Coronavirus

Information for Fraser Health-area residents about COVID-19.

At Fraser Health, the health of our residents is our top priority. 

At this time, the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. Fraser Health Population and Public Health is working closely with the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Public Health Agency of Canada to monitor the national and provincial COVID-19 situation.

The province has created a phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and physical distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages, 7:30 am - 8 pm at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 1-888-268-4319.

The BC Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control have created a BC COVID-19 symptom self-assessment tool to allow you to determine whether further assessment or testing is needed.

General information

  • I want more information about COVID-19. Who can I call?

    For general information about COVID-19 call 1-888 -COVID-19 or text 604-630-0300. Information is available in more than 110 languages.

    If you think you have COVID-19, try the new symptom checker first. 

    If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or need assistance with other health issues, call 8-1-1. 

  • What is coronavirus/COVID-19?

    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found mostly in animals. In humans, they can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The disease caused by this new coronavirus has been named COVID-19. While many of the characteristics of COVID-19 are still unknown, mild to severe illness has been reported for confirmed cases.

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • Can you get sick from people who don't have symptoms?

    There is still a lot we don't know about COVID-19 and there are studies underway to better understand it. 

    There have been instances of transmission before the person became sick or the symptoms were so mild that the person did not know they were sick. However, those are exceptions as most people become ill from being in close contact with someone who is showing symptoms. This is why B.C. health officials are focused on asking people who are ill and showing symptoms to self-isolate, which would decrease the spread to others.

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • How is novel coronavirus treated?

    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.

  • I would like to donate medical supplies such as masks, face shields/goggles, hand sanitizer, and gloves. Where can I get more information?

    It is wonderful that many individuals and organizations want to donate to our health care system. Currently, BC is not experiencing any shortages of medical supplies; however, we are preparing to meet future needs and ensure that our staff and medical staff continue to have the supplies they need.

    If you are an individual or organization, the Provincial Health Services Authority has endorsed SafeCare BC to collect donations of medical supplies. 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. 

    Please visit SafeCare BC for a list of supplies that are currently needed. They are only accepting unopened and unused items. 

    If you are a business that can supply products and services, please visit the Government of BC Supply Hub for a list of priority products and to submit an offer. 

  • I am a vendor or manufacturer of clinical equipment such as ventilators. Where can I get more information? 

    If you are a vendor or manufacturer of clinical equipment such as ventilators, you can contact the Provincial Health Services Authority by filling out this form (Please note: the form may not display properly in some browsers. Best viewed using Google Chrome.) with details of what you would like to donate.

    Please note, as PHSA is dealing with a large volume of inquiries, response time may be 48 hours or longer.

Prevention

  • What is physical distancing?

    Physical distancing is a way that we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting close contact with others. Even when we are not sick, we should still keep two metres (six feet) from one another when we are outside our homes. Two metres is the approximate length of a queen-sized bed.

    There are many ways to practice physical distancing: 

    Limit activities outside your home

    • Use virtual options to connect with others
    • If you are out in public, try to keep 2 metres between yourself and others.
    • Keep your hands at your sides when possible
    • Stay home when you are sick
    • Cough into your elbow or sleeve
    • Avoid social activities in large gatherings

    Many recreational facilities and the programs they offer have now been closed in BC.

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • What is self-isolation?

    Self-isolating means separating yourself from others, including staying at home, to avoid situations where you could infect other people. The goal of self-isolation is to lower the chance of spreading the virus. 

    We are currently asking the following groups to self-isolate: (1) anyone with new onset fever, cough, sore throat, or sneezing, (2) people diagnosed with COVID-19, (3) returning travellers, and (4) close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

    If you are a returning traveller or a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, even if you are asymptomatic, we are asking you to self-isolate for 14 days. This is because 14 days is the time it can take for the novel coronavirus to go from initially infecting you to making you feel sick. This is called the incubation period. There is a chance that you can spread germs in the incubation period, and so people who are asymptomatic but are at higher risk of having been exposed to the illness are asked to self-isolate in addition to those who are showing symptoms.

    Please complete this online assessment to determine whether you should self-isolate.

    If you are advised to self-isolate, please refer to the question below on “How do I self-isolate”. 

  • How do I self-isolate?

