Information to help support you as a Fraser Health staff, medical staff, volunteer and patient partner.
We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the province. All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection, and your safety is of the utmost importance to us.
Updated information from Fraser Health Infection Prevention and Control on COVID-19 is available on Fraser Health Pulse. (Note: internal link - must be signed in to the Fraser Health network to access.)
Who should I test for coronavirus?
COVID-19 testing is recommended and prioritized for the following groups with NEW ONSET respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms (includes fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, loss of sense of smell, loss of appetite, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, and myalgia):
- Residents and staff of Long Term Care Facilities
- Patients requiring or likely requiring admission to hospital, and patients needing to enter hospital for ongoing treatment (including pregnant women in their 3rd trimester and people receiving chemotherapy, radiation, or hemodialysis)
- Health care workers, including community pharmacists
- Residents of remote, isolated or Indigenous communities
- People who are homeless or have unstable housing
- People living and working in congregate settings such as shelters, work-camps, correctional facilities, group homes, assisted living facilities and seniors’ residences
- Essential services providers, including first responders (police, firefighters, paramedics)
- Returning travellers identified at a point of entry to Canada
- Individuals part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak (based on the direction from Public Health)
For symptomatic individuals that do not fall in the above listed categories, physicians and nurse practitioners can order a test for COVID-19 based on clinical judgement.
We are not testing for COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals, except for hospitalized COVID-19 patients requiring a test of clearance.
False negative results can occur early in the course of infection and in severely infected patients. This implies that a negative RNA test does not definitively rule out COVID-19 infection. Due to the possibility of a false negative result, even patients who test negative for COVID-19 should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.
If an admitted patient has a high pre-test probability of COVID-19, should we accept one negative test to stop precautions, or should it be repeated and continue droplet isolation until the test returns?
If a patient who has tested negative has a clinical presentation that is highly suspicious for COVID-19 and there is no alternative diagnosis, (for example, has fever, hypoxia, and bilateral patchy infiltrates with negative influenza and bacterial cultures), repeat their nasopharyngeal swab or send a sputum/endotracheal aspirate.
How does physical distancing apply in our clinical settings?
Population health measures such as physical distancing in the community do not apply when you are providing clinical care for your patients. This is why we use PPE in clinical settings. All of our waiting rooms and staff lounges have people sitting two metres apart and patients in our waiting rooms have masks on if symptomatic.
When would COVID-19 exposure considered to be work-related and would I be covered?
When a worker contracts COVID-19 as a direct result of their employment, they are entitled to compensation if the following conditions are met:
- A medical diagnosis in a medical report, or
- Non-medical factual evidence where other evidence establishes the existence of COVID-19
- The nature of the worker’s employment created a risk of contracting the disease significantly greater than the ordinary exposure risk of the public at large.
Claims submitted for Covid-19 contracted through a work-related exposure are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. WorkSafeBC will look at details such as whether the worker has a diagnosis of COVID-19, their symptoms and their employment activities, including actual or known exposure to a positive case in the workplace.
If you believe you contracted COVID-19 while at work, you may file a claim to determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
When do I report a case of COVID-19 to WorkSafeBC?
Report any COVID-19 exposures or breaches in PPE to the Workplace Health Call Centre as you would any exposure or incident. The number is 1-866-922-9464.
Who is eligible for the Working Short Premium, is this really meant to be Hazard pay?
No, the Patient Care Needs Assessment (“PCNA”) and the Working Short Premium were both bargained as part of the Nurses’ Collective Bargaining agreement 2019, and both were meant to come into effect on April 1st, 2020. The PCNA is a process to support joint decision making by nurses and managers regarding safe staffing levels and workload. When the PCNA determined that additional staff were required but could not be found, the working short premium was to be paid. The BCNU and the Ministry of Health made a decision to suspend the introduction of the PCNA for the month of April to allow focus on COVID response. This decision resulted in the Working Short Premium being applied to front line patient care nurses automatically for their hours worked during the month of April.
