News

Weekly Health Update # 2 With AFN Community Health Nurse

Weekly health update with AFN Community Health Nurse

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all were able to enjoy your Easter weekend, even with restrictions in place. Maybe you tried something new, or you were able to virtually “visit” with friends and family. We have just started week 5 of work from home, and physical distancing protocols, and I want to thank everyone who has adhered to these guidelines. If you haven’t watched today’s (Monday, Apr 13th) provincial update from Premiere McNeil and Dr. Strang, I really recommend it. It was a very optimistic address. As always, if you are struggling, or need some help, please reach out to us in the Health Department, or your local council member.

Last week I posted some information in the Facebook group (AFN Community Health) about financial health, and planning. If you aren’t in the group please join! If not, you can also reach out to me anytime and I can send you some information. This is a difficult time for everyone and working out a plan can help relieve financial stress and keep you on top of payments.

This week I will be adding some more nutrition information. I’m not sure about you, but I am struggling to keep up with meal ideas. Being home 24/7 with kids, 3 meals a day and snacks is A LOT! So, I have been in touch with Angela MacDonald, who many of you will remember is the dietician with UNSM. She has created some excellent videos, and more are to follow. Nutrition can be a tricky subject in a time of stress, and unknown. So, I want to assure you, that whatever you are doing now, is ok. If you are looking for information and ideas, it is available.

Best links to get information

Please see our Facebook page: AFN Community Health and answer the joining questions for access. Frequent updates, resources, and links will be posted there

Nova Scotia Government: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/

Nova Scotia Health Authority: http://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

WHO advising on pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-pregnancy-childbirth-and-breastfeeding

Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line: call 24/7 1-888-429-8167

Kids Help Phone: call 24/7 1-800-668-6868
text CONNECT to 686868
or chat online on their website

If there is anything you are looking for more information on or ideas on: nutrition, physical activity during isolation, coping strategies, child and youth health, etc. Please let me know and I can look into helping you as well as the community!

Stay safe and wash your hands

Chelsea Sawyer
Community Health Nurse
O: 902-627-1245
C: 902-277-2297

%MCEPASTEBIN%

COVID-19 Update # 10 from the AFN Health Director | April 7, 2020

April 07, 2020

Health Director Update #10

COVID-19 testing data

Nova Scotia is testing for COVID-19. Updated 7 April 2020.

Positive * 310
Negative** 10,621

* Positive cases are those found to have a positive confirmation by either the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s Microbiology Lab or the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.

** Negative cases are those found to have a negative confirmation by either the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s Microbiology Lab or the National Microbiology Lab.

Premier Stephen McNeil and chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang announced more options for testing of COVID-19 to help identify spread within Nova Scotia communities. The province will work with the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and Emergency Health Services (EHS) on the following options: temporary primary assessment centres, EHS assessment units, a mobile assessment centre, and expanded lab testing.

The full news release is available at: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20200405003 and in French at: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20200405004.

A recording of the news conference is available here: https://www.youtube.com/user/nsgov and a short audio recap from Dr. Strang will be available shortly at https://anchor.fm/nsgov.

Updated information for employers to help their staff and clients stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19 is now available online, including what to do if you have safety concerns, and what happens if someone at your workplace tests positive for COVID-19. You can find that information here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/working-during-covid-19/

A map and graphic presentation of the case data is now available at

https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/data.

Wearing masks

Medical masks, including surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators (like N95 masks), must be kept for healthcare workers and others providing direct care to COVID-19 patients.

Wearing a non-medical mask (for example a homemade cloth mask) in the community has not been proven to protect the person wearing it. Strict hygiene and public health measures, including frequent hand washing and physical (social) distancing, will reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus.

Wearing a non-medical mask is an additional measure you can take to protect others around you.

Wearing a non-medical mask is another way to cover your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces. Just like our recommendation not to cough into your hands (instead, cover your cough with tissues or your sleeve) a mask can reduce the chance that others are coming into contact with your respiratory droplets.

If wearing a non-medical mask makes you feel safer and stops you from touching your nose and mouth, that is also good. But remember not to touch or rub your eyes.

It is important to understand that non-medical masks have limitations and need to be used safely.

If you choose to use a non-medical face mask:

  • you must wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (in addition to practicing good hand hygiene while wearing it)
  • it should fit well (non-gaping)
  • you should not share it with others

Face masks can become contaminated on the outside, or when touched by your hands. When wearing a mask, take the following precautions to protect yourself:

  • avoid touching your face mask while using it
  • change a cloth mask as soon as it gets damp or soiled
    • put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of
    • cloth masks can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly.
  • non-medical masks that cannot be washed should be discarded and replaced as soon as they get damp, soiled or crumpled
    • dispose of masks properly in a lined garbage bin
    • don't leave discarded masks in shopping carts, on the ground, etc.

