COVID-19 Update for Patients

This information was updated on April 26, 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. 

Here is the directive from our Provincial Health Officer, Dr Bonnie Henry:

  • 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 carriers 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 infections, 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:

Self-isolation

For people arriving in B.C. from outside Canada

People arriving from outside of Canada are asked to self-isolate, which means staying home and not going to work or school, and monitor for symptoms for 14 days after arrival in Canada.

People arriving from Hubei Province, Italy or Iran are asked to take extra measures to limit their contact, see information below.

  • Stay at home. Do not go to work or school.
  • Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer often 
  • Consider asking friends or relatives to help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication. Alternatively, you can order groceries and medication by phone or online 
  • Limit the number of visitors in your home. Only have visitors who you must see and keep the visits short
  • Avoid face to face contact; keep a distance of 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) from another person.
  • Self-isolation can end 14 days after the last contact or return to Canada

Extra measures for close contacts or people arriving from Hubei Province, Iran and Italy

People who are contacts, meaning they have been or could have been exposed to the virus but do not have symptoms, as well as those arriving from Hubei Province in China, Iran and Italy are asked to take extra measures to limit their contact with others.

This includes staying home and avoiding situations where the person could infect other people. This means all situations where the person may come in contact with others, such as social gatherings, work, school, child care, athletic events, university, faith-based gatherings, healthcare facilities, grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, public transportation and all public gatherings.

You are also required to contact your local public health authority within 24 hours of arriving in Canada to provide your contact information.

  • Stay at home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis.
  • Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer often.  You can ask friends or relatives if you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication. Alternatively, you can order groceries and medication by phone or online
  • Limit the number of visitors in your home. Only have visitors who you must see and keep the visits short
  • Avoid face to face contact; keep a distance of 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) from another person.
  • Self-isolation can end 14 days after the last contact or return to Canada. 

Self-monitoring

Self-monitoring means looking for new symptoms or signs of coronavirus infection such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, etc. If you develop symptoms, contact 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or your health care 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 coughing, sore throat, or shortness of breath.
  • Take and record temperature daily and avoid the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen) as much possible.
  • These as medications could mask an early symptom of COVID-19; if these medications must be taken, the client should advise their 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 practices such as covering your cough and sneezing with disposable tissue.
  • Clean high-touch areas such as toilets, bedside tables and door handles with diluted bleach (one-part bleach to nine-parts 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

Testing is recommended for patients with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild. Symptoms may include: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, odynophagia (painful swallowing), rhinorrhea (runny nose), nasal congestion (stuffy nose), loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, or loss of appetite.

Testing is especially important for groups that are more vulnerable to complications due to COVID-19, people who care for these individuals, and for people for whom a diagnosis will change the public health management or care they receive.

Individuals with symptoms can find a collection centre where they can be assessed and tested by:
 
 

Individuals in the following groups should be prioritized for testing:

  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Individuals requiring admission to hospital or likely to be admitted, such as pregnant individuals near-term, patients on hemodialysis, or cancer patients receiving radiation or chemotherapy.
  • Healthcare workers
  • Individuals with a higher probability of being infected with COVID-19 such as contacts of a known case of COVID-19 and travellers just returned to Canada
  • Residents of remote, isolated, or Indigenous communities
  • People living in congregate settings such as work-camps, correctional facilities, shelters, group homes, assisted living and seniors’ residences
  • People who are homeless or have unstable housing
    Essential service providers, such as first responders

In addition, healthcare providers can order a COVID-19 test for any patient based on their clinical judgment and medical health officers may recommend testing for others.

 

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

If an individual has no symptoms, even if they are a contact of a confirmed case or a returning traveller and self-isolating at home, they do not require a test. 

Outpatient management

Please refer to the clinical guidance for outpatient management.

Please advise patients, with or without a history of travel, who have respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home, to isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days after onset of their symptoms or at least 14 days for travellers returning to Canada. More information for patients is available on the If you are sick page.

 

What about household contact of a patient with respiratory symptoms? 

People who live in the same household as a patient with respiratory symptoms are at higher risk of being exposed. If a person lives in the same household as a patient who tests positive for COVID-19, they will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the last time they were in close contact without appropriate personal protective equipment. Public health can advise individuals on their specific circumstances. 
 
We are asking household contacts of people with symptoms who are not tested to self-monitor for respiratory symptoms.  As much as possible, household contacts should distance themselves from the patient (e.g. stay in separate rooms, sleep in separate beds and use separate bathrooms if possible). More information on the self-isolation page
 

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:

  1. http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
  2. http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/clinical-resources/covid-19-care
  3. http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19

Government of Canada information:

  1. About Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html#a2
  2. Travel advice: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html
  3. 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