Other Questions

 Please note that as things change rapidly, Q&As and guidelines will be updated. Review this website often to ensure you have the most up to date information or consult your leader if you have concerns or identify discrepancies. 


If someone is worried they have been exposed to COVID-19 or sick, what is the advice for staying home and/or self-isolating? 

All PHC staff who do not have symptoms are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days as a precautionary measure when they:

Return from travel at any time from the Hubei Province in China, Iran or Italy
Have had close contact with a presumptive or confirmed case and have been instructed by a qualified medical practitioner 
Are otherwise instructed by a qualified medical practitioner

However, Non-health care providers who are currently travelling outside of Canada and return from travel after 4pm on Thursday, March 12 are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

*New* Please be advised that self-isolation does not apply to health-care workers who travel outside of Canada and provide direct patient care (e.g. physicians, nurses, care aides, etc.) unless they have travelled to Hubei Province in China, Italy, or Iran.

All health-care providers who have travelled outside of Canada are required to self-monitor daily and use appropriate PPE when providing care. If a health-care worker develops symptoms, they should self-isolate and contact the regional medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal at 1-604-527-4893.

If a health-care provider develops symptoms while providing care, they should immediately put on a mask and finish any essential services they are providing before self-isolating.

Employees may not unilaterally choose to self-isolate.

Employee Safety can support medical staff through this process and answer any questions they might have. Please contact scoughlin@providencehealth.bc.ca

What is the plan in case we start to have shortages of medical staff?  

Whether you work in the Emergency Department, ICU or Long Term Care, we need to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst, including the possibility of a prolonged and major epidemic.

At this time, we are asking each physician group to think about their staff that can be pulled in for inpatient work in case there are shortages (e.g. can clinics be cancelled and clinic physicians be redeployed).  If one group of physicians (e.g. Geriatrics) runs out of providers, we may have to ask for other PHC groups for coverage (e.g. General internal medicine.)  If we are unable to meet PHC needs with PHC physicians, there is an option to look for outside physicians.

In the meantime, please check with your members to determine their vacation schedules and who can be available in case of escalation.  
Can PHC establish COVID-19 testing centers outside of the ED/hospitals for those who are well but potentially infected?  Perhaps in PHC parking lots?  This has recently started in Nova Scotia and at certain sites in Toronto?  

All options are being looked at  by our emergency operations group, in partnership with the planning groups of Vancouver Coastal Health and the Ministry of Health. We’re reviewing the logistics of staffing and operations support required for each escalation step being contemplated.

If there are designated screening centres established in the future, we will distribute this information.

Can we increase the presence of Infection Control at our sites with department specific guidelines to clean equipment and protect staff?  
Equipment cleaning/disinfection, use of transmission based precautions, and promoting hand hygiene has been part of the IPAC "Back to Basics "program for the last two years.  We understand that in times of outbreaks, staff are more aware of the needs to adhere to these basics. We rely on enabling our leaders and educators at the unit and program levels to help with ensuring these basics are done.  If there are specific deficiencies in guidelines or practice, please contact: Dr. Victor Leung (Medical Director of IPAC) at VLeung@providencehealth.bc.ca or Tel: 778-879-2339, and Bonnie Lantz (Director of IPAC) at BLantz@providencehealth.bc.ca  or Tel: 604-682-234, x65579 to discuss.  
Can we increase the presence of housekeeping to assist in regular disinfecting of sharing patient waiting spaces, door handles, etc.?  
Yes, enhanced housekeeping and cleaning is already underway. Please inform your operations leads if you identify deficiencies.
Where can I go for more information?  
PHC staff and medical staff now have this dedicated website for all important COVID-19 information, available at work and at home on their mobile or desktop devices. If you have any questions, please email covid-19@providencehealth.bc.ca
This page last updated Apr 1, 2020 11:40am PDT