Why would I need to be redeployed, what does this mean for me?
Fraser Health must be able to respond quickly to changes in acuity and patient needs at all of our sites. Staff may be requested to work at an alternate unit/site, which may provide a different level of care than your home unit/site. Any employee that is requested to be redeployed, will receive orientation. Although you may be working in an area or nursing model that is new to you, the nursing process, professional and practice standards remain unchanged.
Single site order
Where can I learn more about the Implementation of single site staffing at facilities within the Fraser Health region?
The health and safety of our residents, their families and our staff is our number one priority. We continue to follow direction from the Provincial Health Officer and other public health officials to avoid transmission of the COVID-19 virus within facilities across Fraser Health.
Temporary suspension of paid parking for Fraser Health staff, medical staff and visitors
Does this temporary suspension of paid parking apply to all staff?
Yes, this applies to all staff and medical staff across all Fraser Health programs, services, buildings, hospitals and facilities. Please note that the temporary suspension of paid parking means staff, medical staff and visitors will not pay for parking for the time being while attending a shift at their work site or as an essential visitor to the site. All other parking restrictions are in place such us reserved spaces and spaces for accessibility.
Which parking lots does this apply to?
This temporary measure is for all staff and medical staff, regardless of where you park.
Does this apply 24/7?
Yes, this applies 24 hours a day, seven days a week for all staff, medical staff and the public.
I pay using payroll deductions, do I have to do anything for these to stop?
The parking payroll deduction will be suspended as of the March 20 to April 2 pay period which has a pay date of April 9.
I pay annually for parking, will I get a credit?
Staff and medical staff will be refunded by either cheque or electronic funds transfer, depending upon how you are set-up in the payment system. Refunds may take several weeks to process. Those who have prepaid annually for parking will be refunded only once the parking fee suspension is lifted and you will be refunded for the full amount of time that the suspension was in effect. Vendors with annual passes (eg. Sodexo and Aramark) will have their account credited by Integrated Protection Services.
I pay parking directly to a third party, will I get this benefit?
If a staff or medical staff member has purchased parking on their own from a 3rd party vendor, they will need to put in an expense claim and have it refunded via the normal processes.
Leaves and vacations
What is COVID-19 leave? Who is eligible?
We follow the direction HEABC has provided employers regarding COVID-19 (C19) leave. As an overall summary:
Employees qualify for C-19 Leave where the employee:
Is diagnosed with COVID-19 and is acting in accordance with the instructions or order of a medical health officer, medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, or registered nurse;
Is in self-isolation or quarantine;
Needs to stay home to care for a child under 19 years old, a dependent adult who is unable to withdraw from the charge of the employee and is under the day-to-day care of the employee, or prescribed person (including because of the closure of a school, daycare, or similar facility);
Is directed to stay home due to concerns about exposure; or
Is outside of BC and cannot return home due to travel or border restrictions.
If unable to attend work due to care of your children, you may access paid leave banks such as vacation and banked overtime. In these circumstances, the time is not a paid general leave or sick leave. If you do not have vacation or banked overtime and cannot attend work, you will be on an unpaid leave of absence.
Asymptomatic health care workers who are required to remain at home to care for sick family members may use vacation and banked overtime. You do not qualify for a general paid leave or sick leave. If you do not have banks and cannot attend work, you will be on an unpaid leave of absence.
Note that a C-19 leave is in the same category as maternity or parental leaves, therefore, benefits and accruals continue. Under the C-19 leave, employer-paid benefits, seniority and service for the purpose of increment progression, severance and annual vacation entitlement continue. A note, employees under the Community Bargaining Association collective agreement stop accruing vacation pay but will accrue vacation time.
The C-19 leave continues for as long as the circumstances giving rise to the leave continue to apply. However, once cleared to return to work following recovery, the end of a self-isolation period, or the reopening of schools, the circumstances which supported the C-19 Leave end, and the employee would return to work. If an employee is already on a paid leave, for example sick or general paid leave, the employee remains on the appropriate paid leave for as long as he or she meets those criteria.
