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Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Updated on March 28, 2020.

What you need to know about COVID-19

Prevention: Wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and practice physical distancing: stay two metres from others, stay home as much as possible, socialize online instead of in person, and limit trips to buy supplies.

Symptoms: Reported signs and symptoms include: fever, coughing, and/or difficulty breathing. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 you can try this quick, online self-assessment tool: https://covid19.thrive.health/

Experiencing symptoms: If you think you have mild symptoms of COVID-19 (for example fever, coughing, and/or difficulty breathing), please stay home, and self-isolate for 10 days after the initial start of your symptoms. Testing is not recommended. After 10 days, if your temperature is normal and you feel well, you may return to your routine activities. Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-isolate beyond 10 days. If respiratory symptoms worsen, take the online assessment at bc.thrive.health. You may need to seek medical attention; if so, call 811 or your health-care provider. If symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.

Travelling outside of Canada: An official global travel advisory is in effect. Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. The federal government has deployed the Quarantine Act, imposing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for any traveller returning to Canada. Visit the Government of Canada's website for the latest travel advisory updates.

Questions: If you have health concerns, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1. For non medical information about COVID-19 Call 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or text  604-630-0300 from 7:30 am to 8 pm. 

Situation updates

March 28: Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, latest updates

March 27: Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, latest updates

March 26: Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, latest updates

March 26: Safe seniors, strong communities during COVID-19

March 26: First Nations and Emergency Program Act orders for COVID-19 response

March 25: Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, latest updates

March 24: Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, latest updates

March 23: Visitor restrictions at all VCH sites

March 23: Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, latest updates

March 21: Additional protections announced for long-term care residents

March 20: Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, latest updates

March 19: Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, latest updates

March 18: Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, latest updates

March 18: Vancouver Coastal Health confirms a case of COVID-19 at Haro Park Centre

March 17: Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, latest updates

March 17: Vancouver Coastal Health expands St. Patrick’s Day closure of bars and restaurants beyond downtown core

March 16: Vancouver Coastal Health asks bars and restaurants to close doors on St. Patrick’s Day

March 16: COVID-19 notification for Pacific Dental Conference 2020

March 16: COVID-19 notification for Showcase Restaurant and Bar

March 16: Joint statement on B.C.’s COVID-19 response and latest updates

March 14: Joint statement on update on new and existing COVID-19 cases in B.C.

March 13: Joint statement on update on new and existing COVID-19 cases in B.C.

March 13: Vancouver Coastal Health confirms three cases of COVID-19 at Lions Gate Hospital

March 12: Joint statement on update on new and existing COVID-19 cases in B.C.

March 12: COVID-19 notification for attendees of Pacific Dental Conference 2020

March 10: Joint statement on update on new and existing COVID-19 cases in B.C.

March 9: Joint statement on update on new and existing COVID-19 cases in B.C.

March 7: Update on new and existing COVID-19 cases in British Columbia

March 5: Joint statement on new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

March 4: Joint statement on one new case of COVID-19 in B.C.

March 3: Joint statement on one new case of COVID-19 in B.C.

March 2: Joint statement on COVID-19

Frequently asked questions & videos

 Content Editor ‭[1]‬

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. The word pandemic can be a scary word for people, but it simply means the world-wide spread of a newly identified virus. We often use it for newly identified influenza viruses. The word pandemic is not an indication of how severe the virus might be. While the risk to British Columbians remains low, work continues at federal, provincial and local health authority levels.

The provincial government has also activated its advanced COVID-19 response to protect British Columbians. For more information, visit the province's pandemic preparedness plan.

Vancouver Coastal Health's pandemic plans are also posted publicly.

 Content Editor ‭[2]‬

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found mostly in animals. In humans, they can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). The illness caused by this new coronavirus has been named COVID-19.

Currently, there is no specific treatment for Coronavirus Disease. Most people with Coronavirus Disease will recover on their own. The symptoms for Coronavirus Disease have included mostly mild and on occasion severe respiratory illness.