Non-medical masks alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must consistently and strictly adhere to good hygiene and public health measures, including frequent hand washing and physical (social) distancing.

 Our Mental Health services provided by NSHA are still being offered via telephone.

Kelly Breau, NSHA Adult Clinician (902)740-3083
Michael Ross, NSHA Adult Clinician (902)521-5128
Heidi Mitton, NSHA Child and Youth Clinician (902)247-3429
Brynn Davies, NSHA Child and Youth Clinician (902)670-4923

%MCEPASTEBIN%

Crisis and referral line services. These services can be offered in Mikmaw and English.
Eskasoni CRISIS AND REFERRAL SERVICES
TOLL FREE 1-855-379-2099

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

Marla Robinson-Pyne
Health Director Acadia First Nation
Phone: (902)742-0257

Weekly Health Update With AFN Community Health Nurse

Hi Everyone,

I know these are difficult times for everyone, so I want to start by assuring you, that whatever your feelings around this situation are, they are valid, and I hope you are finding ways to cope (whether its chocolate or a run, whatever is working for you). If you are in need of help, please reach out to us in the Health Department, or you council member.

If you or your children are feeling anxious, “Anxiety Canada” has a great website, and a free app called MindShift you can download as a resource to help work through some of the difficult feelings you may have. Other resources and more information can be found in the Facebook group AFN Community Health.

I know many people may also be having some financial stress with many not being able to work, or reduced hours. I understand that financial stress can lead to physical health symptoms, mental health symptoms, and household stress. Please look to the government of Canada website to see if you qualify for any of their financial relief programs. As well, I am working on getting some basic budgeting information and worksheets together to help create financial plans.

As of approximately 8am on April 6th 2020 there were 31 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours bringing the total to 293 confirmed cases. Of those cases, 10 have been hospitalized, and 9 currently remain in hospital today. 64 cases have been deemed resolved, meaning they are no longer experiencing acute symptoms.

In yesterday's update, Dr. Strang had a few new announcements

  1. Testing parameters have changed; travel will no longer be a part of the testing criteria. Anyone with a fever, and/or new or worsening cough is urged to check the modified self-assessment tool on https://811.novascotia.ca/ and proceed as directed.

  2. Public use of Non-Medical Grade Masks; with more information coming from around the globe, both federal public health (Dr. Tam) and provincial (Dr. Strang) are now stating that using non-medical masks can be a good additional safety measure when physical distancing is difficult. These situations may include: when using public transit, essential grocery shopping or trips to the pharmacy.

    It is important with this new recommendation to note, that the mask is not a primarily a prevention measure for you, but to prevent you from spreading the virus as an early symptomatic infected person, or an asymptomatic infected person. Masks can help remind you to not touch your mouth and nose, but you must remember to refrain from touching your eyes as well.

    It is also very important to not get a false sense of security while wearing a mask. You MUST still adhere to excellent hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow), and ensuring physical distancing (6ft/2m) whenever possible.

    In the coming days, Public Health Officials will be releasing tutorials and information on making your own masks at home. Medical grade masks NEED to be reserved for front line workers who are most at risk, who continue providing us with the essential services we need. Let’s work together to keep them healthy, so they can keep working to take care of us.

Best links to get information

Please see our Facebook page: AFN Community Health and answer the joining questions for access frequent updates and links will be posted there

Nova Scotia Government: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/

Nova Scotia Health Authority: http://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

WHO advising on pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-pregnancy-childbirth-and-breastfeeding

If there is anything you are looking for more information on or ideas on: nutrition, physical activity during isolation, coping strategies, child and youth health, etc. Please let me know and I can look into helping you as well as the community!

Stay safe everyone

Chelsea Sawyer
Community Health Nurse
O: 902-627-1245
C: 902-277-2297

COVID-19 Update # 9 from the AFN Health Director | April 3, 2020

April 03, 2020

Health Director Update #9

As of April 2, 2020:

COVID-19 testing data

Nova Scotia is testing for COVID-19. Updated 2 April 2020.

 

Positive * 193
Negative** 7,446

 

 * Positive cases are those found to have a positive confirmation by either the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s Microbiology Lab or the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.
** Negative cases are those found to have a negative confirmation by either the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s Microbiology Lab or the National Microbiology Lab.