Will I be eligible for benefits while on COVID-19 leave?
Yes. All employees on a COVID-19 leave continue to receive benefit entitlements under their respective collective agreements.
How long can I stay on COVID-19 leave?
You are entitled to stay on COVID-19 leave for as long as the circumstances giving rise to the leave continue to apply. However, once you are cleared to return to work following recovery, the end of a self-isolation period, or the reopening of schools, Fraser Health can require you to return to work.
If you are already on a paid leave (for example, sick or general paid leave), you should remain on the appropriate paid leave for as long as you meet those criteria. If you have any questions, please connect with your HR Client Partner.
I can’t go anywhere for vacation this year, can I get paid out instead of taking vacation?
No, Fraser Health recognizes that your vacation this year may look a little different but time away from work is important for all of us to rest and recharge.
Can I bank vacation time or carry over my vacation time this year and add it to my 2021 entitlement?
Please refer to your collective agreement to determine whether carry over is allowed and how much is permitted to be carried over, if any.
Can I cancel vacation scheduled to take place after May 11?
Cancellation of vacation is not permitted unless there is mutual agreement between yourself and the manager based on operational considerations. Please follow normal processes for any changes/cancellations as per your collective agreement.
I was suppose to take vacation before May 11 but it was cancelled, do I lose those hours?
No you don’t, please reschedule those hours with your manager by May 22.
I haven’t scheduled all my vacation yet, when do I have to submit my request?
Now is the time to submit all outstanding vacation balances including any vacation that was cancelled before May 11. Please submit requests directly to your manager:
- If your vacation was cancelled prior to May 11 – submit a request to reschedule those hours by May 22
- For NBA, FBA, and HSPBA employees - 100% of vacation is to be booked by August 1. Any vacation that not scheduled as per the dates above will be scheduled in August.
- For CBA employees – Any vacation that exceeds the permitted five (5) days carryover is to be booked by October 1. Any vacation that not scheduled as per the dates above will be scheduled in October.
I had a Leave of Absence scheduled that was cancelled, can I reschedule that now?
Please feel free to reschedule with your manager as per your collective agreement.
I have more questions, who can I talk to?
Please speak directly with your manager.
I’m pregnant and concerned about COVID-19. Can you make some accommodations for me?
Pregnancy does not increase the risk of getting COVID-19 or the risk of more severe disease. If you are pregnant and are Fraser Health staff or medical staff, you can continue to work if you are asymptomatic and not deemed a COVID-19 contact by Public Health. You should use the same PPE precautions as advised for all other Fraser Health staff and medical staff (please see the related Q & A).
If you are in your third trimester of pregnancy, we encourage you to speak with your manager to identify whether any modifications are necessary within your workplace. If the workplace cannot be modified then we will accommodate you in a more appropriate work setting. If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in the third trimester, you will be tested and then managed according to the severity of your illness.
Please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control for more information about Pregnancy and COVID-19.
What is the direction for staff working who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed?
Your safety and wellness is a priority for us. We encourage you to speak with your supervisor to identify whether any modifications can be made within your workplace. If the workplace cannot be modified then we will accommodate you in a more appropriate work setting.
Virtual care and working from home
What virtual care tools are available?
We are working to make virtual care tools widely available for staff and medical staff using Zoom, FaceTime and WhatsApp. This will allow for surveillance and monitoring capability, provider-to-provider consultation and patient care. This will free-up space at acute and community sites, reduce the movement of people between locations and optimize our clinical expertise, while still ensuring that we continue to provide patient-centred care.
Zoom is for clinical purposes only, please do not request Zoom if your requirement is not for direct patient care. For business or administrative purposes, please continue to use Skype. To save network resources, please use your mobile device or home network (if working from home).
Please see the guidelines for video visits in the COVID-19 section of Pulse (Please note: this is an internal link; you must be signed into the Fraser Health network to access).
