COVID-19

CURRENT OUTBREAKS: Click here for information. 

If you think you have symptoms, use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool

The Province has created 1-888-COVID19 for non-medical information about COVID-19, including travel recommendations, social distancing, and resources from the provincial and federal governments. 

1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 604-630-0300 is available seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST in 110 languages

The 811 number is also in place for medical-related COVID-19 questions.

 

MASK REQUIREMENTS

An updated policy for mask use in health care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic was issued on August 31. What key changes came with the mask policy?

Health care workers (clinical and non-clinical staff):

Regardless of immunization status, all persons working in long-term care, acute care hospitals, stand-alone extended care hospitals designated under the Hospital Act, seniors’ assisted living settings and provincial mental health facilities must wear a medical mask at all times, including in common areas and break rooms unless eating and/or drinking.

Visitors, regardless of immunization status, must wear a medical mask according to the overview of visitors in long-term care and seniors’ assisted living.

What health care settings are affected by this policy?

  • Long-term care
  • Acute care hospitals
  • Stand-alone extended care hospitals designated under the Hospital Act
  • Seniors’ assisted living settings
  • Provincial mental health facilities

Where else should medical masks be worn?

The pre-existing medical mask orders still stay in place for all the health care facilities and settings where health care is provided.

Who else should wear masks?

Visitors: 

  • All visitors must wear a medical mask when entering and moving around any health care facility, including clinical and non-clinical areas.
  • All persons accompanying a patient in admitting/waiting areas, including emergency departments, must wear a medical mask. 

Patients: acute care 

  • All patients must wear a medical mask when entering and moving around a health care facility, including patient transport, except when requested to remove their mask by a health care professional. 
  • Admitted patients must wear a medical mask when they leave their room.
  • Admitted patients will generally not be required to wear a medical mask in their rooms, with exceptions based on a health care professional’s point of care risk assessment.

Who is exempt from the mask policy?

  • People under 12 years old
  • People unable to wear a mask because of a health condition or physical or mental impairment. 
  • People unable to put on or remove a mask without help from another person. 
  • To accommodate site-specific circumstances (e.g., staff/visitor/patient masking may not be required when eating/drinking at retail food establishments or cafeterias).

Please click here for more information on the masking policy.


VISITATION CHANGES 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Providence Health Care is working closely with the Ministry of Health and BC’s other health authorities to protect the health of all British Columbians, particularly the most vulnerable, in our Long Term Care and Acute Care settings.

For Acute Care:

September 1, 2021 - The acute visitor policy has been updated as follows:

  • Essential and social visitors are now referred to generally as visitors.
  • Visitors are not required to maintain physical distance; however, they should respect personal space between people.
  • Up to two visitors may visit a patient at a time.
  • Patients and visitors are encouraged to work in partnership with care providers to determine how best to coordinate visits (e.g., it may be best to avoid visits during shift change or patient rounds). Patients can refuse to provide consent for a visit and this will be respected.

Exceptions are:

  • For compassionate care visits (including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end-of-life and medical assistance in dying), the limit of two visitors may be removed in consultation with the clinical care team.
  • For pediatric care, labour and delivery visits, siblings may accompany parents or legal guardians of a newborn/infant/child.
  • Similar to the previous policy on essential visits, visitors shall be limited to one visitor per patient within the facility at a time in the emergency department and intensive care unit, except when death is anticipated as imminent. Please refer to the policy for more details.

For Visitors in Long Term Care and Assisted Living

Visitation restrictions aim to protect vulnerable seniors and elders who are residing in long-term care and seniors’ assisted living settings from COVID-19 while lessening the negative impacts associated with being apart from family and friends.

Health authorities and facility operators shall continue to support visitors for essential visits and allow social visits within established criteria, supported by a detailed plan and process as outlined below. The Ministry of Health acknowledges the need to support operators to ensure safe visitation with adequate staffing.

Essential and Social Visits

An essential visit includes:

  • Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life and medical assistance in dying.
  • Visits paramount to the resident’s physical care and mental well-being (e.g., assistance with feeding, mobility, personal care or communication, assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities)
  • Visits for supported decision-making
  • Existing registered volunteers providing the services
  • Visits required to move belongings in/out of a resident’s room
  • Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a resident for security reasons

Essential visits shall be limited to one visitor per resident within the facility at a time (except in the case of palliative/end-of-life care). An essential visit is not a social visit and essential visits are permitted in a care home/residence that has an active COVID-19 outbreak, under guidance and direction from the local medical health officer.

