeping our people updated.
- For more information on the vaccines in BC, visit the BC CBC website: COVID-19 vaccination at a glance (bccdc.ca)
What we know about how COVID-19 has spread on HG:
- COVID-19 is brought on-island via travel, but it spreads by person-to-person contact. We can prevent the spread by strictly following the Haida Gwaii State of Emergency to the best of our abilities.
- A large part of the spread in Haida Gwaii communities has been through gatherings and people coming together indoors.
- “Cumulative” gathering can also be a risk factor. That means a few short interactions can add up to form a higher-risk exposure situation.
- Our hospitals and medical clinics have strict safety measures in place. It is safe for you to see your doctor or access medical services if you need to.
Realities of COVID-19 response on Haida Gwaii:
- It takes longer to get test results than it might in other places in BC.
- Haida Gwaii swabs are sent to the mainland for testing, this means that test times can be even longer when the weather delays flights.
- If you have been told to isolate then follow the instructions for time and guidelines
- Contact tracing takes time, especially when case numbers in the Northern Health region are high, like right now.
- Once contact tracing begins, any possible school or workplace exposures is evaluated. For this reason, there may be a delay between the positive diagnosis and notification of an exposure event.
- Self-reporting to your local EOC is confidential and helps reduce the lag time for information to reach Haida Gwaii and allows communities to respond appropriately.
- COVID-19 numbers are not disclosed directly to communities in municipalities (so municipal EOCs may not be able to provide information on case numbers).
- If a COVID-19 patient requires hospitalization, they may be sent to the mainland for higher-level care by medevac. Medevacs are dependent on weather and how many other urgent patients there are in the rest of BC.
The measures are in place for a reason; bending the rules increases your risk and possible spread. You can help bring our cases back to zero by continuing to do everything you can to follow the measures in the Haida Gwaii State of Emergency.
Supports available for Haida Gwaii residents:
- Financial supports can be found at Canada.ca
- Many local EOCs are providing grocery deliveries and housing support for anyone who is isolating.
COVID-19 Cases on Haida Gwaii:
- COVID-19 cases on Haida Gwaii from February 21-27 (from BC CDC): 32
- Cumulative number of cases on Haida Gwaii between January 1 and February 27, 2021: 83
- Please note: the majority of these cases are recovered
The numbers above are accurate at the time they are reported, view the BC CDC website for weekly Haida Gwaii-wide data.