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If you need care, don’t delay and seek care right away


COVID-19 is prudent and required by public health experts, an exception to the rule is when you're seeking medical care.  If you're in need of care, seek it right away.

"We don't want our patients postponing appointments until COVID-19 subsides because we know it's going to be with us for some time," says Dr. Eric Grafstein, Head of Emergency Medicine at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). "Sticking to health-care plans and keeping appointments will improve your health outcomes. All VCH hospitals and community sites have enhanced safety measures in place and are well prepared to receive and care for patients, whether it's for scheduled appointments, diagnostic tests or medical procedures." 

People should always seek urgent and emergent care without delay to prevent the exacerbation of medical conditions. Some health conditions that may require emergency care include:

  • Trouble breathing or catching your breath

  • Severe abdominal or chest pain/pressure

  • Weakness or tingling on one side of your body

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Heavy bleeding 

Health-care settings continue to be safe places for patients. Staff are prepared and have enhanced safety protocols in place to ensure any patient that comes to the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms poses a limited risk to others. These guidelines are in place as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of patients, staff and physicians.

For non-life-threatening urgent care, such as sprains, strains, fevers, minor burns and infections or when you are unable to see your family doctor or care provider, visit an Urgent and Primary Care Centre. These centres are open extended hours, every day and over the holidays, and staffed with emergency-trained health professionals to handle urgent and primary care.

If you're not sure if it's an emergency, you can call 8-1-1 to access HealthLink BC services for trusted health advice. This free, 24-hour, non-emergency, multi-lingual phone service is staffed by trained health service navigators, registered nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and qualified exercise professionals who can help answer your health-related questions.

Visit for tips and resources on how to prevent injuries this winter, especially slips and falls, to avoid hospital visits or stays. 

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is responsible for the delivery of $4.1 billion in community, hospital and long-term care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. VCH also provides specialized care and services for people throughout B.C., and is the province's hub of health-care education and research.



Deana Lancaster
Vancouver Coastal Health
604 708 5310 (o)| 604 230 6130 (m)

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