    • Stay home the whole time you self-isolate. Try to arrange for food and essential items to be delivered and dropped off at your door when you need them.

    • Avoid face to face contact with others, including those who live in your home.

    • Do not go to work, school, or public areas

    • If you must leave the home, such as for an urgent medical assessment, do not use public transport, taxis, or ride shares. Call the medical centre in advance of going.

    • Do not have non-essential visitors to your home.

    • If possible, have other people who live in your home stay somewhere else, especially if they have a chronic health condition or are older.

    • If you need to share a home, stay and sleep in a separate room with good airflow that is away from others. Use a separate bathroom if possible, and keep at least 2 metres distance away from others.

    • Wear a face mask if you are in the same room as someone else or when you must leave the house to see a healthcare provider.

    • Practice frequent hand hygiene and cough or sneeze into your elbow or tissue

    • During the period of self-isolation, self-monitor daily for fever, cough or worsening symptoms. Check your temperature daily (if possible). The BC self-assessment tool will help you assess your symptoms.

    • If you are having worsening symptoms, call 8-1-1 or your family doctor

    • If your symptoms are not improving at 5 or more days after you initially started feeling unwell, call 811 or your family doctor

    • If at any time you are feeling very unwell and are worried this might be an emergency (e.g., severe difficulty breathing or chest pain), call 911. 

    Plan ahead and prepare for what you will do if you or a family member becomes sick and needs care. You can ask friends or relatives if you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication. Alternatively, you can order groceries and medication by phone or online.

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • I am feeling ill with cough and flu-like symptoms. What should I do?

    If you feel unwell, it may be the case that you have a common cold or flu, rather than COVID-19. Regardless, if you have cough and flu-like symptoms, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days starting from when your symptoms began.

    While self-isolating, monitor yourself daily for fever, cough and worsening symptoms and check your temperature each day (if possible). The BC self-assessment tool will help you assess your symptoms.

    If you have worsening symptoms at any time OR you are not feeling better 5 or more days after you initially started feeling unwell, call 8-1-1 or your family doctor. If at any time you are feeling very unwell and are worried this might be an emergency (e.g. severe difficulty breathing or chest pain), call 911.

    After 10 days, if your temperature is normal and you no longer have symptoms, you can return to regular physical distancing. Coughing may continue for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-isolate for more than 10 days.

    Please see the Q & A on “How do I self-isolate?”

  • Should I wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    If you are a healthy individual, the use of a mask is not recommended for preventing the spread of COVID-19. It may be less effective to wear a mask in the community when a person is not sick themselves.

    • Wearing a mask when not ill may give a person a false sense of security and is likely to increase the number of times a person will touch their own face (e.g., to adjust the mask).
    • There is a potential risk of infection with incorrect mask use, placement and when putting it on or taking it off
    • Masks also need to be changed frequently
    • Proven measures to prevent COVID-19 are physical distancing, not touching your face and eyes (which may be more difficult when wearing a mask), and good hand hygiene

    Masks should be used by:

    • Sick people to prevent transmission to other people. A mask acts as a barrier to stop a person's droplets from spreading to others when they cough or sneeze.
    • Health-care workers and first responders: These groups wear surgical masks, eye protection, gowns, and gloves in order to protect themselves and other patients. During health-care procedures in which aerosol sprays may be generated (for example, when giving certain inhaled medications), health-care workers wear specialized masks.

    Please visit the BC Centre for Disease web page on Masks for more information. 

  • Do non-medical (e.g. homemade or cloth) masks work?

    Facemasks are not recommended or required for people who are not sick and are not healthcare workers.

    Any mask, no matter how efficient at filtration or how good the seal, will have minimal effect if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and physical distancing.

    The use of a non-medical mask should only be used as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals.

  • What can I do to protect myself and my friends or family?

    Follow the same procedures as what is recommended during cold and flu season and maintain physical distancing of 2 meters when you are outside of your home. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water; covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; avoiding others who are unwell; and staying home when you are sick. Furthermore, regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and avoid sharing food, drinks, and utensils. 

  • How long do I need to self-isolate for?

    If you are a returned traveler or close contact of a confirmed case, you should self-isolate and self-monitor for 14 days. Self-isolation can end 14 days after the last contact or return to Canada if you have not developed symptoms.

