July 19, 2020
CONTACT TRACING WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL TESTS POSITIVE
The Council of the Haida Nation, Old Massett Village Council, Skidegate Band Council, Old Massett and Skidegate Health Centres, Northern Health and First Nations Health Authority, and family and friends on Haida Gwaii are working to limit the spread and reduce the impact of COVID-19 here on the Islands.
With a confirmed positive case on Haida Gwaii, there are many questions from concerned citizens regarding possible exposure or potential contact with an individual who may have tested positive for COVID-19. There will be many people discussing possible scenarios where they may have come in contact with the virus.
If you think you may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, here is what you should know:
- Close contacts are individuals who have been in direct, face-to-face contact with a person who is infectious, such as a prolonged contact in an enclosed space for 15 minutes or more.
- A person is most likely to be infectious (still contagious or spreading virus), from two days before – and until 10 days after – they first had symptoms. If contact with the case is outside that period of time there is little risk.
- Public health stays in contact with all lab confirmed cases and their close contacts on a daily basis, to make sure they are doing well, find out if they have symptoms, and whether those symptoms are getting worse or better.
- Only close contacts who are considered a significant exposure risk (as defined above) will be followed up by public health.
- If you have no symptoms and have not been contacted by public health, your risk of developing COVID-19 from exposure to a lab confirmed case is extremely low.
- The province is mandated to provide service and protect all citizens of British Columbia, including First Nations. Regional Health Authority (RHA) Communicable Disease (CD) teams are led by Medical Health Officers, who are medical physicians and also CD specialists. These teams work in close partnership with First Nations Health Authority and Health Centers.
- The health authority CD teams in partnership with the local community health nurses contact any positive case and conduct careful contact tracing for any individuals who were in close contact.
COVID-19 is not generally spread by people with no symptoms. This is why following the public health recommendations (hand wash, physical distancing, etc.) and monitoring yourself for symptoms, is the best way to stay safe and protect your community. This is also why Public Health does not recommend self-isolation or quarantine for people who are not close contacts of a case. However, if people decide to do self-isolate anyway, that is of course their choice.
To protect yourself and others:
- If you develop symptoms: immediately isolate and get tested
- If you have questions or need testing, health advice, or virtual screenings and assessments or information, call the COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line for Northern BC: 844.645.7811
- Self-monitor for symptoms – you can also use the BC Centre for Disease Control Support App & Self-Assessment tool (bc.thrive.health)
Testing for COVID-19 can take an average of three days to receive a result, and only the person who was tested will be given the results. Public health has legal mandate to protect your confidentiality and cannot reveal test results or details about a confirmed case.
Old Massett and Skidegate Health Centres are working closely with the communicable disease teams at Northern Health and the First Nations Health Authority, and with the Council of the Haida Nation, on measures intended to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19 on Haida Gwaii.
Our community based strategies include:
- Advising community members to stay home/self-isolate when feeling unwell
- Limiting / cancelling all public gatherings in both Skidegate and Old Massett
- Supporting curfews in both communities
Limiting the spread of COVID-19 on Haida Gwaii is everyone’s responsibility. We all have to do our part to keep ourselves, our loved ones and Haida Gwaii safe!
FOR LOCAL PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION:
|Health Clinic: Old Massett
Shauna Smith, RN
|Skidegate Clinic: Skidegate