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COVID-19 in Eeyou Istchee

ᔦᐦᔦᐙᔅᐱᓀᐎᓐ ᐁ ᐋᔔᒦᑐᓈᓅᒡ
yehyewaaspinewin e aashuumiitunaanuuch
Audio file
ᐄᔨᔨᐅᔨᒧᐎᓐ | IIYIYIUYIMUWIN - Make it a habit to follow COVID-19 precautions

COVID-19 in Eeyou Istchee


  • The COVID-19 virus is still circulating and can make people very sick.
  • Make it a habit to follow recommendations and stay informed about the disease.
  • Together, we can keep the circle of protection strong around our communities.
  • The COVID-19 regional case count is no longer updated (since May 2023).


What is COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2.
  • It can spread between people. 
  • Symptoms of an infection can be mild, moderate or severe. Some people may become very sick and require hospitalization. 
  • Older people and people with underlying medical conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease or cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

How does COVID-19 spread?

  • The virus can spread from an infected person's mouth or nose through large or small droplets when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe.
  • COVID-19 can also spread by touching something that has the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.
  • People can catch the COVID-19 virus, carry it, and spread it to others even if they don't have any symptoms. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections

  • Fever (38°C or higher)
  • Coughing
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion (runny nose, sneezing, feeling stuffy)

Symptoms can vary from one person to the next depending on age, medical conditions, and virus variants. 

Some people may have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all (asymptomatic). 

Other people may become very sick and need to be hospitalized. 

On average, it takes 5 - 6 days for symptoms to develop after someone is infected. It can also take up to 14 days for symptoms to develop.

Measures to prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory infections

1- Update your vaccination

  • Vaccination offers a strong layer of protection against respiratory infection, spreading infection to others, and severe illness.  
  • Vaccine protection fades with time. It’s important to get a COVID-19 booster and flu shot this year. 
  • Vaccination against pneumococcal infections is also available in Eeyou Istchee.
Image of a vaccine vial with a green plus + sign
Woman touching her forehead

2- Monitor your symptoms

  • Monitor symptoms of respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, loss of taste or smell, sore throat and nasal congestion. 
  • If you have a fever, use a thermometer to monitor your temperature. If you don’t have access to a thermometer, symptoms of a fever include feeling feverish and/or chills.  
  • Tell people you have contact with that you may be contagious. They can monitor themselves for any symptoms and take precautions. 

3- When you're sick: Reduce contact and activities 

For 10 days after symptoms develop, we recommend these measures: 

  • Keep your distance from other people as much as possible. 
  • Avoid contact with vulnerable people, including the elderly, people with immunocompromised conditions and other health problems. 
  • Choose remote activities, if possible, like telework. 
  • Avoid non-essential social events.  
Image of a mitchuap with a two-storey house next to it.
Image of a person wearing a medical mask

If your symptoms include a fever and/or cough:

  • Stay home and avoid close contact with other people as much as possible until your fever and cough have cleared up for 48 hours (without the use of medicine like Tylenol).
  • After your fever and cough have cleared up, you can resume reduced activities for the 10-day precaution period.  
  • If you can’t avoid close contact while you have a fever and/or cough, wear a medical mask indoors and wash your hands regularly.  

If you only have a sore throat or nasal congestion:

  • Wear a medical mask in public indoor places.  
  • As much as possible, avoid direct contact for greetings, such as handshakes, and opt for alternative practices (e.g. fist bumps). 
  • If you have to go to work, school, or daycare, notify the head of the establishment that you have symptoms of a respiratory infection.
  • Follow the measures in place at the establishment.  
Image of a group of six people standing together and talking. Some are wearing medical masks.
Image of a COVID-19 swab test in a tube filled with liquid

4- Take a COVID-19 rapid test

COVID-19 rapid tests help determine if you have a COVID-19 infection.

Rapid tests are recommended IF you have symptoms AND are: 

  • 60 years or older. 
  • Immunocompromised (because of chemotherapy, an organ transplant recipient, taking immunosuppressant medication, on dialysis, etc.) 
  • 18 and older and have a chronic health condition (diabetes, hypertension, liver or kidney disease, respiratory disease, etc.) 
  • Pregnant.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may benefit from antiviral treatment (Paxlovid). 

Antiviral treatment (Paxlovid)

  • Antiviral treatment can help reduce the risks of severe illness and hospitalization after you're infected with COVID-19.
  • If you are in at higher risk and you test positive for COVID-19, call your CMC to talk with a healthcare worker about antiviral treatment. 
Image of a pill bottle and pill blister pack
Woman wearing medical mask

5- Wear a mask when needed

Wearing a medical mask that covers your nose and mouth helps reduce the risk of spreading respiratory infection while you’re contagious. 

Wearing a mask also protects you from other people who may have a respiratory infection.  

Wearing a medical mask while indoors in public places is recommended for:  

  • People who have symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, sore throat or nasal congestion). 
  • People with weakened immune systems. 

If you have symptoms and can’t wear a mask, avoid all contact with people who are immunocompromised.  


6- Cough into a tissue or your elbow

When you cough or sneeze: 

  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissue paper or your arm (not your hands) to reduce the spread of germs. 
  • Throw the tissue away in a garbage can as soon as possible. Wash your hands afterwards. 


Icon of person sneezing into their elbow
Icon of washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds

7- Wash your hands

  • Wash your hands regularly with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Disinfect your hands with an alcohol-based solution if you don’t have access to soap and water.  


Image of a mitchuap with a two-storey house next to it.

8- Ventilate your home

  • During gatherings, make it a habit to open the doors and windows to create a current of fresh air. 
  • Even if it’s cold or humid outside – opening a window for just a few minutes at a time will help circulate fresh air.  



The Wîchihîwâuwin Helpline provides a safe space for people who need to talk on the phone about any difficult situation concerning their well-being

The Cree Board of Health recommends you wear a mask in certain situations to protect yourself and people around you.

ᒥᓯᐙ ᓈᑭᑎᐙᔨᒦᓲᒄ

It is important to look after yourself. Self-care is part of staying balanced and healthy, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically.

COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many customs and practices in Cree culture, including grieving & mourning loved ones who have passed.

Our Partners

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Santé et des Services sociaux logo
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