If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19 (for example fever, coughing, and/or difficulty breathing), please stay home, and self-isolate for 10 days after the initial start of your symptoms. After 10 days, if your temperature is normal and you feel well, you may return to your routine activities. Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-isolate beyond 10 days. Please seek medical care if respiratory symptoms worsen.

COVID-19 presents as a mild illness in the majority of patients; testing is not recommended for those who have mild respiratory symptoms. If respiratory symptoms worsen, please call 811 or your health care provider.

This self-assessment tool, developed with the BC Ministry of Health, will help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to. https://covid19.thrive.health/

The symptoms of COVID-19, are similar to other respiratory illnesses, including the flu and the common cold. They include cough, fever, and difficulty breathing. While many of the characteristics of COVID-19 are still unknown, mild to severe illness has been reported for confirmed cases and most people recover.

Older people and people with a weakened immune system or underlying medical condition are considered at higher risk of severe disease.

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 you can try this quick, online self-assessment tool: https://covid19.thrive.health/

 Content Editor ‭[3]‬

Public Health experts are quite confident that Coronavirus Disease is spread through droplet transmission, which is consistent with all other coronaviruses. This type of transmission from person to person occurs only after symptoms develop when infected people cough or sneeze and produce droplets.

There is no reported evidence of airborne transmission. 

We don't have evidence that people without symptoms pose a risk to others.

If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19 (for example fever, coughing, and/or difficulty breathing), please stay home, and self-isolate for 10 days after the initial start of your symptoms. After 10 days, if your temperature is normal and you feel well, you may return to your routine activities. Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-isolate beyond 10 days. Please seek medical care if respiratory symptoms worsen.

COVID-19 presents as a mild illness in the majority of patients; testing is not recommended for those who have mild respiratory symptoms. If respiratory symptoms worsen, please call 811 or your health care provider.

A self-assessment tool from the Ministry of Health is available at https://covid19.thrive.health/ 

The province has created a phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages, 7:30 am - 8 pm at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 604-630-0300.

For the health of your family, friends and community, you need to stay at home. That means do not have visitors and do not go to work or school, public areas, including places of worship, stores, shopping malls and restaurants. Cancel or reschedule appointments. If you leave your home for medical care, do not take buses, taxis or ride-sharing where you would be in contact with others. You can use delivery/pick up services for groceries or other needs, but avoid face to face contact. Face to face contact means you are within 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) of another person.‎

Stay home while you are sick – Just as when you have the flu, you should stay home when you are sick. Do not go to work, or school. Cancel non-urgent appointments. However, you can still leave home for essential purchases, such as getting groceries. If you do go out while you are still sick, it is best if you wear a mask (see point #2 below). 

Wear a face mask – Wear a face mask when you are in the same room with other people and when you visit a health care facility. If your mask gets wet or dirty, change it. Please note: A face mask refers to a surgical/procedure mask. N95 respirator masks are not required by the patient or household contacts. 

Separate yourself from other people in your home – Stay and sleep in a well-ventilated room separate from other people. Use a separate bathroom if available. Use a face mask in shared spaces. Household members should stay in another home or place of residence if possible. Restrict visitors. However, it is ok to have friends/family drop off food or you can use delivery/pick up services for errands such as grocery shopping. 

Do not prepare food for others in your household 

Avoid sharing household items - Do not share dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with people in your home. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water. 

Cover your coughs and sneezes – Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough/sneeze, or cough/sneeze into your sleeve instead of your hand. Throw used tissues into a lined trash can in your room before disposal with other household waste. Immediately wash your hands. 

Wash your hands – Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use disposable paper towels when possible. For more information on handwashing see https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/hand-washing. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer, however, always wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 

Flush toilet with the lid down – the virus may also be present in stool. 

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces – Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g. counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables) once per day with regular household disinfectant or a solution containing 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. 

Notify health care facilities before you visit – Call ahead before visiting a health care facility, and advise them that you have or are being tested for novel coronavirus. Also be sure to inform health care providers when you arrive. This will help health care facilities to take steps to keep other people from becoming infected. 

