Mukw' tu shhwa'luqwa 'o' tth'ele's tu shhwuli   The family is the heart of life
COVID-19 Response

COVID -19 Frequently Asked Questions 



 For a complete list of COVID-19 FAQs, please see the BC Centre for Disease Control:





For FAQs on the COVID-19 Vaccine, please see FNHA:



Please See BC Centre for Disease Control:


Community Updates FAQs

What is the current COVID-19 case count?

Cowichan Tribes currently has no COVID-19 cases.


Where is the COVID-19 count being posted?

Cowichan Tribes case reports were shared twice per week to the Cowichan Tribes website and Facebook page. A live update was provided on Mondays and a written report on Thursdays. All previous reports can be found here


COVID-19 Symptoms and Getting Tested FAQs

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Key symptoms of COVID-19 include: Fever or chills, Cough, Loss of sense of smell or taste, Difficulty breathing. Other symptoms may include: Sore throat, Loss of appetite, Extreme fatigue or tiredness, Headache, Body aches, Nausea or vomiting, Diarrhea. See here for a list of symptoms in Hul’q’umi’num. For more information on testing visit Island Health Symptoms and Testing page.


What number do I call to get tested?

The number to call to book an appointment to get tested is 1-844-901-8442. Testing in Duncan is done at the 5151 Polkey road site (ICBC claim centre). If you cannot get to the testing site for any reason including mobility issues please call Ts’ewulhtun Health Centre (Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30) at 250-746-6184.You may also TEXT a nurse at 250-732-0087.


I have mild symptoms, should I get tested?

Yes. Getting tested is crucial in our efforts to identify and isolate cases to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. You can watch a video of Cowichan Tribes members getting tested at the Cowichan Valley testing site (5151 Polkey road) here.


Is transportation to the testing site available?

Yes. Do not ride share. Transportation to the testing site is free and available Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. for members through Ts'ewulhtun Health Centre. 250-746-6184.


Where can I get my test results?

Test results can be obtained a number of ways including by calling 1-833-707-2792 or by signing up here:


COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs Vaccines

When will the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine be available for those who received their first dose?

The second doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to be available within sixteen (16) weeks from the date of your first COVID-19 vaccine.

We will announce our next clinic dates as soon as possible. Members will receive telephone calls and the information will be posted online and on our vaccine page HERE.


Why was the second vaccine dose delayed?

The second ‘booster’ doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who received their first dose on Jan 13/14 was delayed because of limited vaccine supply and shipments, which are impacting communities all over the world. Also, on March 1st the BC Government decided to increase the amount of time between the first and second doses of the vaccine to 16-weeks. 


Why is the BC government changing the time between the two doses of vaccines?

Recent studies show that one dose of the vaccine can provide up to 90% effectiveness after approximately 2-3 weeks in your body. The change in interval will help ensure more people get vaccinated as quickly as possible. According to BC’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Bonnie Henry, "Extending this second dose provides very high, real-world protection to more people sooner."


Will the COVID-19 vaccine still be effective in protecting me from the virus given the increased time between the first dose of the vaccine and booster doses being offered 16-weeks later?

Yes, even though the time between the first and second dose has increased, the vaccine will still provide you with the same level of protection against the virus. The BC government’s decision to move to a 16-week delay between the first and second dose of the vaccine is based on international and Canadian data that supports the new timing.


Will there be more COVID-19 vaccines available for those that missed the first round?

Yes. Cowichan Tribes is working to secure more vaccines for the community and will notify members when additional vaccine clinics become available. As soon as we have more information, we will share it with community.

Please note Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) peoples born in 1956 or earlier (65+), Elders and additional Indigenous communities not immunized in Phase 1 are now eligible for Phase 2 vaccinations as part of the general BC roll-out of vaccines. Individuals can call 1-833-348-4787 to book their vaccinations and see this booking an appointment page for useful information. While Cowichan Tribes who live in the valley (on or off reserve) will continue to secure vaccines and administer members and those who live with them, this information is particularly useful for members who live elsewhere in BC or non-Cowichan Indigenous Peoples 65+ who live in the valley.

Where can I find information about upcoming COVID-19 vaccine clinics?

Information about Cowichan Tribe vaccine clinics can be found on the Cowichan Tribes website HERE. General information on vaccine availability in BC is available HERE.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?

Currently, Canada has approved three COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. These vaccines have undergone a rigorous, evidence-based process to evaluate its safety and efficacy in preventing COVID-19. They are being used in many countries around the world.

·        To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit: First Nation Health Authority What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine.

·        You can also learn about the vaccines through the Government of Canada’s website: Canada's approved vaccines

·        Many of these sources can also be found on the Cowichan Tribes coronavirus page HERE.

If you are unsure whether the vaccine is right for you, speak with your doctor or other medically trained health professional. 


How effective are the vaccines?

