Protect your health and your community
On this page
How to avoid infection
- closed spaces
- crowded places
- close contact
- stay home and away from others if you feel sick
- follow local public health advice, including wearing a mask, physically distancing and washing your hands
- stick to a small and consistent social circle
To find out more
If you are sick
If you are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing you should:
- isolate yourself at home for 14 days to avoid spreading it to others
- call your nursing station or local health facility and if appropriate, your provincial or territorial health authority. Tell them your symptoms and your exposure. They will provide advice on next steps
How to isolate at home when you may have COVID-19
Non-medical masks and face coverings
Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering while out in public is recommended and in some cases mandatory (check with your nursing station or local health authority) for periods of time when it is not possible to consistently maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others, particularly in crowded public settings.
If you may have been exposed
Even if you are not showing symptoms of the coronavirus, you need to isolate for 14 days if:
- you had close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19
- you have been told by the local health facility or the public health authority that you may have been exposed and need to quarantine
- you are returning to your community after being away for an extended period
How to quarantine (self-isolate) at home when you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms
Testing for COVID-19 helps protect Elders and communities. It is the only way to confirm if someone currently has COVID-19 and it is an important tool to stop the spread of the virus and prevent community outbreaks.
Stigma and discrimination are barriers that can prevent people from getting tested or accessing treatment for COVID-19.
Getting tested will not put your personal health information at risk. Your identity, health status and other personal information is only shared with health care providers as required.
Caring for someone sick
If you are caring for a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, follow this advice to protect yourself and others in the home, as well as those in your community.
Personal protective equipment
During COVID-19 and other emergencies, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) maintains a stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizers in First Nations on-reserve communities.
The stockpile is accessible by communities:
- in cases where other sources of PPE are unavailable
- to ensure the safety of healthcare workers and others supporting delivery of health services
The stockpile is not intended for:
- routine use in patient care
- distribution to individual members in communities who are not sick with COVID-19 or taking care of a sick family member
How to access the equipment
First Nations should contact their regional office if their usual supplier is unable to process their PPE requests. First Nations in Yukon and the Northwest Territories should contact their regional office if territorial governments are unable to process their PPE requests. Regional offices work with ISC's national office on equipment requests for health care purposes.
Inuit and Métis communities should contact the ISC regional offices or Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada if a province or territory is unable to process their PPE requests.
ISC is processing PPE requests with quick turnaround to ensure First Nations on-reserve communities are ready to respond to COVID-19 as effectively as possible.
Handwashing and drinking water advisories
If your community is on a boil water advisory or do not consume advisory, you should still use your water to wash your hands with soap and water and for personal hygiene. Infants and toddlers should be sponge bathed in order to avoid accidentally swallowing the water.
If you are on a do not use advisory, your water is not safe for any use. Use bottled water with soap or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to wash your hands.
If you do not have access to running water, wash your hands in a large bowl and then throw out the water from the handwashing bowl after each individual use.
Coronavirus is not known to spread through water.
Mental health and wellness
Mental health counselling continues to be available.
- Hope for Wellness Help Line
- NIHB mental health counselling
- Taking care of your mental health during COVID-19
- Indigenous mental health and substance use
- Shkaabe Makwa: Centre for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Wellness
New support available for mental wellness during COVID-19: