March 15, 2020
The following message is being sent to all health care workers on behalf of Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer.
Dear health care worker.
As we continue our efforts to slow the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, advice regarding public health measures in our communities and health care settings is evolving quickly. Further to the message that was sent out on Friday, March 13, 2020, please review the following updates for health-care workers.
Requests for Information related to COVID-19
We are experiencing a significant increase in questions and calls by patients, physicians, health-care workers, and the general public for information on COVID-19.
In an effort to manage the volume of calls, particularly at those centres staffed by our nurses and physicians, please triage all initial inquiries to the following websites: BCCDC COVID-19 for the Public, BCCDC COVID-19 for Health Care Professionals, and HealthLink BC 8-1-1.
We will also be implementing several new avenues for citizens to access advice and information related to COVID-19 including a Government of BC dedicated phone line for questions that are unrelated to the health status of persons who are symptomatic or unwell.
Self isolation advice
We are asking health-care workers who return form travel outside Canada and are not essential to the delivery of patient care to self isolate at home for 14 days.
Health care workers who return from travel and are essential to the delivery of patient care may return to work but should take additional precautions to reduce the risk to their patients, colleagues, and the public should they become symptomatic:
- Self-monitor daily for signs and symptoms of illness
- Wear a surgical mask at all times and in all areas of your workplace
- Follow Infection prevention and control protocols including diligent hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment when delivering patient care
- Reduce close contact with other health care workers and avoid shared spaces where possible
- Avoid close contact with others when travelling to and from work and between shifts
- Self-isolate at home on days when not required at their workplace.
Additional precautions may vary by facility, health-care setting, or workplace based on the patient population being cared for and risk assessments made by regional or local public health officials, infection prevention and control experts.
Thank you for your all that you are doing during this difficult and evolving situation. We will be providing regular updates to you and your employers, so please continue to check your email and visit the BCCDC website regularly.
Bonnie Henry, MD
Provincial Health Officer
Office of the PHO
Ministry of Health