A social visit includes:

  • Someone not routinely involved in the resident’s health-care or support needs.
  • Someone whose time with the resident is discretionary and usually temporary.
  • Visiting for purposes that are more social in nature.

As part of the ongoing efforts to keep residents safe, operators will complete an initial and then monthly review of their current practices to ensure for themselves, residents and families that there is full compliance against the current practice requirements. Any gaps identified should be addressed.

Social visits are separate from essential visitation and resident outings. Operators will continue to support resident outings in alignment with public health guidance regarding indoor and outdoor gatherings for the public.

 

If you have specific questions related to social visiting with your loved one, please connect with the designated care home contact directly.

Visiting Appeal Process:

In line with the MoH and the Public Health order, we want to make you aware of the appeal and review process for both essential and social visits in LTC. Should you have a concern regarding a decision relating to visitor status, we encourage you:

  • To speak with a clinical care team member or clinical care team leadership at the time of concern. If you are not satisfied with the response, our Resident Care Manager will be involved, providing you a written decision including the rationale.
  • In the event you are not satisfied with the decision by the care home, you are encouraged to contact Patient Care quality Office (PCQO) at 604-806-8284 or email them at jsilver@providencehealth.bc.ca for re-consideration.
  • In the event you are not satisfied with the response on behalf of PHC, the issue may be escalated to the Provincial Health Officer via PCQO or independently by mail to:Hlth.visitorappeal@gov.bc.ca.

For the updated guidance for long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities, visit BC Centre for Disease Control’s website.

Residents of our long-term care facilities and their families can find more information here.

Please note: Visits are not allowed to units if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak - except for compassionate (end-of-life) visits.

All Providence Health Care sites have controlled access protocols in place and all visitors can expect to be asked the reason for their visits and may not gain access to the site, based on the above criteria.

Please see attached document on restrictions and requirements for bringing a care package for a patient.


GETTING TESTED

If you develop cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need further assessment for COVID-19 testing by a physician, nurse practitioner or at a local collection centre. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to. 

Please visit an emergency department if you are experiencing health conditions that require urgent and emergency care.

For COVID-19 testing locations, as well as additional information and helpful links, please click here.


GETTING VACCINATED

Proof of vaccination will be required to access some events, services and businesses. Beginning September 13, you must have at least one dose. By October 24, you must be fully vaccinated.

For more information or to register with the Get Vaccinated system, click here.


ELECTIVE SURGERIES AND CLINIC APPOINTMENTS

Providence Health Care is implementing new measures to help keep patients, clients, staff and medical staff safe as scheduled elective surgeries resume in the coming weeks.   

As part of our restart plans, access to expanded health care services such as surgical, ambulatory and community services, diagnostic imaging and lab testing will resume in a safe manner with protective measures in place. Click here for more information.


PAY PARKING SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Pay parking for patients, staff, and visitors at all health authority owned and operated sites, including those of Providence Health Care, is suspended effective April 1 until further notice.

  • The City of Vancouver is also providing street parking in neighbourhoods near all Vancouver hospitals, including all Providence sites. 
  • St. Paul’s has reserved 46 spaces dedicated for patients and the public - these spots are located along the inside wall, spots 286–299 and 462–495.


ONLINE MEMORIAL

Providence’s spiritual health practitioners have created an online memorial service intended for anyone who is grieving loss, especially now in a time when social distancing is in place.

Those who are interested can view the on-line memorial at any time or location they wish via this link: https://youtu.be/9hO1xdTeg5g. They can view alone, or if possible, with their household. Friends and family could arrange to view at the same time from far flung places, as a way to gather together for a shared experience.


DONATIONS

All offers of goods and services with respect to the COVID19 response can be emailed to SPFoundation@providencehealth.bc.ca. For monetary donations to the COVID-19 response fund, please visit the St. Paul’s Foundation website. A heartfelt thank you to the many community members and businesses generously offering assistance.
 

About COVID-19

VCH/PHC Resources

B.C. Resources

Canadian Resources

Global Resources

 

After-hours media line: (604) 312-3547

This page last updated September 9, 2021