Monitor your symptoms – Seek medical attention if you have trouble breathing, are unable to tolerate fluids, or if your illness is worsening. Notify health care facilities and health care providers (e.g. emergency departments, ambulance paramedics, doctor’s offices) before you visit. 

Who should be tested for COVID-19?

People with respiratory symptoms who are:

  • Hospitalized, or likely to be hospitalized, including pregnant women in their 3rd trimester

  • Health Care Workers

  • Residents of long term care facilities

  • Part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak (Testing will be organized by Public Health)

Who does not need to be tested for COVID-19?

  • People without symptoms

  • Patients with mild respiratory symptoms who can be managed at home, including returning travellers with an onset of illness within 14 days of return to Canada

The BC Ministry of Health strongly urges anyone who has symptoms - including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing - to self-isolate for 10 days after the initial start of your symptoms. After 10 days, if your temperature is normal and you feel well, you may return to your routine activities. Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-isolate beyond 10 days. Please seek medical care if respiratory symptoms worsen.

BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool

Please use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. Visit https://covid19.thrive.health/

An official global travel advisory is in effect. Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. Visit the Government of Canada's website for the latest travel advisory updates.

Federal and provincial public health leaders have recommended that all travellers from outside of Canada self-isolate for 14 days. These efforts will contribute to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

Currently, there is no specific treatment for Coronavirus Disease. Most people with Coronavirus Disease will recover on their own. The symptoms for Coronavirus Disease have included mostly mild and on occasion severe respiratory illness.

There are some measures you and your family can take right now to reduce the risk of infection. The best protection is proper hand washing, including before and after you eat your meals. Hand washing is the best way of preventing all respiratory virus infections.

Avoid touching your eyes and nose prior to washing your hands.

You can also help stop the spread of viruses by practicing good cough and sneeze etiquette. Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the used tissue into a garbage can and then wash your hands. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.

Finally, if you are ill, have symptoms of flu like a fever or cough, you should stay home.

For more information on healthy practices, visit our Sneezes and Diseases website.

With an increasing number of cases of COVID-19, we must all do our part to slow transmission of the virus and protect our communities. This means self-isolating as much as possible, and maintaining social distance (a space of one to two metres) from other people.

To help maintain social distancing, as of March 20, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart announced that all restaurants in Vancouver must close table service, and can only offer takeout and delivery options. The city also announced that all playgrounds in Vancouver will be closing to minimize public gatherings. 

On March 21, provincial Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced an order to close personal service establishments such as salons and spas.

These orders all followed a prior prohibition by the Provincial Government on gatherings larger than 50 people including indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings or other similar events. This threshold has been selected, as it is much easier to maintain important social distancing to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

For the safety of our patients and health care providers, we are restricting visitors to essential visits only at all of our sites. Essential visits include, but are not limited to: 

  • Compassionate care (e.g., end of life and critical illness)

  • Visits paramount to patient, client , resident care and well-being, such as assistance with feeding or mobility

  • Existing registered volunteers providing services related to the above. 

Staff are well prepared and have protocols in place to ensure any patient that presents to a hospital with symptoms of COVID-19 does not pose a risk to others. These new rules are in place as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of patients, staff and physicians.

We are also taking extra precautions at our ambulatory and outpatient clinics, including pre-screening for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to any clinic visits. We will ask that patients, if clinically indicated, defer their visit until their signs and symptoms resolve. If the visit is required, we will explore ways to do the visit virtually or with appropriate precautions in the respective clinic.

Lions Gate Hospital is only accepting emergency patients at the Emergency Department. All elective surgeries at this and all hospitals have been cancelled.

We are also enacting plans to reduce visits to LGH outpatient services. Each clinic has been assessed to determine if services can be moved off site or cancelled.  For clinics that are continuing at present, patients will be called and pre-screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to any clinic visits. We will ask that patients, if clinically indicated, defer their visit until their signs and symptoms resolve. If the visit is required, we will explore ways to do the visit virtually or with appropriate precautions in the respective clinic.

To further reduce the potential for community transfer of COVID-19 into Lions Gate Hospital (LGH), the 13th Street entry and exit is closed to visitors and staff.

