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.

I work at Holy Family where an outbreak of COVID-19 has just been announced. Should I be concerned?

We have been working closely with Vancouver Coastal Health Public Health Officers and Providence Health Care Infection Prevention and Control to contain the outbreak at Holy Family and keep staff, residents and patients safe. That is our priority. We have put outbreak control measures in place. This could mean a delay in the delivery of some services due to the stepped-up response to the outbreak.‎

Attention to good hygiene and proper use of PPE will help you keep yourself safe.

Who has tested positive?

Even in an outbreak, all staff and residents retain a right to medical privacy; we are not able to provide the identity of the persons who tested positive.

If I was exposed to an infected person (staff, doctor or resident) will I get tested?

The Communicable Disease Control team at Vancouver Coastal Health is working with the staff at Holy Family to identify anyone else who may have been exposed and taking steps to protect the health of all residents and staff. Anyone who is symptomatic will be referred for testing.

Testing of all residents and patients at Holy Family is now underway. 

I worked on a shift with someone who is COVID-19 positive (either a resident or co-worker) and have not been contacted. Have I been missed? 

Public Health will determine the level of risk of every staff member who has had contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive. Some of the factors included in determining the risk are the severity of symptoms of the person who is positive, the length of time of the exposure, and whether PPE was used. If your risk is determined to be low you will not be contacted. If you have not been contacted by Public Health and you do feel that you have had a high-risk exposure at work, such as providing direct care to a COVID+ patient without appropriate PPE or a breach in use of PPE, please contact your manager about your concerns.

What are the Public Health guidelines for staff who were deemed as being exposed to COVID? 

Public Health will assess each staff individually to provide appropriate guidance. 

What happens if a Holy Family staff member gets COVID-19?

All care staff showing any signs of illness have been asked not to come to work. If they are being tested for COVID-19, they are directed to self-isolate until they have their results. If they test positive, they are asked to continue self-isolation as per Public Health’s direction.

Generally, HCWs who are positive for COVID are required to remain in home isolation for a minimum of 10 days from the start of their symptoms. Public Health will monitor them and once their symptoms have resolved, they will be cleared to return to work.

Are there enough staff to care for all the residents during this outbreak?

Yes, we have a Medical Health Officer on site and communicable disease doctors are supporting them. All residents have their own doctors, in addition. Nurses, Care aids and Allied staff continue to be on site. 

We are deeply grateful to our dedicated, hard-working staff, and for the patience, kindness and understanding of our residents and families as we work hard to mitigate this outbreak.

What steps are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Holy Family? 

We can limit the spread of illness using many of the same steps we take during seasonal influenza outbreaks:

  1. Strict adherence to the five moments for hand hygiene
  2. Enhanced cleaning: We have increased cleaning frequency to high touch areas such as the side rails, tables and elevator buttons. This should reduce the risk of transmission of virus from objects 
  3. Symptom Monitoring & Testing:  To prevent transmission we need to identify who might be sick. This means carefully monitoring staff and residents for symptoms and providing testing where appropriate.
  4. Isolation of Cases: To prevent the spread of COVID-19 we take all possible steps to keep residents who have COVID-19 in their rooms while they are recovering.
  5. Physical Distancing: During an outbreak we reduce group and social activities to decrease the risk of transmission. This may mean that enjoyable activities are put on hold.
  6. Personal Protective Equipment: For staff and patient safety, staff will be using personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, eye protection and gowns.
  7. Limiting to work at one location: Staff are working at only one location. They are not moving between facilities.
  8. No Visitor Policy: No visitors are allowed at long-term care homes, with the only exception being one family member at a time during end-of-life.

Where can symptomatic staff get tested for COVID-19? 

Symptomatic staff can get tested at one of the collection centres. Click here for a complete list of all 85 testing sites available. 

I have heard there are mask and other protective equipment shortages. Is this shortage putting this site and myself at increased risk of infection?

We are not currently facing PPE shortages, however we are actively sourcing alternate suppliers to ensure continuous supply.

What precautions are being taken to ensure the outbreak does not spread to other parts of Holy Family? (e.g. from long-term care to rehab)

Testing of all residents and patients is now underway. There is no crossover of staff between rehab inpatients and rehab outpatients / clinic areas and there is no crossover between the long term care and the rehab parts of the hospital. Outpatient rehab clinics are postponing all in-person appointments until further notice. 

Rehab patients who want to be discharged to home can do so, but there will be no transfers from rehab to long term care. Rehab treatment will continue, but no group activities.

Can I work anywhere else during the outbreak?

On April 10, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the single site directive to limit health care workers to working in only one facility as a way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to vulnerable seniors. Facilities currently covered in the orders include private hospitals, stand-alone extended care hospitals, licensed long-term care, registered assisted living and provincial mental health facilities.

This applies to all staff at Holy Family Hospital during the outbreak (including rehab staff who also work at acute sites).

When will the outbreak be declared over?

In general, outbreaks are considered concluded after two incubation periods without new cases. The incubation period for COVID-19 is considered to be 2 weeks. This means that it will take 28 days without new cases before the outbreak can be concluded. These are the general approaches and ultimately Public Health will make the final decision.

How will you keep staff informed of the outbreak situation?

Holy Family Hospital will communicate proactively with staff during this time to keep them updated on any changes to the situation.

If staff have further questions, please contact covid-19@providencehealth.bc.ca

Who can staff contact if we have questions or concerns?

OH&S can support employees through this process and answer any questions they might have. Please contact scoughlin@providencehealth.bc.ca or (604) 341-6272. 

This page last updated Jul 21, 2020 10:41am PDT