COVID-19 Testing Coming to Neyaashiinigmiing

Testing Site Important Details

Where: Kikendaasogamig Elementary School
When: Tuesdays, May 12-26, 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Bring: Health Card, if available

In partnership with Grey Bruce Public Health, an on-site testing centre will be set up at Kikendaasogamig Elementary School beginning Tuesday, May 12, and operating every Tuesday for the following two weeks. Nawash Health Centre staff will be present at all times. 

At this time, the testing centre will only be testing Neyaashiinigmiing residents who may have symptoms of COVID-19. The testing centre will have both walk-in and drive-through options.

Anyone who receives a test will be required to self-isolate until the test results are returned in 3 – 4 days. If the test result is positive, you will be required to maintain self-isolation until you are free of the virus.

Again, note that not every resident will be tested. At this time, testing priority is being given to clients with symptoms first. Symptoms of COVID-19 are subtle in many people. If you aren’t sure if you are experiencing symptoms, we encourage you to complete a self assessment on the Province of Ontario website.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or sneezing
  • Nasal congestion or stuffy nose
  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Digestive issues – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain

If you require a home visit to assess your symptoms, contact SpringDawn/CHN at 519-378-6028 or Cynthia Porter/HCC Nurse at 519-534-0373.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, go to the nearest emergency department.

When you arrive at the testing centre, please be ready to share the following information:

  • Name
  • Address and phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Health Card, if you have one

Staff will be wearing protective gear. You will be asked to:

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Wear the face mask provided.
  • Describe your symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, tired, etc).

A Grey Bruce Public Health Nurse will take a swab sample as follows:

  • You will tip your head back.
  • A swap will be inserted into your nose and stay there for 10-15 seconds. This will feel uncomfortable.
  • You will be given instructions on how to self-isolate and how to get your test results.

The testing centre is an important part of monitoring the health of the community during the pandemic, and will allow us to respond quickly should a case of COVID-19 appear in Neyaashiinigmiing. Our Health staff have the full support of the Council and are doing everything possible to keep the community safe during the pandemic. We are grateful for the immense patience and support of our residents. 

Ticks Don’t Practice Social Distance

With all the other concerns we have these days, you can’t be blamed for forgetting that tick season is upon us again. Tick reports are already coming in, including from some First Nations. George Korzeniecki, Environmental Public Health Officer for Indigenous Services Canada, offers some helpful advice for keeping 2 meters (or more!) from hungry ticks.

“Remember to:
  1. Examine yourself when you return from a walk and brush off any unwanted pests off your clothes.
  2. Do a full body search of yourself and your loved ones (I mean full) to ensure no ticks have attached themselves.
  3. Shake out any clothes, however, the ticks cling pretty good to clothes and skin so that what appears to be a skin tag may not be.
  4. Try to brush your pets outside as they can’t read(Just guessing) and therefore don’t care if they get ticks on them. If your dog shakes off inside the ticks may be shaken off or worse get onto you from your lap dog.
  5. Trim back bush from your property so that the kids can play safely within the grass cut areas. Advise them that going after a ball in the tall grass may make them an easy target.
  6. If you have a  trail system please see if someone can trim that back also as ticks will hang off of low plants, weeds, stalks branches waiting for a potential ride such as you or your dog.
  7. If possible have public works or custodians trim back tall grass by any fences in the daycares and school areas where the kids like to hang out during recess. Although presently hardly any facilities are open, it is better to keep on top of that to reduce a potential problem area.
  8. Because of Covid-19 and isolation protocols, the children are at home full time(good luck with that Moms) they will want to play outside with friends. Re-enforce protecting themselves from ticks.
  9. If you find a tick, put it into a small closed container with a damp cloth and label date found, location(not alcohol as that will kill them). You may advise the health centre but you can not send to our Brantford office. They are not working there and therefore can not see what type they are. Take a good closeup picture if you can and send to me, Yongsheng or Trudy so we can try to identify it.
  10. If you found it on a person please advise them to seek medical advice to see if they need to be tested for Lyme Disease. Be very concerned if a bulls eye rash appears. They say that if it has been on you for less than 24 hours there is probably less chance that you acquired Lyme Disease, however it is best practice to contact your physician
  11. If you found a tick on an animal, we can’t test it. But please examine it under a magnify glass or take a closeup to see if it is a black legged tick. The National lab is presently dealing with Covid-19 testing and therefore not able to test each tick sent it. Talk to your vet to see if they have any tick protection for your pet.”

Health Centre Updates Access Hours

Beginning Monday, May 4th, the Nawash Health Centre will have phone coverage Monday to Thursday 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. If you don’t reach someone directly, please leave a message. Your call will be returned the same day. On Fridays, between 1:00 PM and 4:30 PM, the Health Centre will be open for phone calls and walk-ins for medication, cheque pickup, paperwork drop off and a new sanitizer refill station. Bring in your empty sanitizer dispenser and fill it up for free.

Gloves versus Hands

Some of us may think it’s best to wear rubber gloves when we do our necessary shopping. I want to explain why you are no safer wearing gloves when you go out, than if your hands are bare.

First, note that COVID-19 cannot enter your body through your skin. It enters through your nose, eyes and mouth. This means that grocery shopping isn’t as scary as some sites on the internet have made out, provided you follow the guidelines we’ve all heard so often: remain 6 feet apart from others not from your household, and wash your hands frequently.

