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.

Should I get tested?

Any British Columbian who is exhibiting cold, influenza or COVID-like symptoms is now able be assessed for and get a COVID-19 test from a physician, nurse practitioner or local community collection centre.

Individuals with respiratory or other COVID-like symptoms no longer have to be referred for testing by a health-care provider or by calling 811.

While testing is now available for those who need it, not everyone needs a test. If an individual has no symptoms, even if they are a contact of a confirmed case or a returning traveller, they do not require a test.

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.

NEW: Mask Requirements

As of November 6, 2020 the Ministry of Health has a new policy requiring medical-grade masks to be worn in all PHC facilities and settings where health care is provided. You will be provided with a mask when you visit. Please review the below for more information.

Acute (Hospital) Care

  • All visitors must wear a medical-grade mask when entering and moving around our health care facilities, including clinical and non-clinical spaces (such as hallways or common areas). This includes individuals accompanying a patient in admitting/waiting areas, and the Emergency Department.

  • What to expect when you visit:
    • When screened at the front door to our facility and asked to perform hand hygiene.
    • If you are wearing a non-medical mask, you will be asked to clean your hands, remove the non-medical mask, and put on the PHC-approved medical mask. You will be instructed on how to properly put on and take off the medical mask. You are asked not to touch/manipulate the medical mask. If absolutely necessary, please perform hand hygiene before and after.
    • Visitors will be provided one medical-grade mask for the duration of their visit unless the mask is damaged or visibly soiled (the soiled/damaged mask must be replaced with a new medical mask).
  • If you do not wear a mask, you will be asked to leave.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do I have to wear a mask to visit my loved one?

Yes, you must wear a mask to visit. If you do not wear a mask you will be asked to leave.

Your visit is important, but we need to respect the health and safety of all people who need to be here.

What if I can’t wear a mask? 

If you are a patient with a medical condition that prevents you from safely wearing a mask, tell the entrance screening staff. Your care team will be notified and will accompany you to your destination. Visitors coming into the health care facility must wear a mask at all times.

Exceptions for visitors with medical conditions will be considered for end-of-life situations. 

Where can I get a mask? 
Entrance screening staff at all PHC sites will provide you with a mask after asking you to clean your hands with an alcohol-based solution. Clean your hands again after putting on your mask and when you touch the mask while in the building. 
May I bring my own mask from home?

Yes. You may bring your own mask and wear it while at a PHC site if it is medical grade and fits well. You may be asked to wear a PHC supplied one if it is not appropriate. For example, masks with exhalation valves and cloth masks are not permitted in the hospital.

In long-term care you must wear the equipment and masks provided.

How do I safely wear my mask?
Masks must cover nose, mouth and chin at all times. If you wear a medical grade disposable mask, it must be new and clean and it cannot be torn, have holes or vents. If it is a reusable medical grade mask it must be freshly washed. The mask should feel comfortable and fit snuggly against your face. You must always clean your hands before putting on a mask, when you touch your mask and after you take off your mask. 
The patient I am visiting is in isolation precautions, what should I do?
If you are visiting a patient who is in isolation precautions, you must first speak with the patient’s care team. The care team will provide information on how to safely visit your loved one. You may need to wear added personal protective equipment. 



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 Long Term Care (LTC):

The Ministry of Health, working with the provincial health officer, has developed updated guidelines to support visits between family members and residents of long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted living facilities.

Essential Visitors:

At this time, there are no changes to the guidance of essential visitors.