Based on the latest scientific data, the two vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech) are approximately 94.5% in preventing COVID-19.

There is still a small chance that you may get the virus and get sick; however, the vaccine will reduce the severity of the disease and getting really sick, and limit the possibility of spreading to others.


How long does it take for the vaccine to work?

Scientists are still reviewing this, but it takes at least 2-3 weeks for the vaccine to create the protection it is meant to provide in your body.


Once I get the vaccine, can I return to normal life?

No, even after you receive the vaccine you must continue to practice all public health measures (e.g., wear mask, social distance) and follow provincial health orders and guidelines. People who are vaccinated, while protected from the worst effects, may still catch the virus and pass it to someone who has not been vaccinated (some people cannot get it for health reasons, and kids are not being vaccinated but can still catch and spread the virus). Also, it’s worth noting that 94.5% effective is not 100%.

It will take some time until vaccines are available to everyone and enough people are vaccinated to achieve herd immunity for the pandemic to be over.

Until then, we must use every available tool against this virus including the vaccine and following public health guidelines and orders. Staying home when sick, maintaining physical distance with people outside our households, wearing a mask in public, and washing hands regularly are still the most effective to protect yourself from the virus.


I already had COVID-19, should I still get the vaccine?

It is important that everyone gets the vaccine as it provides another layer of protection against contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to others. Here is the answer provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control.

“People who have had COVID-19 should be immunized with COVID-19 vaccines. However, as vaccine quantities are currently limited, those who tested positive for COVID-19 within the last three months are expected to have protection for the short term, and can have their COVID-19 vaccination deferred.”

BC CDC Source:


Can I get COVID-19 again?

At this time, experts do not know how long you are protected from getting the disease again. It is advised that everyone gets the vaccine as it provides another layer of protection for yourself by reducing the severity of the disease. The vaccine also reduces transmission of the virus to others.


I have COVID-19. What is the best way to treat my illness?

If your test confirms that you have COVID-19, you will be contacted by Island Health within 12 hours to discuss isolation, contact tracing, and management of symptoms. Speak with your doctor or public health nurse if you have any questions about symptom management or ongoing medical concerns.

It is important that you stay home and isolate until the end of isolation date determined by Island Health (for 14 days to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others). This means that you should not go to work, school, shop or gather with others to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Isolate in a separate room for the full isolation period (14 days) away from family members/roommates/others who reside in your home. If this is not possible, wear a mask and keep the room well ventilated. Frequent handwashing and cleaning of high-touch surfaces is also critical. For more information on how to isolate at home, visit: BC Centre for Disease Control


Self Isolation & Supports 

Someone in my house has tested positive for COVID-19. Do I need to stay home and self isolate?

If you live in the same household with someone who has COVID-19, you are at a high risk of exposure to the infection and spreading it to others. It is important that you self-isolate at home for 14 days after your last close contact with them or as determined by Island Health if you are named as a close contact.

If possible, stay in separate rooms, sleep in separate beds and use separate bathrooms. Wash your hands frequently, clean high-touch surfaces, maintain distance and wear a mask when you are in proximity.

To learn more on how to self-isolate and who should self-isolate visit: BC Health Links


I was in close contact with someone, do I need to get a COVID-19 test?

No. You only need to get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been advised by public health or another health care provider. 


I received a COVID-19 test while isolating and it is negative. Can I go off isolation now?"

No, you must continue to isolate for the full period since it may be a false negative. While a negative result is usually very good news, you were likely asked to isolate because you are a close contact to a positive case and to limit potential spread of the virus it is necessary to complete your isolation period.


I tested positive for COVID-19. I live with others in my home and   we have limited space. Are there supports available to help with self-isolating outside of my home, such as a hotel or self isolation unit?


We recognize the significant emotional, mental and financial toll facing our community during this unprecedented time. To support our Cowichan Tribes members, we are offering several pandemic resources available to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are self-isolating.


Nurses and Community Navigators will work with affected individuals to determine if they are eligible. Supports may include temporary accommodations if self-isolation is not possible in their home, particularly due to overcrowding or the presence of elderly members in the household or individuals with pre-existing health conditions. Delivery of food, medicines and other basic home supplies may also be organized for members who do not have anyone who can deliver these goods to them.


For more information on how to access available supports for Cowichan Tribes members, please contact COVID-19 Community Navigators at 250-715-3339 or


Discrimination FAQs 

Can businesses deny services to Cowichan Tribes members during the Shelter in Place Order?

NO. Members who test positive for COVID-19 are isolating and in regular contact with public health officials. Under the B.C. Human Rights Code it is illegal discriminate based on race, colour, ancestry, or place of origin. Refusing services based on these factors may subject businesses to litigation. Under the Shelter in Place Order, Cowichan Tribes members may leave their homes for essential reasons including work, school, medical appointments, shopping, caring for loved ones, to get fresh air, or for other essential reasons.