Second, it doesn’t matter how the corona virus gets to your face; once it’s there, you are at risk. Whether you touch your face with contaminated hands, gloves or objects (i.e. contaminated shirt), there is a chance of you contracting the virus.

If you touch a contaminated surface with either your gloved or bare hand, and then touch something else, you may have just spread the virus. If you touch a contaminated surface with either your gloved or bare hand, and then touch your face, you may have put yourself at risk of infection. There is also some evidence that the coronavirus may actually stick better to the gloves.

Wearing gloves may even increase your risk by giving you a false sense of security. While wearing gloves you may not be as mindful of what you are doing and how you may be contaminating other surfaces.

For example, you wear your gloves to the grocery store and then decide to stop into the pharmacy. It’s only a short ride, or you don’t have many gloves left, so you decide to wear the gloves in the car rather than changing them. If your gloves were contaminated in the grocery store, you may have now contaminated your steering wheel and other areas of your car.

Instead of wearing a fresh pair of gloves at every stop, or risking contamination, it’s much easier to use hand sanitizer on your bare hands as you leave one business and before you enter the next.

If you wear gloves, you must take them off properly to reduce the risk of contaminating yourself. Follow the directions below to safely remove used gloves.

Finally, a few DO’s and DON’Ts to remember:

  • DON’T touch environmental surfaces – eg: door handles, a keyboard, a computer mouse – with contaminated gloves
  • DON’T touch your face or adjust PPE with contaminated gloves
  • DON’T remove one glove, and then pull the other glove off by the fingertips
  • DON’T reuse disposable gloves once they have been removed
  • DO Be sure that you wash your hands before putting gloves on and after taking gloves off.
  • DO change gloves when heavily soiled or if torn
  • DO dispose of used gloves appropriately,

Stay strong!  You can help stop the spread of COVID-19.  Together, we can do this.

Thank you,
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse

Health and Well-Being of Indigenous Children and Youth 

Ian Reich, Public Health Manager with the Grey Bruce Health Unit has the following message for the community:

Considerations for Parents and Caregivers

We acknowledge that Indigenous families have had to alter their traditional ways of gathering and learning through celebrations, feasts and dances during COVID-19. The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health created a fact sheet to support parents and caregivers during this time of physical distancing and staying at home. 

The fact sheet provides guidance with an Indigenous focus to coping with COVID-19 in addition to practicing recommended public health measures. The following is a summary of that fact sheet, see the original resource titled Maintaining the Health and Well-Being of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children and Teens during COVID-19 for more detailed information.

Remember to practice public health measures

  • Wash your hands often. 
  • Try not to touch your face. 
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Stay home when you can. 
  • Practice physical distancing by keeping a distance of 2 metres from people not from your household. 

Things to remember when speaking with children and youth about COVID-19

  • Speak kindly and repeat key ideas.
  • Allow for many questions but limit how much you say in each conversation.
  • Use credible information from trusted sources to answer questions. 
  • Focus on ways they can protect themselves and others around them.

Strategies for well-being

  • Respect guidelines about physical distancing and stay home as much as possible.
  • Refrain from gatherings and celebrations to protect Elders who are at higher risk of contracting the virus and experiencing more severe consequences.
  • Find creative ways to express the importance of connections to community, culture and ceremony.
  • Explore online options with your children regarding Indigenous-specific cooking classes, workshops, concerts, books, and dances. 
  • Learn about the 4 R’s Youth Movement that is a youth-driven initiative connecting change makers across the country. 
  • Visit Connect with Culture for Life for Indigenous Youth who know the value of culture and living their best life, but need a little help getting there. 
  • Keep active in the absence of school, sports teams, and recreation centre activities. 
  • Take family walks and try to identify plants, birds, animals and local medicines.

Create an outlet for emotional expressions 

Children and youth will be missing their friends, family and regular activities. They may feel sad, lonely, or bored. They may also feel anxious, scared or worried about getting sick or passing the illness on to an Elder. How can parents and caregivers help?

  • Listen to and acknowledge your children’s worries.
  • Comfort them and help them find activities to calm their spirits like colouring, drawing, journaling, painting, breathing, meditating, or playing board games with the family. 
  • Connect through online entertainment that focuses on Indigenous games, stories and videos such as:
  • If you are concerned about your child or youth, connect to emergency services:

Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868

First Nation and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310

Teen Line at 1-800-852-8336 or text TEEN to 839863


National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous HealthMaintaining Health and Well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children and Youth during COVID-19

Assembly of First NationsCoronavirus information

First Nations Health Authority – Staying Connected during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Crisis Support is Available

The Nawash Wellness Centre would like to remind everyone that support resources are still available during this period of relative isolation, from both inside and outside Neyaashiinigmiing. If you are feeling vulnerable, scared or alone, for any reason, please call any of these available services for friendly and compassionate assistance.

How to Wear a Face Mask

You have started to see face masks become more common as people take action to protect their communities and themselves from the COVID-19 virus. While face masks have a small protective effect when worn by people who are not ill, they are much more effective in preventing the spread of disease when worn by people who are ill. For the sake of caution, many of us are acting as if we have the virus already, and doing whatever we can to avoid spreading it, including wearing face masks. To help, our Community Health Nurse has prepared a useful video on how to properly use a face mask.

Watch in on YouTube.