What are the best security practices for using Zoom?
In response to COVID-19 Fraser Heath launched Zoom services to enable virtual visits for patient care. We have worked with health authority security teams provincially to enhance security and patient privacy for Zoom.
To specifically address the risk of Zoom-bombing (where uninvited attendees join and disrupt your meeting), we will be enforcing two new security measures starting tomorrow.
This will change a few aspects of how you host meetings and how participants join meetings. We have updated documentation on Pulse with the additional steps (note: internal link - must be signed in to the Fraser Health network to access).
We have also developed best practices for how you can best use zoom while protecting patient privacy.
Use the Automatically Generated Meeting ID
Do not use the Personal Meeting ID. When you schedule a Zoom meeting, look for the Meeting ID Options. Select Generate Automatically.
Use Individual Meetings for Patients
Don’t use a day-long meeting for multiple patients (All-Day-Clinic-Style). There’s potential for the wrong people to be in the Waiting Room.
Use the Waiting Room for Screening
You can choose who and when to let people into the meeting.
Confirm Patient Identity
Make sure you have the correct patient before disclosing any information.
Remove Someone or Put Them on Hold
During the call, go to the participants pane on the right. Hover over the name of the person you want to remove and when options appear, choose Remove.
Lock a Meeting Once It Starts
While the meeting is running, click Manage Participants. At the bottom of the Participant Panel select More then Lock Meeting.
Do Not Click on Links You Do Not Trust
Similar to email, do not click on links that are not credible.
Use the Most Up-To-Date Version of Zoom
If you are using a personal device, check for updates.
Settings protecting patients:
Passwords are turned on
This provides another layer of security, to discourage Zoom-Bombers.
Waiting Rooms are turned on
This allows you to screen who is let into the meeting. The host lets them in.
Recordings are disabled
Zoom recordings have been disabled to protect patient privacy.
You can also download and print the Zoom Security Best Practices infographic.
What is Fraser Health doing to support working from home?
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our workplace, we have expanded our capacity to support you to work from home where possible. Consideration for working remotely is based on job roles and responsibilities, availability of required equipment and the IT system’s overall capacity to support remote access. Please speak to your supervisor to discuss this option.
What do I need to know about Cybersecurity?
Cyber criminals are registering and using COVID-19 related website names to steal usernames and passwords, commit fraud, and launch malware related attacks.
Our cybersecurity team has listed some simple steps to working securely – bearing in mind that you are the best defense against cybercrime.
You can stay vigilant by:
Avoiding clicking on attachments or links embedded in email messages (for example with subject lines purporting to contain information related to COVID-19 or Coronavirus from untrusted or unknown sources)
Recognizing spam messages purporting to be from official sources or your manager and using subject line themes associated with COVID-19 or Coronavirus
Be aware of targeted attacks that may convincingly appear as if from a colleague – if the request is unusual and unexpected, verify using another form of communication
Verifying any unrecognized senders using alternate communication methods but not using the contact information provided in a message.
When at home, don’t power down or disconnect your computer at the end of each week day so that necessary updates can occur overnight.
Please don’t allow family and friends to use your work devices.
If you find a phishing email please report it – by forwarding the email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email will be analysed, any outgoing access blocked as required and the email scrubbed out of the email system.
Report Security Incidents:
If you notice any unexpected actions on your computer, we are here to help. Please report it to the Service Desk as a potential security incident and wait for instructions from the Service Desk.
Service Desk: 604-585-5544
Caring for my family members
What support is available for staff with children?
Many of you have raised concerns about the availability of child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Child care is necessary to ensure essential service workers are able to support community efforts to battle the pandemic. The government is putting measures in place to ensure that appropriate, safe care is available for children who need it.
Essential workers can fill out a form to identify their need for urgent child care for children aged zero to five years. You can access the forms online or by calling 1-888-338-6622 and selecting option 4.
