COVID-19 Update # 14 from the AFN Health Director | May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020

Health Director Update #14

Information on Staying Healthy

There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against COVID-19. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting sick or getting other people sick.

Social distancing guidelines

Nova Scotians need to follow social distancing guidelines to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. This means limiting your contact with other people and staying 2 meters (6 feet) away from them.

You’re not allowed to gather in groups of more than 5 people, unless your group has an exemption.

To protect yourself and others you need to:

  • only gather in groups of less than 5 people, unless your group has an exemption
  • stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from people that aren’t in your family household bubble
  • limit your contact with other people
  • keep your social circle small
  • make informed choices about who and how to interact with each other (consider age, occupation and health conditions)
  • be careful about your social interactions and how often you leave home

Family household bubble

You can combine your household with another household to create a family household bubble. If you’re not able to bubble with family, you can decide who will be in your bubble. The bubble lets both households spend time together without social distancing.

Both households must agree to combine households and can only bubble with each other. This means that both households can only have in-person contact with the people in their family household bubble.

When choosing another household to create a family household bubble with, you should consider the age, occupation and health condition of all household members. You should consider if anyone is:

  • sick or showing symptoms
  • at high risk for getting sick
  • at high risk for complications because they’re older, have underlying health conditions or are immunocompromised
  • frequently in contact with the public at their job and at higher risk for getting COVID-19

The 5 people or less gathering limit doesn’t apply to family household bubbles.

Social gatherings outside your bubble

You can have social gatherings outside your family household bubble. You need to following distancing guidelines and make sure that you:

  • socialize outside if possible (it’s safer than inside)
  • clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently
  • don’t share food or drinks
  • Keep your hands clean

Wash or sanitize hands often, particularly:

    • before and after preparing or eating food
    • after touching pets
    • after handling waste or dirty laundry or using the bathroom
    • whenever your hands look dirty

Washing your hands with soap and water is best. Rubbing your hands together when you wash them removes visible dirt and germs. Disposable paper towels are best for drying your hands, if you have some. If not, use a reusable towel that gets washed often.

If soap and water aren’t available, and your hands aren’t visibly dirty, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Use enough to cover the fronts and backs of both hands and between all your fingers. Rub your hands together until they feel dry.

Cough and sneeze etiquette

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw the used tissue in the garbage and wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub immediately.

If you don’t have a tissue, cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you need to touch your face, wash your hands first.

Cleaning and disinfecting

Viruses can live on surfaces for several days. You can reduce the number of germs and reduce your risk of infection by cleaning and disinfecting every day.

You should clean the surfaces and objects you touch most frequently at least once a day, or more if needed.

Clean and disinfect things like doorknobs, light switches, railings, toilets and tabletops every day. Wash with soapy water first. Then disinfect with household cleaning products, following the directions on the label.

If household cleaning products aren’t available, you can make a diluted bleach solution following the instructions on the bleach label. Or you can make a solution 5 mL of bleach per 250 mL of water, or 20mL per litre.

You need to mix a fresh batch of the bleach mixture every day for it to work properly.

Disinfect phones, remote controls, computers and other handheld devices with 70% alcohol or wipes.

Wash or launder clothing, sheets and towels regularly.

Take your garbage out regularly. Wash your hands after.

Wearing a non-medical mask

When worn properly, non-medical masks can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus in the same way that following cough and sneeze etiquette can protect others.

You should wear a non-medical mask if you have respiratory symptoms (like coughing or sneezing) and you’ll be in close contact with other people, or if you’re going out to access medical care or other essential health services.

Even if you do not have symptoms, you should consider wearing a non-medical mask when you’re in places where it’s hard to maintain social distancing (like public transit, stores and group living situations).

Using a mask alone isn’t enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You should also make sure to keep your hands clean, follow cough and sneeze etiquette, practice social distancing and stay home if you’re feeling sick.

Guidance for wearing non-medical masks may change as Public Health continues to monitor the local spread of COVID-19.

Being prepared for emergencies

All Nova Scotians should have an emergency kit and basic supplies that you and your household may need for up to 72 hours. Don’t panic buy or stockpile.

Make sure your prescriptions are filled.

Think about what you’ll do if you or someone you live with gets sick and needs care.

Talk to your employer about working from home if you need to self-isolate or take care of a sick family member.

Talk to family and friends. Share your emergency plan with them. Check in on each other and run essential errands for each other if one of you gets sick.

If you get sick, stay home until you have no symptoms.

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, you’re not alone. Support, guidance and shelter are available throughout the province.

If you’re in immediate danger, call 911.

Mental health and wellbeing

A new virus like COVID-19 can create fear and anxiety. There are ways to manage your symptoms and get help if you need it. Learn more about protecting your mental health during COVID-19.

The best ways to take care of your mental health include:

Take care of yourself

  • Eat as well as possible.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain normal routines and programming as much as possible.
  • Spend time on hobbies.
  • Get enough sleep.

