As you are aware, there is a COVID-19 outbreak in our province and around the globe. It is a very serious public health risk and our governments are currently supporting our communities in “flattening the curve,” containing the outbreak, and ultimately keeping Canadians safe.
Our government officials have been providing daily updates on the outbreak and they have continually reinforced that they need Canadians to stay at home, stay vigilant and stay informed.
The province has created a phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19. Information is available 7:30am – 8pm at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 604-630-0300.
What You Can Do:
The federal government and our province have asked all of us to comply with the following:
- Stay at home. Stay at home. Stay at home.
- Self-isolate at home for 14 days if you (or your child) are sick (cough, cold, flu or anything more than that).
- Call 811 if you develop a high fever, cough and respiratory issues — and have either: a) recently returned from travelling, b) been in close contact with a positive or probable case, or c) are not getting better. Call 911 if you have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain.
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (this includes counters, phones, toys and door handles!).
- Self-separate from the community if you are at higher risk (or live with those at higher risk). This includes older adults, those who are immunocompromised, and those with chronic underlying medical conditions.
- Practice social distancing: maintain 2m (6-7ft) between you and others. Avoid groups and crowds. Avoid hugs and handshakes.
- Avoid all non-essential travel. If you are currently out of the country, we encourage you to review Canada’s current travel advisory. The Prime Minister has asked for all Canadians to return home.
- If you’ve recently returned from out-of-control travel, you must self-isolate for 14 days (even if you don’t have symptoms). If you have recently returned from Italy, Iran, or China, you are also required to notify 811 within 24 hours of arrival.
- Self-isolation includes: not being out in public, not leaving home unless travelling to medical care, separate bedroom & bathroom from your family, wearing a mask when interacting with others, and avoiding interactions with anyone that is high risk.
- More information can be found here: Locals Abroad & Returning to Canada
Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.
There is testing being done on-island, but it is limited to those that meet the symptom criteria and have been referred through 811. More information can be found here: http://www.vch.ca/about-us/news/vancouver-coastal-health-statement-on-coronavirus
If You Get Sick:
Use the online BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you 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.
If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19 (for example, dry cough or fever), please stay home, and isolate for 14 days. 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 family physician. Note: 8-1-1 is experiencing heavy call volumes and will get to your call as quickly as possible.
If you are having severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, please call 911.
You must limit contact with others:
- Do not leave home unless absolutely necessary, such as to seek medical care.
- Do not go to school, work, other public areas or use public transportation.
- Arrange to have groceries and supplies dropped off at your door to minimize contact.
- Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in your home, if possible.
- If you have to be in contact with others, keep at least 2 metres (6-7 feet) between yourself and the other person. Keep interactions brief and wear a mask.
- Avoid contact with individuals with chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults.
- Avoid contact with pets if you live with other people that may also be touching the pet.
Know The Difference:
There are many pandemic terms being used interchangeably. To ensure we’re all on the same page, please be mindful of how the BC Centre for Disease Control and the federal government define each situation.
- Social Distancing: You are making changes in your everyday routines in order to minimize close contact with others, including:
- avoiding crowded places and non-essential gatherings
- avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes
- limiting contact with people at higher risk (e.g. older adults and those who are immunocompromised or living with chronic health conditions)
- keeping a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (2m or 6-7ft) from others
- Self-Isolation: You have no symptoms AND a history of possible exposure to the novel coronavirus due to travel outside of Canada or close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Isolation: You have symptoms (even, if mild) AND you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (or are waiting for the results of a lab test for COVID-19).