For child care support for children ages five to 12, please contact your local school, school board or Child Care Resource and Referral Society. Child Care Resource and Referral Society support parents and caregivers by providing referrals to child care centres with available spaces in your geographic area. We understand that there are currently spaces available in child care centres across the region. For more information, please visit Child Care Resource and Referral Society.
Where can I find childcare?
Child Care Resource and Referral Centres in the Fraser Region
Delta/ Surrey/ White Rock CCRR
Maple Ridge/ Pitt Meadows CCRR
For more information or contacts for other locations, please visit Child Care Resource Referral Centres.
Use the Child Care Map to search licensed providers in your community. For more information, please visit Childcare BC.
Fraser Health Community Care Facilities Licensing
Community Care Facilities Licensing inspects licensed child care facilities to make sure they comply with regulatory requirements. Routine inspections and complaint summaries are posted on the Fraser Health website to assist families in making informed child care choices. For more information, please visit fraserhealth.ca/childcare.
Volunteer Options (for nursing staff)
Nursing student volunteers are organizing students to support nursing staff during the COVID-19 response. Student volunteers are able to provide short term child care up to a maximum of 15 hours. Due to a very limited supply of volunteers, this option is to be used only when no other resources are available. More information will be made available.
What support is available for staff who need to care for a senior or dependent adult?
Any employee who needs to stay home to care for a child, dependent adult or prescribed person (including because of the closure of a school, daycare, or similar facility) is eligible for COVID-19 leave. Please discuss with your supervisor. See more details about COVID-19 leave in section below.
I can’t work because I have to care for my children, other dependents or sick family members. What are my options?
Please first try to access the child care resources available as noted in the response to the question ‘What support is available for staff with children’ above.
An employee who is unable to attend work because they are required to care for their children may access paid leave banks such as vacation and banked overtime. In these circumstances, employees do not qualify for a paid general leave or sick leave. If they do not have a vacation or banked overtime and cannot attend work, they must be placed on an unpaid leave of absence. Asymptomatic health care workers who are required to remain at home to care for sick family members may use vacation and banked overtime. They do not qualify for a general paid leave or sick leave. If they do not have banks and cannot attend work, they must be placed on an unpaid leave of absence.
What resources are available through Fraser Health to support staff and clinician wellness?
Is there emotional support available for Fraser Health staff and medical staff?
Immediate emotional support is available (both in-person and virtually) from our Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM) for employees and medical staff who are experiencing significant workplace stress and anxiety. Please call 1-844-880-9142 (press 1, then 3) – If that line is busy, please call 236-332-1212. We also have client partners working with leaders at all sites to identify teams needing emotional first aid support. Please let your leader know if you or your team needs emotional support.
Are food services outlets still available in hospitals for staff?
On March 20, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer ordered all eating establishments across the province to stop providing dine-in services. In order to comply, all hospital/direct care retail outlets with dedicated seating of more than 10 seats are closed to the public and available for staff only.
We appreciate that employees and physicians need respite. For as long as we are able under public health orders, we will maintain some measure of retail food operations and seating for staff and medical staff during their shifts.
Can I continue to do research in Fraser Health?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective March 31, 2020, Fraser Health has SUSPENDED all non-essential research procedures until further notice.
For more information about the Department of Evaluation and Research Services operations, answers to your research questions, and who you can contact for more information, please refer to FAQs for the Fraser Health Research Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Planning and communications
Can we have site specific updates from leadership so we are aware of events at our own facilities, as well as steps being taken to prepare?
The Regional Emergency Operations Centre provides daily updates on COVID-19 along with our regional case numbers. These are also available on Pulse (must be logged in to the Fraser Health network to view).
All sites are engaged and proactively working to respond to COVID-19. If you have questions about our response to COVID-19 please speak to your supervisor, ask a question on the Slido 24/7 questions page (at www.slido.com, enter the code #fraserhealth) or join the weekly staff and medical staff virtual meeting.