Stay connected

  • Get information from reliable sources.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbours.
  • Use phone, text, email and video calls to connect.
  • Connect with people on social media, but take breaks from it.
  • Listen and provide reassurance – it's normal to have questions.
  • Address questions and correct misinformation

Take care of others

  • Get groceries and necessities for people in self-isolation.
  • Share positive messages to support essential workers.
  • Watch for discrimination or bullying related to COVID-19


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


Attention Gold River and area: Service Update in Gold River

Attention Gold River and area:


Our Adult Mental Health and Addictions Counsellor, Mike Ross is going on parental leave for the next year. In his place will be Shondalee Eisnor. She is currently offering telehealth appointments, until health centres and offices open. Any band member is welcome to access this service, but may require travel when the health centre opens. If interested, please contact Shondalee directly or through CHN Chelsea Sawyer at or 902-277-2297.

Please see Shondalee’s introduction and contact details below:

Hi everyone!
My name is Shondalee Eisnor and I will be filling in for Michael Ross for the next year, to continue to provide your community with mental health and addictions counselling support. I have been working with the Nova Scotia Health Authority for the past 11 years as a clinical therapist. During this time, I have worked mainly with adults who struggle with a range of concerns such as addiction, depression and anxiety. Previous to this role I worked with children and parents, around issues such children’s mental health, parenting, grief and general family stressors. When not at work I am with my family, as a mom to 2 young busy boys and an old chocolate lab. This leaves very little time for down time, but when I can I squeeze in some time in the garden, a movie or reading a good book. I look forward to working in your community and meeting you. Please reach out by phone 902-521-7158 (cell) or 902-543-5400 (office) and leave a message, or email

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS | Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

This is a Questions and Answers sheet from CRA concerning the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)  CRA CERB Indigenous QA EN (447 KB)

Weekly Health Update #8 with AFN Community Health Nurse

Weekly health update with AFN Community Health Nurse

Hi Everyone,

Spring is finally here! The sun is shining, and hopefully its lifting everyone’s mood, even just a little bit. Don’t forget to enter the Get Up and Move contest. Email me () or post on our facebook page a video OR picture of you or your family getting active! You could win 1 of 3 $50 gift cards, we can email or mail to you!
As there isn’t much “new” with Covid-19 lately, I am going to reiterate that basic prevention measures are so important! We can see the light at the end of the tunnel of this first wave. Plans are being made for businesses and child care to reopen. The excitement is there. But this pandemic is not over, another wave will be coming. Until herd immunity is achieved either naturally (enough people have had the virus, and are immune) or artificially (through vaccination), we are still at risk and so is our healthcare system. We have to be smart, we have to take it slow, and we have to be vigilant in basic prevention measures! Let’s keep working towards our new normal.

I have included the new list of symptoms that were updated May 22nd. Testing criteria now states if you show ONE or more symptom to please call 8-1-1 for assessment and directions on testing.

  • Wash your hands frequently, preferably soap and water if you have access, if not, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Gloves are not the best defense for the public in preventing infection of Covid-19. Gloves frequently give a false sense of security, and is seen to actually create more cross-contamination.
  • The safest measure you can take is washing your hands after each interaction, and refraining from touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain 6 ft/2 m distance between you in anyone you come in contact with that is not in your 2-house bubble
  • Ensuring respiratory etiquette; covering coughs and sneezes with elbow
  • Sanitize/disinfect high contact areas of your home frequently: doorknobs, counters, remotes, taps, phones, etc.
  • If you have ONE or more symptoms of Covid-19 please call 811 to decide if you required testing
    • Fever (ie. Chills, sweats)
    • Cough or worsening of a previous cough
    • Sore throat
    • Headache
    • Shortness of breath
    • Muscles aches
    • Sneezing
    • Nasal congestion/runny nose
    • Hoarse voice
    • Diarrhea
    • Unusual fatigue
    • Loss of sense of smell or taste
    • Red, purple, or blueish lesion on the feet, toes, or fingers without clear cause

It is so important for us to take this slow so we can keep progressing forward. Keep an eye on the provincial updates, as they give the most up to date information regarding restrictions and recommendations. Thank you for your commitment to the health of our people and province.

If there is a topic you’d like to see more about, such as 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


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:

Nova Scotia Health Authority:

Government of Canada:

World Health Organization:

WHO advising on 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



Youth Job Opportunities

Below you will find two new oppotunities for youth in our community:

Youth Ambassador
The Public Youth Engagement Strategy through Atlantic Published Texts (PYEACT)
YouthAmbassadorJobDescription PYEACT May 2020 (152 KB)

Youth Outreach Coordinator
Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (KMKNO)
2020 Youth Outreach Coordinator Job Posting (123 KB)

Atlantic Indigenous Mentorship Network Emergency Relief Bursary (COVID-19)

Please find the Atlantic Indigenous Mentorship Network Emergency Relief Bursary for COVID-19 application here (324 KB) .