Staff Safety

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. 

How do I stop the spread of germs? 
Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is best to dry your hands with a paper towel and throw it away after use. If you can't wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Learn more at
How do I protect myself and my family? 
Here 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 the Sneezes and Diseases website.

Can we carry small hand sanitizers with us on shift at all times? 

Having access to alcohol-based hand rub is important. That is why PHC makes every effort to place dispensers in critical locations. Carrying your own supply of hand sanitizer is up to each individual. It is important to make sure that the hand sanitizer you carry has at least 60% alcohol. Soap and water handwashing for at least 20 seconds, and drying with disposable paper towels is also a recommended approach.

I have a lot of patients presenting with symptoms of influenza-like illness, should I wear a mask? 

​​Please follow standard precautions. Point-of-care risk assessment is in place at clinics and emergency departments.​

Do I need a surgical mask or N95 respirator? 

If treating a patient with symptoms, follow​ established droplet and contact precautions and infection, prevention and control protocols.​ 

For assessment and management of suspected and confirmed Coronavirus Disease cases, use droplet and contact precautions, which includes surgical masks. ​

Are there enough N95 respirators for regular use?  
​We have taken action to ensure we keep a supply of n95 respirators for use when they are needed routinely, such as for staff caring for tuberculosis patients or performing bronchoscopy. Staff are advised to go on with normal usage and not horde supplies. ​
Is it safe to come to work at Providence Health Care? 

​Yes. We are working closely with Vancouver Coastal Health sites and programs, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to respond to the evolving Coronavirus Disease situation.

The critical steps to ensure the safety of Providence Health Care employees include: early identification of cases, prompt isolation, testing and monitoring, and executing proper infection, prevention and control practices within facilities. 

In addition to keeping you informed via this Q&A, we have organizational structures, plans and processes in place to address and monitor emerging issues like this one.​

Will staff be informed if their patient tests positive? 
​​We will inform all staff who have dealt with a positive patient and ensure that the proper precautions and protocols were following. If there was a break in precautions, we will treat staff as a potential contact and will monitor for signs and symptoms for 14 days
What if I am pregnant or immune compromised and am concerned about providing care to patients with COVID-19?

For the past few weeks we have had staff inquire about their ability to work in the health care setting if they are pregnant or have underlying medical conditions. Most often, staff have been reaching out directly to Occupational Health and Safety. After discussions with Vancouver Coastal Health and our provincial partners, it is important to note that staff making these inquiries should first contact their leader. Leaders will be able to speak directly to staff about the risks or lack thereof in their workspace, appropriate use to PPE or other options if available.  Staff will not be required to disclose confidential medical information to their leader and the Occupational Health and Safety team will still be involved as required.

If I have any questions or concerns about workplace safety, who can I contact? 
​Employee Safety can support employees through this process and answer any questions they might have. Please contact


This page last updated Apr 3, 2020 1:34pm PDT