Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Please read the attached letter (link above) from the Province of British Columbia’s Health Office. If you have any concerns about this matter, please feel free to reach out to us at 1-604-332-1194 or contact your local Ministry of Health.

 

How is coronavirus transmitted?

Coronavirus is spread from an infected person through:

  • Droplets spread when a person coughs or sneezes
  • Close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms for COVID-19 are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

At this time, the available information suggests the incubation period is up to 14 days. The incubation period is the time from when a person is first exposed until symptoms appear.

What is self-monitoring and self-isolation?

Self-monitoring

Self-monitoring means you should be monitoring your health and the health of your children for symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Anyone who self-monitors are also asked to avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill. Individuals who are self-monitoring are allowed to attend and work in school and participate in regular activities.

If you start having symptoms of COVID-19, you need to:

  • Isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible
  • Immediately call a health care professional, a local public health authority or 8-1-1
  • Describe your symptoms and travel history. They will provide advice on what you should do

Travellers returning from the affected areas listed below, should actively self-monitor taking your temperature twice a day, in the morning and at nighttime, using a digital thermometer by mouth (oral). Do not take acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (e.g. Advil®) during the 14-day self-isolation period unless  your health care provider advises otherwise.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

If you have symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing and have travelled outside Canada or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, avoid contact with others. See a health care provider as soon as possible.

What should I do if I have been travelling?

If you are returning from Hubei Province or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, consider staying home and limit contact with others for a total of 14 days from your return. Monitor yourself daily for symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty breathing for these 14 days. If you develop symptoms, call HealthLinkBC (8-1-1) at any time or speak with your health care provider to discuss any need for testing and follow up.

For more information see:

  • Public Health Agency of Canada: Novel coronavirus: Information sheet – Travellers returning from Hubei Province, China

If you have travelled outside Canada, monitor yourself and your children closely for symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty breathing for a total of 14 days from your return. If any symptoms arise, limit contact with others and call HealthLinkBC (8-1-1) at any time or speak with your health care provider.

For more information see:

How can I prevent getting infected?

The most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. To help reduce your risk of infection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using soap and water is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of infection
  • If a sink is not available, alcohol based hand rubs (ABHR) can be used to clean your hands as long as they are not visibly soiled. If they are visibly soiled, use a wipe and then ABHR to effectively clean them
  • Do not touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow when you sneeze or cough
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Do not share food, drinks, utensils, etc.

Should I wear a mask?

  • If you are sick, wearing a mask helps prevent you from passing on illnesses to other people
  • If you are not sick it may be less effective to wear a mask in the community

Learn more about how to decrease your risk:

Learn more about how to stay healthy on your trip:

Is there a vaccine for a COVID-19?

When a disease is new, there is no vaccine until one is developed. It can take many years to develop a new vaccine.

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?

There is no specific treatment for disease caused by COVID-19. Many of the symptoms can be managed with home treatment such as drinking plenty of fluids, rest and using a humidifier or hot shower to ease a cough or sore throat. Most people recover from coronaviruses on their own.  For people with more serious illness supportive care in or out of hospital may be needed.

For more information on what you can do if you have symptoms, see:

How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

The BCCDC Public Health Laboratory (PHL) has developed laboratory guidance for COVID-19 diagnostic testing. If your health care provider thinks you may have the new coronavirus, they will arrange for testing.

Useful Websites

BC Centre for Disease Control

BCCDC provides health promotion and prevention services, and diagnostic and treatment services to reduce communicable and chronic disease, preventable injury and environmental health risks. BCCDC also provides analytical and policy support to government and health authorities.