COVID-19 Update for Patients
This information was updated on April 1, 2020.
The physicians of North Vancouver are on the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19. This crisis is unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetime. We are working flat out to be there for our patients and their families.
Doctors cannot do this alone. What the public do now will impact the health of British Columbians the weeks and months ahead. Lives depend on your actions now.
Our province is in a state of emergency.
We are taking this unusual step to write to you personally regarding the COVID-19 virus. You have heard the directive from the Provincial Health Officer, Dr Bonnie Henry, to self-isolate and practice social distancing
- Stay home unless absolutely necessary. This means no dinner parties. No shopping. No sports, even outside. Have coffee with a friend online.
- Keep 2 meters or 6 feet away from everyone if you must go out. That’s about the width of a car or the length of two arms stretched out.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Tell your loved ones to do the same.
This is especially important for young people. We sometimes see you out in the park or at the beach. You can get sick from this virus. More importantly, you can be a carrier and cause a lot of harm to parents, grandparents and other loved ones.
The time is now. We can’t wait one more hour or one more day. Let’s save lives together.
A new coronavirus is the cause of an outbreak of respiratory infection, now known as COVID-19. The number of cases worldwide is changing quickly. B.C. has confirmed cases of coronavirus. However, the risk to Canadians continues to be low.
What you need to know:
- Stay home while you are sick just as when you have a flu. Do not go to work or school. Cancel all non-urgent appointments. However, you can still leave home for essential needs, such as getting groceries. If you do go out while being sick, it is best you wear a mask (see point #2 below). Your doctor may provide you with a sick leave note excusing you from work or school.
- Wear a face mask when you are in the same room with other people or visiting a healthcare facility. Once your mask gets wet or dirty, change it. Please note, a face mask refers to a surgical/procedure mask. N95 respirator mask for airborne diseases is not required.
- Separate yourself from other people in your home. Stay in a well-ventilated room separately from other people. Use a separate bathroom if available. Use a face mask in shared spaces. The members of your household should stay in another 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 such as 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 use your sleeve instead. Throw used tissues into a lined trash can placed in your room. Dispose it with other household waste. Immediately 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 a 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 such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables once a day using a regular household disinfectant or solution containing 1 part of bleach to 9 parts of water.
- Notify a healthcare facility before you visit. Call ahead of time a healthcare facility and advise them that you have or are being tested for novel coronavirus. Also be sure to inform a healthcare provider on your arrival. This will help healthcare facility to take steps necessary 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 healthcare facility and healthcare provider (e.g. emergency departments, ambulance paramedics, doctor’s offices) before you visit.
Self-monitoring means looking for new symptoms or signs of coronavirus infection such as fever, cough, sore throat, etc. If you develop symptoms, contact 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or your healthcare provider. If your symptoms are severe, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Department
- Watch for the appearance of symptoms, particularly fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath
- Take and record temperature daily avoiding the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen) as much possible. These medications could mask the early symptoms of COVID-19. If those must be taken, you should advise a healthcare provider.
If symptoms appear
- Symptoms of COVID-19 are like other respiratory illnesses. Commonly, these are fever/chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose. Shortness of breath and chest pain can be signs of severe illness.
- Contact your healthcare provider or call 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) for guidance. If the symptoms are severe such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department
- Ensure that you self-isolate immediately and avoid contact with others. This means staying away from others as much as possible
- Wash your hands or use alcohol-based sanitizer frequently
- Practice good hygiene such as covering your cough and sneezing into disposable tissue
- Clean high-touch areas such as toilets, bedside tables and door handles with diluted bleach (one-part of bleach to nine-parts of water) or a household disinfectant.
How to self-isolate if you live with other people
It is better if those you live with can stay somewhere else, especially if they have a weak immune system or chronic health conditions. If you need to share a home, stay and sleep in a room with good airflow that is away from others. Use a separate bathroom if you can. Wear a face mask (surgical/procedure mask) if you are in the same room with anyone. Avoid face to face contact. Friends or family can drop off food outside your room or home.
Testing is available for all who need it but not everyone requires a test. If you have no symptoms, mild symptoms or you are a returning traveller self-isolating at home, you do not require a test.
Those who have a severe illness, require hospitalization, are residents of long-term care facilities or are healthcare workers will continue to be tested. We will also test anyone as a part of an active investigation or outbreak cluster.
If symptoms appear, call your healthcare provider or 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) for guidance.
The BCCDC COVID-19 Negative Results line is staffed from 8:30AM to 4:30PM, seven days a week. People who have been tested are asked to wait 72 hours before calling the Negative Results line. Most people who have been tested are calling before the 72 hours and, as a result, the line is experiencing an extremely high call and voicemail volume. We ask for your patience. Try calling back if it has been more than 72 hours since your sample was taken.
Here you can find more information about COVID-19, including symptoms, health precautions, travel precautions, and regular updates on the situation in Canada.
Visit the Vancouver Coastal health: http://www.vch.ca/about-us/news/vancouver-coastal-health-statement-on-coronavirus
BC COVID-19 Support App
The BC Government has launched a COVID-19 support App to help provide residents with the latest information on the ongoing pandemic. The app can be downloaded through the Apple Store or Google Play and is also available as a website online here.
Besides acting as a platform for posting information and alerts, the app also features the B.C. government’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool that can help residents decide if they need to seek coronavirus testing.
The BC Centre for Disease Control information:
Government of Canada information:
- About Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html#a2
- Travel advice: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html
- Community-based measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/public-health-measures-mitigate-covid-19.html