Health Centre Committed to Information Sharing

We are all a little nervous about getting sick with the COVID-19 virus, particularly with all of the rumors and misinformation circulating in the community. I would like to help put your mind at ease.

People get sick, whether it’s with allergies, asthma, cold/flu or an exacerbation of a chronic illness. I know that when you hear that someone is “sick” the first reaction is to think of the coronavirus, but not everyone seeking medical advice, going to the hospital or out by ambulance has COVID-19.

Please, try not to become anxious when someone is needing to look after their health.

In the event that someone in the community tests positive for COVID-19, the Community Health Nurse (CHN), SpringDawn Keeshig, will be notified by Grey/Bruce Health Unit. She will share that there is a positive case in the community, with no other details. At this time, there is no one in Neyaashiinigmiing who has tested positive for COVID-19.

You can protect yourself by continuing to remain 6 feet/2 meters away from others and washing your hands often.

Please respect everyone’s right to confidentiality by not following the ambulance that comes into the community, gossiping about other people’s health or asking questions from health care professionals that cannot be answered.

It is the Health Centre’s mission to support the community’s health and safety, and our goal to keep everyone informed with the most current health information available to us.

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

Thank you,
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse

The Truth About Social Distancing

These ideas have come from an open letter written by Professor Jonathon Smith, a lecturer in epidemiology at Yale University while completing a PhD at Emory University.

There are two truths about social distancing that should be emphasized and clarified.

  • Social distancing is tiresome and frustrating, but it does work.
  • The people you live with are like a chain in which the weakest link can affect the entire household.

We are still in the early stages of the pandemic. That means that no matter what we do, there will still be new cases of COVID-19 and even more deaths. However, this does not mean that social distancing is not working. In fact, by staying 6 feet or 2 meters away from each other, you are reducing the number of new cases.

You may feel discouraged as you see the number of cases rise. You shouldn’t. This is the normal path of a pandemic. Stay calm. Everyone must hold the line and continue their social distancing as the pandemic most certainly will get worse. Stay strong knowing that what you are doing by isolating is saving people’s lives.

As you self-isolate, you are decreasing your contact with others in the community, but you are increasing your time with your family. If you consider your family as a chain, one link holding onto the next. As long as the chain stays strong, it will stay together. However, if there is one weak link, the chain may fall apart. In the family, if one person puts themselves at risk, they become the weak link. They are putting everyone in the household at risk.

For example:

  • If your son visits his girlfriend and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor.
  • Your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with.

Social distancing is about community members working together in unison. There must be continued self-isolation before results can be seen. By knowing what to expect and knowing the critical importance of maintaining these measures, the hope is to encourage continued community spirit and steadfastness in social distancing.

“Even once the war ended, famously on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the flu’s devastation did not let up. In spontaneous celebrations marking the armistice, ecstatic Americans jammed city streets to celebrate the end of the “Great War,” Philadelphians again flocked to Broad Street, even though health officials knew that close contact in crowds might set off a new round of influenza cases. And it did.”

(Davis, Kenneth C. “Philadelphia Threw a WWI Parade That Gave Thousands of Onlookers the Flu.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution,21 Sept. 2018,https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/philadelphia-threw-wwi-parade-gave-thousands-onlookers-flu-180970372/.)

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

Thank you,
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse

A Message from Cynthia Porter, Home and Community Care

Well, we made it through the long weekend.

I would like to thank everyone who maintained self-isolation. I know that it’s so hard not to be with family and friends on special occasions, particularly if there is a feast.

I just wanted to check in with you all to make sure you’re doing alright. We have never had to deal with this type of a situation before. It’s not unusual to feel anxious, depressed or frightened at this time. Emotions may come out as annoyance or anger. Please be kind to yourself and others, we can work this out together.

At this trying time, all of the tried-and-true stress management strategies apply. Eat healthy meals, get plenty of sleep and meditation can be helpful. The following are additional actions you may want to try:

  • Stay Informed – Insufficient or contradictory information may intensify anxiety. Only use reliable sources of information. (i.e. nawash.ca, publichealthgreybruce.on.ca, canada.ca)
  • Information Overload – limit the time taken to seek information about COVID-19. Information overload can aggravate your reaction to stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Connect with Others – all of us need reassurance, advice or a sympathetic ear during difficulty times. But be careful who you choose as a sounding board. Avoid talking about the virus with people who tend to be negative or who reinforce and ramp up your fears. Turn to people in your life who are thoughtful, level-headed and a good listener.
  • Be Kind To Yourself – this is an extraordinarily taxing time. Go easy on yourself if you’re experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual. You are allowed to feel the way you do. You’re not alone in your struggles.
  • Breathe – if you feel yourself starting to spiral out of control, grounding yourself in the present moment can stop the negative spiral. The technique is simple: bring your attention to your breath and your body. Focus all of your attention on the here and now: noticing the sights, sounds and smells around you. Continue to breathe slowly in and out until you feel calmer.
  • Maintain a Routine – try to stick to your usual routine; go to bed at your regular time, get up at your usual time and make your bed, eat your meals at your regular time (avoid excessive snacking), feed the pets or take your dog out for a walk as you would usually do.
  • Get Out in Nature – sunshine and fresh air will do you good. Going for a short walk can make you feel better. Even just sitting on the porch can help.
  • Exercise – staying active will help you release anxiety, relieve stress and manage your mood. You can look for exercise videos on line such as, yoga, tai chi, stretching exercises.
  • Find a New Hobby – have you always wanted to learn to bake, paint, sing? It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it takes you out of your worries.
  • Avoid Self-Medicating – be careful that you’re not using alcohol, food or other substances to deal with anxiety or depression. If you tend to overdo it in the best of times, it may be a good idea to avoid it for now.

If you feel that you really need to talk to someone, the following services are available:

  • SOAHAC – will provide counselling to their registered clients
  • Victim Services – are available 24 hours daily, providing counselling over the phone or by video chat.
  • Mental Health Crisis Line – is available 24 hours daily, providing caring and non-judgmental support

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

Thank you,

Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse

Health Professional Clinics Postponed Until Further Notice

Nawash Home and Community Care advises that, due to safety concerns during COVID-19 pandemic, all health professional visits have been postponed until further notice. This is effective immediately. The Diabetes and Foot teams will not be in the community this week as previously scheduled. The Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC), has also suspended the regular weekly visits to Neyaashiinigmiing.

Diabetes clients requiring assistance can call the Diabetes Team at the Wiarton Hospital, 519-534-1260. Leave a detailed message with your contact information if your call is not answered immediately.

Foot clients can call Telehealth Ontario for advice, at 1-866-797-0000.

SOAHAC is available by phone at 519-376-5508.

Health Centre Open on Friday from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

For the safety of staff and the public, Band services are running on limited hours during the pandemic. The Health Centre will be open on Friday, however, between the hours of 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM for medication and cheque pick-up.

Please let others in the community know, electronically or by phone, and practice social distancing if you do visit the Health Centre. Remain at a safe distance of at least 2 meters from other people.

Non-Insured Health Benefits program updates for March 2020

More information: Indigenous Services Canada

COVID-19 pandemic updates

The NIHB program is continuing to provide benefits and services while following public health guidance and recommendations from health professionals as the situation evolves.

The NIHB Drug Exception Centre, Dental Predetermination Centre and regional call centres continue to operate and receive calls from providers and clients. Please note that wait times may be longer than usual, and we appreciate your patience.

The NIHB program normally covers up to a 100-day supply of chronic medications. In determining the quantity to refill for clients, pharmacists will consider advice from professional associations and regulatory bodies, as well as patient-specific factors. If a client is seeking an early refill (before 2/3 of their medications are used), the pharmacist may submit the claim with an over-ride code, and NIHB will reimburse. However, it is the pharmacist’s decision to provide early or longer refills.

NIHB clients are encouraged to consult with their health or benefit service provider to confirm whether routine, non-urgent appointments should be postponed.

Dental professional organizations across Canada have advised that non-emergency services should be postponed. Call your dental provider’s office to see if any scheduled dental appointments have been cancelled.

You may contact your mental health service provider to confirm whether they can provide counselling services via telephone (tele-mental health services by eligible providers are covered by the NIHB program).

NIHB is continuing to support clients who need medical transportation benefits to access urgent or essential medical services. Vulnerable clients will be supported by prioritizing private modes of transport. Additional guidance has also been provided to support external service providers (such as boarding homes and airlines) for infection prevention/control.

As the situation evolves, information will be provided through NIHB call centres and posted online.