Long Term Care Exposure Resident Q&A
- What do we do if one of our residents is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 but we don’t yet have the results of a COVID-19 test yet?
- Place the resident on droplet and contact precautions, document the symptoms and continue to provide care as usual. The MRP will order a COVID-19 test.
- Should staff providing care to a suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19 be restricted from providing care to other residents?
To minimize transmission risk, facilities should assign dedicated staff to work on a COVID-19 unit, who are NOT assigned to work in other areas of the facility, if at all possible.
If staffing shortages do not allow for dedicating staff to specific units, facilities should be strategic to prevent spread of the virus between units. Care should be provided to residents that are non-COVID-19 first, followed by suspected COVID-19 positive residents and then symptomatic COVID-19 residents.
- What do we do if one of our residents tests positive for COVID-19?
Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) is notified by VCH Public Health when a resident tests positive for COVID-19. IPAC provides patient locations during the infectious period to VCH Public Health and OH&S.
OH&S forwards the relevant manager(s) the VCH Public Health notification of exposure and requests that they confirm that staff wore appropriate PPE at all times. If that is the case, this would be a non-event, meaning no exposure. If there was a possible breach in PPE, then VCH Public Health will provide guidance on next steps for those staff potentially exposed to COVID-19 .
As a staff member, if a patient on your unit tests positive for COVID-19, you can continue to work unless you have been in direct contact with the patient who is COVID-19 positive without PPE and have developed symptoms. However, to prevent the spread of the virus, you cannot work at any other long-term care facility or other health-care facility for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- What are the isolation protocols for a resident who tests positive for COVID-19?
- A COVID-19 positive resident should be isolated in a single room, or in a room with other residents with COVID-19.
- What defines a close contact?
- According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, a high-risk close contact is a person who meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Provided direct care for someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including health-care workers, family members or other caregivers, or who had other similar close physical contact (e.g., intimate partner) without consistent and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.
- Lived with or otherwise had close face-to-face contact (within 2 metres) with a probable or confirmed case for more than 15 minutes (may be cumulative, i.e., multiple interactions) up to 48 hours prior to symptom onset.
- Had direct contact with infectious body fluids of a probable or confirmed case (e.g., was coughed or sneezed on) while not wearing recommended PPE.
- Has been identified by the local MHO as a possible contact.
- If I am a confirmed close contact but have tested negative and have no symptoms, do I need to isolate?
- Yes. You need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day you were exposed if you are deemed a close contact by VCH Public Health. They will give you specific direction.
If you need to reach PHC’s Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPAC), please call local 69357. Do not contact individual IPAC team members.