    If you have symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days starting from when your symptoms began. After 10 days, if your temperature is normal and you no longer have symptoms, you can return to regular physical distancing. Coughing may continue for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-isolate for more than 10 days.

  • Can COVID-19 be transmitted sexually?

    COVID-19 has not been found to be transmitted sexually. However, it can spread when droplets of saliva or mucous containing the virus touches your mouth, nose, or eyes, and so any close physical contact is favourable for transmission. Touching any surface, body part, or object that droplets have come in contact with and then touching your face can also result in transmission. These droplets are also created when someone coughs or sneezes, and can even reach you when you are within 2 metres of an infected person. 

    To reduce the spread of COVID-19, stay home and avoid sex and physical contact with others if you are sick, avoid sex and physical contact with others who are sick or self-isolating, and avoid encounters within 2 metres of people outside of your household.

  • Is my drinking tap water safe?

    Water users, connected to a permitted water system that is operating in compliance with the Drinking Water Protection Regulation, can continue to use their tap water for drinking and washing as usual. 

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the “The presence of the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies and based on current evidence the risk to water supplies is low.” Additionally, according to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control, the COVID-19 virus is mainly thought to spread between people who are in close contact with one another. 

  • Do I need to boil my drinking water?

    No. Provided your drinking water system is not already on a Boil Water Notice. Boiling your water is not required as a precaution against the COVID-19 virus. 

  • What should I do if I am concerned about my drinking water?

    If you have a complaint or concern about the safety of your drinking water, first contact your water supplier. In many cases, it will be possible to resolve the issue at this point. If your discussion with the water supplier has not addressed your concern, please contact the Fraser Health drinking water program.

  • Do I need to buy bottled water or store drinking water? 

    No. There are no indications that the COVID-19 virus is in the drinking water supply or will affect the normal supply of water. Other than your regular stock of emergency water, there is no need to purchase or use bottled water to reduce your risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus unless directed by your water supplier.

  • If I or a family member has coronavirus, how do I clean and disinfect my home?

    Clean and disinfect common areas once a day. Each day, clean places and surfaces in the room(s) that you are staying in. Regular cleaning products are fine for this. For areas that are touched often, you can disinfect them (kill germs) by mixing 1/50 solution of bleach and water (e.g. approximately 20 ml bleach per litre of water or 2 1/2 ounces per gallon). This can be used for counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. It is especially important to use bleach to disinfect if you are sharing any common areas (such as a bathroom) with others or if others will be entering the room(s) where you are staying.

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

Travel

  • What are the new federal government requirements under the Quarantine Act? 

    On March 25, an order was made under the Federal Quarantine Act, making it legally required for anyone arriving in B.C. from outside of Canada to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their arrival.

  • Are incoming travellers been screened for novel coronavirus?

    Incoming travellers are screened at all borders – land, sea and air. As of March 25, 2020, it is legally required under the Quarantine Act for any person entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days, whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. There are some individuals who are exempt from this order to provide essential services. Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • I am a returning traveller, should I self-isolate or stay home from public places?

    As of March 25th, 2020, it is legally required for anyone arriving in B.C. from outside of Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival and complete a self-isolation plan, whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. More information on the self-isolation plan is available here: gov.bc.ca/returningtravellers.

    If at any point you develop respiratory symptoms, you are asked to further self-isolate for another 10 days after the onset of symptoms. If you do not develop any symptoms, you can return to normal physical distancing after 14 days.

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • If I am in a hotel and get sick, do I need to tell the people at the hotel that I may have COVID-19?

    Yes. If you get sick when you are travelling and staying in a hotel, let the hotel staff know so they can help you.

    Most major tourist hotels have in-house doctors who can provide medical care. Hotels can also arrange appointments with local physicians.

    If you feel unwell, it may be the case that you are suffering from the common cold or flu, rather than COVID-19. 

    If you have travel insurance, contact the local number you may have been given or the assistance centre in Canada and ask for a referral.

    If you need urgent care, the best option is often the nearest hospital. In some countries, ambulances may not be common. Use whatever form of transportation you have to get to a hospital.

    Source: Government of Canada, Sickness or Injury

Novel coronavirus in BC

  • What businesses are closed and which will remain open? 