Data visualization of cases by zone and other Covid-19 related statistics can be found:

https://novascotia.ca/Coronavirus/data/

Consideration on Homemade Masks by Health Canada

Notice to General Public and Healthcare Professionals

Health Canada is advising the public, as well as healthcare professionals (HCPs) to use caution when considering the use of homemade masks to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.
Homemade masks may include those that are:

  • made of cloth e.g., cotton
  • with pockets to insert other masks or filters
  • to be worn over N95 respirators (in an effort to reuse respirators)

Homemade masks are not medical devices and consequently are not regulated, like medical masks and respirators. Their use poses a number of limitations:

  • they have not been tested to recognized standards
  • they may not provide complete protection against virus-sized particles
  • the edges are not designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth
  • the fabrics are not the same as used in surgical masks or respirators
  • they can be difficult to breathe through and can prevent you from getting the required amount of oxygen needed by your body
  • they may require frequent adjustment, increasing the amount of times your hands come into contact with your face and increasing the probability of infection

These types of masks may not be effective in blocking virus particles that may be transmitted by coughing, sneezing or certain medical procedures. They do not provide complete protection from the coronavirus because of a potential loose fit and the materials used.

A NIOSH*** or equivalent approved N95 surgical respirators are designed to reduce the risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles and aerosols. These respirators are medical devices authorized by Health Canada. An N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. The 'N95' designation means that when subjected to careful testing the respirator blocks at least 95% of very small test particles.
Medical masks are also medical devices that use materials that block at least 95% of very small test particles, however, they do not fit tightly to the face, so are not designed to provide complete protection for the wearer. Both respirators and masks need to be used in combination with appropriate eye protection (e.g., face shield, goggles) to achieve full protection of the eyes, nose and mouth.

***U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Health Canada has provided important information on optimizing the use of masks and respirators during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Public Health Agency of Canada guidance on preventing coronavirus includes guidance on wearing masks, if necessary, and includes the following:

  • If you are a healthy individual, the use of a mask is not recommended for preventing the spread of COVID-19
  • Wearing a mask when you are not ill may give a false sense of security
  • There is a potential risk of infection with improper mask use and disposal
  • They also need to be changed frequently
  • However, your health care provider may recommend you wear a mask if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 while you are seeking or waiting for care. In this instance, masks are an appropriate part of infection prevention and control measures. The mask acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from spreading you when you cough or sneeze.

For further advice and resources, please visit the Government of Canada COVID-19 website.

Safe Sharps Disposal during Covid-19
SAFELY STORE SHARPS AT HOME DURING THE COVID-19 SITUATION

Pharmacies are instructing patients to use heavy duty plastic containers to store used needles (‘sharps’) at home until further notice. Containers like those used for laundry soap should be labelled Sharps and kept safely out of reach of children.
NO sharps or containers with sharps inside should ever be put in the garbage or recycling for collection. Help us keep our workers safe!
Pharmacies will not be accepting used sharps because suppliers will not be shipping sharps pails during the COVID-19 situation. Labelled sharps containers will be accepted by pharmacies at a future date.

For more information on safe sharps disposal:
https://pans.ns.ca/public/programs/safe-sharps

Our Mental Health services provided by NSHA are still being offered via telephone.

Kelly Breau, NSHA Adult Clinician (902)740-3083
Michael Ross, NSHA Adult Clinician (902)354-3677
Heidi Mitton, NSHA Child and Youth Clinician (902)247-3429
Brynn Davies, NSHA Child and Youth Clinician (902)670-4923

%MCEPASTEBIN%

Eskasoni FN has offer the services of the Eskasoni Crisis and referral line services. These services can be offered in Mikmaw and English.
Eskasoni CRISIS AND REFERRAL SERVICES
TOLL FREE 1-855-379-2099

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

Marla Robinson-Pyne
Health Director Acadia First Nation
Phone: (902)742-0257

%MCEPASTEBIN%

COVID-19 Update from the AFN Health Director | March 31, 2020

March 31, 2020

Health Director Update #8

As of March 30, 2020, there are 127 cases of Covid-19 in NS. The cases are spread throughout NS and range in men and women from their late teens to mid seventies.

 

Update provided by Atlantic Policy Congress:

March 30, 2020 6:15 PM

Premier Stephen McNeil and chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang provided an update earlier today, March 30, on plans to support ongoing student learning as Nova Scotians deal with COVID-19. Following the recommendation of Dr. Strang, all public schools and licensed child care providers will remain closed until at least May 1.

A recording of the news conference is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syiW1isUqOM. A short audio recap from Dr. Strang will be available soon at https://anchor.fm/nsgov .

