The impact of the COVID – 19 virus continues to be felt worldwide with currently 73 confirmed cases in BC and one related death.  Across the border, Washington remains the hardest hit state in all the U.S., reporting 42 deaths to date with over 769 people confirmed infected.

While the current risk to Lower Kootenay Band Members is low, transmission of the virus is expected to continue over the next number of months. Lower Kootenay Band will continue to monitor and plan for cases of the illness in partnership with KNC Health, First Nations Health Authority and Interior Heath.

The Lower Kootenay Band Chief and Council and the administrative staff are committed to maintaining core essential services and emergency support to the community throughout this difficult time. However, community members must also work to protect themselves and slow the spread of the virus. There are a number of precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk of the transmission of the illness:

1. Avoid social gatherings of over 25 people.

2. Practice social distancing (keep two meters or 6 feet distance between people and avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing)  

3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

4. Stay home when you are sick.

5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

6. Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

7. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

8. It is also recommended to avoid all travel outside of Canada and if you do travel, to self isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

The elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions are at higher risk of being infected and developing more severe symptoms. These people should avoid social gatherings, avoid people who are sick and practice social distancing at all times. However, be aware that it is the collective responsibility of the whole of the community to make sure that anyone who is infected gets identified and receives medical support as required.

If you experience symptoms of cough, fever, difficulty breathing, stay home and self-isolate. Do not go to the emergency room or the doctor’s office. Instead contact your Primary Care Provider, Local Public Health or call 811.

If you become very ill and need immediate medical attention, call 911.

While the administrative office currently remains open, this is subject to change with the possibility of staff working from home and services being reduced to essential levels.

Chief and Council will continue to provide updates.