Patients and visitors are able to enter through the 15th Street entrance where they will be screened by security or a volunteer for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If they have symptoms, they will be asked to not enter the hospital. External signage with is posted at all entrances directing people to the 15th Street entrance.

The best protection is to follow proper hygiene etiquette during cold and flu season. This includes proper hand washing with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and staying home when you are sick. We do not recommend wearing a mask in the community, as surgical masks are not designed for this purpose and are unlikely to provide significant protection.

What are long-term care homes and assisted living facilities doing to protect residents and staff from COVID-19?

To protect this population and address anticipated pressures on the acute care system, VCH is adopting the advice of Ministry of Health for health authorities to:

  • Temporarily suspend inter-facility transfers, except in circumstances of intolerable risk, until further notice and ensure clients' place on the wait list for transfer is maintained during the suspension of transfers; 

  • Prioritize admissions to long-term care from acute care over those from community where possible; 

  • Temporarily suspend all health authority operated/funded home & community Care (HCC) adult day programs and; 

  • Temporarily suspend the provision of in-facility respite, except in circumstances of intolerable risk.  

In addition to these measures, Medical Health Officer Dr. Althea Hayden issued a Public Health Order to all licensed long-term care facilities in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority region on March 20, 2020. The Order aims to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes and protect the health of vulnerable seniors. The Order comes into force within three days and will remain in effect until further notice.

Under the Public Health Act, Medical Health Officers are given powers to enact and enforce such Orders. Currently, three long-term care facilities in the VCH region have confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19.

The Public Health Order issued by Vancouver Coastal Health: 

  • Prohibits long-term care staff and volunteers (with the exception of physicians, paramedics and laboratory technicians) from working at more than one health care facility;

  • Requires facilities to deny access to all visitors to the facility, with the limited exception of the immediate family members and spiritual advisor of residents who are clinically assessed to be at the end of their lives;

  • Prohibits resident transfers between health care facilities unless approved by a Medical Health Officer;

  • Requires facilities to carry out enhanced cleaning of facilities and enhanced screening of staff, contractors and visitors, and to adhere to higher standards for notification of cold and flu-like illnesses;

  • Cancels or postpones indefinitely all group social activities. 

Is it safe to allow visitors to long-term care homes and assisted living facilities?

In our ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of residents in long-term care homes, VCH has issued a Public Health Order restricting visitation to family members and spiritual advisor of residents who are clinically assessed to be at the end of their lives.

We are cancelling all elective surgeries at this point in order to prioritize urgent patients.

Please note that a memo that appeared to contain our logo claiming to cite advice from BCCDC regarding the use of Ibuprofen/Advil in relation to COVID-19 was not an authentic memo. The information about ibuprofen is new and we are reviewing the evidence. 

We are so grateful for the many offers from individuals and organizations to donate protective equipment, financial support and time to our health-care workers and hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.  To find out how you can support, please visit www.vch.ca/donate.

What is the latest update on the Lynn Valley Care Centre Lodge?

We have identified several cases of COVID-19 at Lynn Valley Care Centre Lodge which include both residents and staff members. Our deepest sympathies are shared with the family and friends of the resident who passed away.

Lynn Valley Care Centre Lodge is under outbreak precautions and a Vancouver Coastal Health Medical Health Officer is working closely with staff and medical staff to ensure appropriate infection control precautions are in place for the safety of residents and health care providers.

All cases are under isolation for the protection of other Lynn Valley Care Centre Lodge residents.

Any staff who work at Lynn Valley Care Centre Lodge, and did not have high-risk contact with the cases and do not display symptoms, have been informed they can continue to work at the facility, but not at any other site as a precautionary measure.

The adjacent Lynn Valley Care Centre Manor is not under outbreak precautions.

Can visitors still visit family at Lynn Valley Care Lodge?

In our ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of residents in long-term care homes, VCH has issued a Public Health Order restricting visitation to family members and spiritual advisor of residents who are clinically assessed to be at the end of their lives.

 
Resources for British Columbia

Resources for Canada

Global resources


SOURCE: Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) ( )
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