Were there pandemic plans place at each site within Fraser Health to respond to a pandemic back in January as soon as we knew about the situation in China?
All of our sites have pandemic plans, which were being reviewed and revised as the situation around the world developed.
We are getting many offers of donations. What do we do with them?
It is wonderful that many individuals and organizations want to donate to our health care system. Our Fraser Health Foundations are helping to coordinate offers of donations of personal protective equipment and other items. Depending on what the offer is there are different connection points. Please continue to read below for more details.
I’d like to donate PPE. What is needed?
Our Foundations are helping coordinate the community response of wanting to donate the following items. This list will be updated as needs evolve.
N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs). N99, N100, R9, P95, P99, and P100 FFRs are also appreciated.
Elastomeric Respirators and P100 Filters.
Procedure masks. ASTM F2100 Level 1, 2 or 3.
Face shields, disposable or reusable.
Safety glasses or safety goggles.
Protective gowns. ANSI/AAMI Level 2, 3, or 4.
Fluid-resistant Coveralls. ASTM F1670 and/or ASTM F1671.
Hand sanitizer (60% alcohol or higher).
Medical-grade disinfection wipes.
Where do I send enquiries about PPE donations?
The Provincial Health Services Authority has endorsed SafeCare BC to collect local PPE donations. Donations will be stored centrally, and from there will be distributed to hospitals, long-term care, home care, community health support, and assisted living facilities according to need.
For inquiries about local donations of PPE, please take down contact information and details, and forward those to SafeCare BC.
What do we do with donations of PPE that are dropped off onsite?
For PPE donations received onsite, please work with your Executive Director to store them in a secure, locked location to ensure they are not put into use before they are assessed by PHSA.
As quantities dictate, ship these donations to Fraser Health Support Services at:
Lower Mainland Fulfilment Centres
Attn: PPE DONATIONS
8521 198A ST
Langley City, BC V2Y 0A1
Loading Bay #1
What do we do with donations of PPE from outside the country?
For any offers of donations coming from outside of the country, please share the contact information and details, including certifications, with Provincial Health Services Authority at email@example.com.
PHSA will provide instructions for shipping and customs clearance.
As PHSA is dealing with a large volume of inquiries, response time may be 48 hours or longer. For expedited inquires regarding shipments of over 50,000 units, please contact:
Manager, Corporate Services
Provincial Health Services Authority
How do we respond to inquiries from vendors and manufacturers of clinical equipment such as ventilators?
Offers and inquiries from vendors and manufacturers must be vetted by the Provincial Health Services Authority. Please take down their contact information, and email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of what they would like to donate. PHSA will vet and let you know how to respond to the inquiry. Please note, as PHSA is dealing with a large volume of inquiries, response time may be 48 hours or longer.
What do we do with donations of non-medical items and services?
For offers of non-medical items or services from businesses or the general public like food, hotel stays, comfort items, etc. please work directly with your site’s executive director.
Fraser Health staff members are receiving a high number of donation of offers of general goods. Ash Hunkin will act as the central contact for these inquiries and will vet and distribute to our foundations as appropriate. Please send these to Ash at email@example.com. Ash is a Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation employee and has committed to prioritize getting these donation offers to the correct foundation.
How long does it take to get a response about a PPE donation?
PHSA may take 48 hours or longer to respond due to volume. You have a direct contact if needed for donations of significant amount of supplies (generally of 50,000 units).
Can staff pay for or donate to PPE for their area?
No. As the government has funds to purchase PPE, and donations of PPE or funds to purchase PPE cannot be designated to a specific area or site, staff cannot pay for PPE for their area.
Do we need help with shipping or transportation of goods?
The government has made expedited arrangements to move goods at this time. Provincial Health Services Authority will advise on shipping details and they should be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can people make items needed for the response?
Why do we need donations of PPE?
Currently, BC is not experiences any shortages of PPE; however, we are preparing to meet future needs and ensuring that our staff and medical staff continue to have the supplies they need.