Highlights of the plans to support ongoing student learning announced today are outlined below:

  • No student will be penalized because of COVID-19. Students and families will have access to e-learning and at-home learning materials will be provided for students without internet access. Families who feel at-home learning may be a burden are asked to speak to their child's teacher.
  • Students who were on track to graduate will graduate and Grade 12 students who need a preliminary paper-based transcript for bursaries, scholarships or university entrance will receive one by contacting their Regional Centre for Education or Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP). Students who were on track to proceed to their next grade will move to their next grade on time. Students will receive end of year report cards.
  • During the ongoing closure of public schools:
    • all Grade primary to 9 students will receive at-home learning packages distributed bi-weekly by SaltWire Network
    • students in grades 10 to 12 who require at-home learning packages will work with their individual teachers to address their specific needs; additional information on distribution will be forwarded to schools
    • learning will be assignment and project focused
    • a dedicated learning website for families is available at
      https://curriculum.novascotia.ca/learning-home
    • all school trips planned for May and June are cancelled
    • Provincial Assessments, Nova Scotia Exams and final exams in all courses are cancelled
    • Diplôme d'Études en Langue Française (DELF) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams are cancelled
    • students in grades 9 to 12 will receive additional access to the Homework Hub, a free online resource and tutoring for math
    • teachers will connect directly with students and families to help support learning
  • Students and families will continue to have access to student support services. SchoolsPlus facilitators and community outreach workers continue to support students and families via phone, email and text. The facilitators are also available to accept new referrals to support students and families not currently using SchoolsPlus. Mental health clinicians continue to work with students and their families by phone, secure video conferencing or in person, where possible. For those who require additional supports, ask your teacher or principal and they will connect you to the support you need.
  • To better support students and adults with special needs, the province is modifying existing policies and agreements to allow teaching assistants and child and youth care support workers to provide paid respite care in the community.
  • Next year, teachers will help students prepare for their new grade and conduct additional review.

Additionally, the province has created an online tool to help businesses and non-profits clarify if they may remain open and how they can comply with public health orders and workplace safety requirements. This tool is available at https://covid19-employer-assessment.novascotia.ca/en

The full news release is available at: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20200330004 and in French at: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20200330005.

 

Marla Robinson-Pyne
Health Director Acadia First Nation
Phone: (902)742-0257

COVID-19 | Chief and Council Update | March 30, 2020

Chief and Council Update

March 30, 2020

Chief and Council are continuously monitoring the rapidly evolving Pandemic Covid-19. This morning Council met via conference call to review and address many issues facing Acadia First Nation.

As previously mentioned the Federal Government announced $305 million for a Indigenous Community support Fund across Canada. We have now received more details regarding this program from Indigenous Services Canada. The fund will be broken down as follows:

$215 million for First Nations: allocated to each First Nation based on population, remoteness and community well-being;

  • $45 million for Inuit, which will flow to each of the four land claims organizations through an allocation determined by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and regional Inuit land claims organizations;
  • $30 million for Métis Nation communities, which will flow through each of the Governing Members;
  • $15 million for regional and urban Indigenous organizations supporting their members living away from their communities, and to regional organizations such as Friendship Centres and the Métis Settlements General Council of Alberta.

Acadia First Nation was advised on Saturday that we will be receiving sometime in April
$170,391.79 for fiscal year 2020-2021. These funds can be used for measures including, but not limited to: support for Elders,food Insecurity,educational and other support for children, financial assistance for those without work, mental health assistance and emergency response services.

To date Acadia First Nation has assisted over 200 band members. We have already disbursed $200 each to all Elders both on and off reserve residing in Nova Scotia, all AFN band members in receipt of a disability pension who reside in NS, all social assistant recipients on reserve and our sponsored students who maintain their own rental units.

With the announcement of this Indigenous Community Support Fund the Chief and Council have now approved $200 for all other AFN band members over the age of 18 residing in Nova Scotia. If you received the profit sharing in November 2019 this assistance will automatically be mailed out to you. You will not need to apply. Those band members who have recently become registered or since turned 18 must contact us. Please contact a Councillor or call the Yarmouth Band office at 902-742-0257 to reach our administrative assistant. If your mailing address has changed since November please contact us to update. Payments will be mailed out within the next couple of weeks. We thank you for your patience during this time.

We have also been working hard to stock up our community centres with supplies and frozen meals. These will be kept for emergency situations over the coming weeks.

We face many challenges in the days and weeks ahead. We thank all our staff both at our store fronts and those working from home for their continuous commitment. Please continue to monitor our Website and FB groups for the latest information regarding Covid-19. Stay home as much as possible and stay safe. Take care of one another.

 

Chief and Council
Acadia First Nation

%MCEPASTEBIN%