COVID-19 Information for the Public

The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government is working with the Cree Health Board to keep you updated on COVID-19 information for Eeyou Istchee.

What is COVID-19?

(Source: Cree Health Board’s Public Health Department)

Cree Translation of COVID-19

Yehyewâspinewin e âshû-mîyitunâniwich

ᔦᐦᔦᐙᔅᐱᓀᐎᓐ  ᐋᔔ ᒦᔨᑐᓈᓂᐎᒡ

COVID-19 is a new strain of the coronavirus disease. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases. COVID-19 was unknown before the outbreak began in December 2019.

On March 13, 2020, the Gouvernement du Québec adopted an Order in Council that declares a health emergency throughout Québec’s territory. This exceptional measure empowers the government to implement an array of measures to protect the health of the population.

The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government is working closely with the Cree Health Board to provide regularly updated information to keep you informed. We encourage you:

  1. Visit the Cree Health Board website to receive updated information for Eeyou Istchee on COVID-19
  2. Avoid spreading misinformation or rumours
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Latest Livestream Q&A on COVID-19

We are working with the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, the Cree School Board and local governments to answer your questions. You can submit questions ahead of time on our Facebook page or in the Livestream comments.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are as follows:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

The symptoms can be mild (similar to a cold) or more severe (such as those associated with pneumonia and respiratory or kidney failure).

In rare cases, infection can lead to death. People most at risk of complications are those with a weakened immune system or a chronic disease and older people.

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What is the current situation in Eeyou Istchee?

Updated May 4, 2020

For now, there are ten confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our region, but the risk level remains low. The CBHSSJB is monitoring the situation very closely and testing individuals who may have been exposed to the virus. Government of Canada Exposure Criteria.

If you are worried about COVID-19, call your CMC or the Cree Board of Health COVID-19 Info Line’s toll-free number:

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How is COVID-19 Spread?

COVID-19 usually infects the nose, throat and lungs. In most cases, it is spread by:

  • Close contact with an infected person when the person coughs or sneezes
  • Touching infected surfaces with your hands and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

COVID-19 is not spread through the air. Being in the same room with someone is not risky. It is less contagious than the flu.

How can I stop the spread of COVID-19?

Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading the infection to others: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. When coughing or sneezing:

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
  • Dispose of your tissue as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

Clean the following high-touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water):

  • toys
  • sinks
  • toilets
  • phones
  • electronics
  • door handles
  • bedside tables
  • television remotes

If you are sick, avoid contact with more vulnerable people, including Elders and people who have a chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease. Avoid shaking hands or kissing when you greet someone, and use other ways to greet people that don’t involve touching. We all have our part to play to reduce the risk of spreading viruses.

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What do I do if I am feeling sick?

In Eeyou Istchee, if you have a fever and cough, it is probably a cold or the flu. If you have symptoms AND have travelled outside Canada, or had contact with someone who has:

  • Stay home
  • Limit contact with others
  • Contact your local CMC, (numbers at the bottom of the page) and follow their instructions It is very important that you inform health care workers of your condition before or immediately upon arrival at the clinic so that we can take proper measures to care for you, but also to prevent the spread to others. You may be asked to self-isolate. Learn more about self-isolation.

What should I do if I am feeling anxious or depressed?

If you are feeling overwhelmed, call your local CMC and ask for a mental health consultation. The CBHSSJB is working to put in place additional resources to help people cope with this unusual situation. There is a lot of misinformation and alarmist information online and on TV.

It’s important to remember that COVID-19 does not spread through the air, that handwashing is effective to prevent the spread of the disease, and that there is no COVID-19 in Eeyou Istchee, and very few cases in Quebec. Most people have mild symptoms.

If you are able to, get away from social media and pursue traditional activities outside the community. Enjoy being outdoors and make sure the people around you are doing ok.

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Individuals that are High Risk

Who is most at risk?

Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, including Elders and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. If you have well-controlled diabetes with no major complications, you should not be more at risk of getting more seriously sick.

What should I do if I am at higher risk?

If you are at higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19, you should take everyday precautions to keep your distance from others:

  • When you go out in public, keep away from people who are sick
  • Limit close contact, avoid shaking hands and wash your hands often
  • Avoid crowds and non-essential travel
  • If you get sick, stay home and call your local CMC.
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Should I travel?

Should I avoid travel?

If you are a healthcare worker, consult with your employer for guidance on travel. The information below applies to members of the public of Eeyou Istchee.

The Government of Canada asks Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. If you decide to travel anyway, you are advised to consult the Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories. You must also self-isolate for 14 days when you return.

I am returning from a trip outside Canada. What do I have to do?

If you are a healthcare worker, consult with your employer for guidance on travel. The information below applies to members of the public of Eeyou Istchee.

Voluntary self-isolation is recommended for anyone returning from outside Canada on or after March 12, 2020. Returning travelers must monitor themselves for symptoms such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing.