(May 15, 2020, Fort McMurray, AB) – Athabasca Tribal Council (ATC), in partnership with Nunee Health Board Society, Mikisew Cree First Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Fort Chipewyan Métis Association, First Nations and Inuit Health, and Indigenous Services Canada have established an isolation facility in the hamlet of Fort Chipewyan. This isolation facility will provide a safe isolation option to all community members, both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous, who have tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19, and may not have the ability to safely self-isolate.
“It is important that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms self-isolate immediately to keep themselves, their family members, and the rest of the community safe,” said Karla Buffalo, CEO of Athabasca Tribal Council. “ATC understands that self-isolation can present challenges for individuals, and the Fort Chipewyan Isolation Facility will be there to support all community members in the area who need assistance.”
Located at the Dene Cree Inn, the Fort Chipewyan Isolation Facility has 10 rooms for community members. Medical staff will be on-site over the weekend preparing the facility for operations starting next week. The isolation facility will provide safe and clean rooms, medical supports, meals and other amenities necessary for individuals to safely isolate if they have COVID-19 or are symptomatic. The on-site medical professionals have been in self-isolation prior to working at the Fort Chipewyan Isolation Facility and will remain in isolation during their stay, ensuring the safety of the community. Healthy meals and snacks will be delivered to each room three times per day.
“The need to protect our community from this pandemic is the responsibility of every individual, but no one should feel alone in this responsibility. First Nations communities are built on a strong community connection and this isolation facility is here to provide support to everyone in the area, ensuring the health and safety of the community as a whole,” said Chief Allan Adam, ATC Board of Director President. “We remain prepared to support our communities through this pandemic with every resource we can make available, should we need them.”
Outline of the process at the Fort Chipewyan Isolation Facility:
- Community members should call Nunee Health Centre at 780-697-3650 if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat. Nunee Health Centre will provide phone and/or home assessments for COVID-19 testing, as required.
- Nunee Health Centre will complete an Isolation Facility Referral Form for the community member if they are unable to safely or adequately self-isolate and are awaiting test results, or have tested positive for COVID-19. Community members should discuss with Nunee Health their circumstances and how they plan on self-isolating or if they require assistance. (For example, if someone in the household has health concerns that would increase the risk of complications from COVID-19, or if they are unable to isolate in a portion of the house away from others to prevent the spread to the rest of their family).
- Nunee Health Centre and Medical Transportation will process the referral and medical professionals will prepare to receive the community member at the Fort Chipewyan Isolation Facility.
- On arrival at the Fort Chipewyan Isolation Facility, community members will be met by medical professionals and provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The individual will be taken to their room and will be interviewed by a medical staff member about their health, meal selections and other needs during their stay.
- The community members will receive three meals a day and healthy snacks. All will be delivered by the medical staff to their room.
- In each room, a wellness activity package will be provided.
- During their stay, community members will be required to follow all procedures and processes in place at the Fort Chipewyan Isolation Facility for the health and safety of themselves, the medical staff, and the community.
- No visitors will be permitted.
- Procedures for using PPE, cleaning, changing of linens, and interactions with medical staff will be provided and must be followed.
- Extra linens and cleaning supplies with medical-grade cleaners will be provided to wipe down surfaces that the individual touches regularly.
- Upon discharge, the room will be comprehensively sanitized by medical staff, including extensive cleaning procedures for linens and all surfaces within the room.
The Fort Chipewyan Isolation Facility is the second isolation facility managed by ATC. An Urban Isolation Facility with 40 rooms was previously set-up in Fort McMurray and is available to the five ATC First Nations should any community members need assistance. For more information on the Urban Isolation Facility, visit http://atcfn.ca/athabasca-tribal-council-sets-up-urban-isolation-facility-during-covid-19-pandemic/.
ATC encourages all members to continue to stay safe by practicing physical distancing, staying home, and staying connected virtually with family members, loved ones, and friends.
For more information:
Chief Allan Adam | President, Athabasca Tribal Council