Social Visitors:

Effective April 1, 2021, Providence Health Care (PHC) will align social visiting practices with the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

This new set of recommendations and guidance outlines the updates regarding COVID-19 visiting practices, primarily related to social visiting. The detailed guidance will be available April 1st to the general public on the BC CDC LTC COVID-19 website (Click Here). In the interim, please find below the key highlights:

  • For indoor visits, social visits are expanded to now include any individual; however, to a maximum of two adults and one child if indoors. Outdoor visits will follow the existing guidelines from the PHO.
  • There are no longer restrictions on location, frequency or duration of visits; however, visits will need to be pre-booked, occur in a pre-determined location enabling physical distancing guidelines. The visit length will allow for a minimum of 60 minutes if desired by the visitor and/or resident. Limitations may be enforced to meet WorkSafe BC safety plans.
  • Visits can occur in a resident room, both single and multi-person, provided physical distancing and existing infection prevention and control guidelines can be adhered.
  • Physical touch between the visitor and resident is now allowed. Please note, you must still wear a medical-grade mask and uphold diligent hand hygiene.
  • Residents will be supported to leave the facility for appropriate outings and family visits (not just essential outings). Residents will not be required to isolate when they return from an outing.
  • The use of PPE items should be limited to interaction with residents and their immediate environment when clinically indicated (e.g. if on precautions during an outbreak).
    • Visitors are neither required to change into scrubs or alternative clothes on-site nor required to change out of clothes prior to leaving the facility.
    • No visitors will be required to wear a gown or gloves from the entrance.
    • No individuals should be required to wipe their shoes or don shoe covers in order to enter the facility.
  • During a visit, care team members will be available to address resident needs or should the visitor need support, but they will not monitor the visit.
  • Residents can now attend small group social and recreational activities for residents with a facility unit or floor without having to maintain physical distance. They can also go back to eating at the same time and sitting at tables with other residents.

For more information, please review the Ministry’s FAQ that highlights the main changes. Please click here for the FAQ.

PHC care home leaders highly value the need for social connectedness and have been working tirelessly to maximize social visiting in their respective care homes, balancing the operational and pandemic requirements. With the new guidance set out by the Ministry, our site leaders will continue to honour the principles and update practices to be in compliance. We request your patience as we navigate challenges and appreciate your understanding if a care home is limited in its ability to operationalize some of the guidelines (i.e. ability to support shared room visits if physical distancing cannot be maintained).

Over the coming weeks, site leaders will also be working on adjusting practices related to share dining and social and recreational activities.

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 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

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.

Vaccinations for LTC visitors – as of April 1, 2021

Will Social Visitors to LTC homes be Immunized for Covid-19?

  • Prior to April 1st designated visitors were able to receive their first dose with proof of status via letter from the LTC home.
  • With the new visitation policy effective April 1st and the removal of designated visitor status, social visitors to PHC LTC homes will be eligible for their vaccination as part Public Health’s age based roll out in the coming weeks and months.
  • At this time the focus is on immunizing residents, staff and essential visitors, which we know adds a layer of protection for those in the facility, especially residents who cannot be immunized for medical reasons.
  • To further protect residents, staff and visitors, strict infection prevention and control precautions remain in place in LTC and seniors’ AL facilities. Social visitors are required to book their visits in advance, be screened before entry, wear a medical mask, practice hand hygiene, cough/sneeze into their elbows and maintain their physical distance from other visitors and staff.
  • The Province is in phase 2 of BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan, which means that more members of the community, especially high-risk populations, have received at least one dose of the vaccine or will soon.

Reed the full bulletin here

For Acute Care:

Essential visits are limited to one visitor per patient/client within the hospital or clinic. Visitors who require assistance may also be accompanied by an additional family member. 

All visitors must wear a medical-grade mask at all times when visiting our sites. If you do not have a medical mask, one will be provided to you at the front door. If you do not wear a mask you will be asked to leave. Please review the above for more information regarding mask requirements.

Essential visits include, but are not limited to:

  • Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life;
  • Visits paramount to the patient/client’s physical care and mental well-being, including:
    • Assistance with feeding;
    • Assistance with mobility;
    • Assistance with personal care;
    • Communication assistance for persons with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments;
    • Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities, including provision of emotional support;
    • Visits for supported decision making; and
    • Visits for pediatric care, labour and delivery.
  • Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above.
  • Visits required to move belongings in or out of a client’s room.
  • Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a patient/client for security reasons.

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.


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 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.


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: 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.


All offers of goods and services with respect to the COVID19 response can be emailed to 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.

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

This page last updated July 20, 2020 2:11pm PDT