    The following businesses are to remain closed:

    • Personal service establishments, including barbershops, hair and nail salons, spas, massage parlours, tattoo shops and others
    • Pubs, bars, and nightclubs
    • Vendors of non-food items and all other merchandise at occasional and recurring events where food and other merchandise is sold (e.g. markets, street markets, night markets, Saturday markets or community markets)

    As of March 26th 2020, Minister Farnworth has enabled compliance and enforcement officials to provide assistance for compliance and enforcement of the Provincial Health Officer’s orders regarding business closures and gatherings.

    The following businesses can remain open at this time:

    • Any business or service that has not been ordered to close, and is also not identified on the essential service list, if it can adapt its services and workplace to the orders and recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer, such as physical distancing of 2 metres between people. A list of essential services is provided here.
    • Restaurants and cafés are prohibited from providing dine-in services and can remain open for take-out and delivery services only.
    • Food and beverage vendors at occasional and recurring events where food and other merchandise is sold (e.g. markets, street markets, night markets, Saturday markets or community markets)

    When entering business premises, maintain physical distancing of 2 metres away from others, avoid touching your face, and cough and sneeze into your elbow. You may also want to avoid unnecessary touching of store items.

  • How do you ensure that people who are told to self-isolate, actually self-isolate? What if they were to go out in public, like to a local grocery store, would I be at risk?

    The spread of novel coronavirus occurs with sustained close contact with an affected individual, for example, sitting in a car on a long trip, or living in the same household. Grocery stores – which are open and where people tend to walk around – are less likely places to allow for virus spread. However, you should still distance yourself 2 metres apart from others, cough and sneeze in your elbow, and avoid touching your face while shopping. 

    A number of groups are being asked to self-isolate:

    • Anyone returning from outside of Canada.
    • Anyone with respiratory symptoms
    • Those with known exposure to an individual with COVID-19 
    • Those who have tested positive for COVID-19

    The third and fourth groups are monitored by Public Health.  If these two groups do not voluntarily self-isolate, Public Health can use legal powers under the Public Health Act to ensure that self-isolation occurs.

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • Shouldn’t people who have travelled to areas known to have novel coronavirus be excluded from public places? (e.g., to work, school, child care)?

    As of March 25th 2020, it is legally-required under the Federal Quarantine Act that all people returning from travel outside of Canada are to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival from their destination. 

  • Is it safe to go out in public (eg. to work, ride the bus, etc.)?

    It is important to practice physical distancing when you go out in public.  Please see the Q & A above on how to practice physical distancing. Also, follow the same procedures as what is recommended during cold and flu season. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding others who are unwell and staying home when you are sick.

    Go to WorkSafeBC for recommendations for employers and workers about COVID-19. 

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • Can I still use public transportation?

    Yes. Please ensure physical distancing while using public transportation. 

    Also, follow the same procedures as what is recommended during cold and flu season. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding others who are unwell and staying home when you are sick.

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • Can I still eat at restaurants?

    As of March 20th 2020, the Provincial Health Officer has ordered every restaurant and café to stop all dine-in services, and for the closure of all pubs, bars, and nightclubs. You can no longer dine-in at any of these locations. You can order takeout and delivery options if they are available. 

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • I recently received something in the mail that I ordered from China. Could I catch the virus from it?

    No. There is no evidence to suggest that goods imported from China can transmit the virus.

  • Should events and mass gatherings be cancelled?

    All mass gatherings over 50 people should be cancelled. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings and other similar events.

    For gatherings under 50 people, the final decision regarding postponement or cancellation of mass gatherings is ultimately the responsibility of the organizer. For these gatherings, practice appropriate physical distancing of 2 metres between people, wash your hands often with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoid others who are unwell, and stay home when you are sick.

  • Is it safe to go to the ER when there are cases of COVID-19 in BC? 

    Yes, but save our ERs for emergencies. 

    If you think you might have COVID-19, the ER is NOT the place to come. Instead, use the self-assessment tool and then call your family doctor or 8-1-1 for further advice if needed. Call 1-888-COVID or text 604-630-0300 if you have general questions about COVID-19. Most people with mild symptoms do not require a test and should proactively self-isolate instead. 

    Call 9-1-1 or visit your nearing emergency room for critical or life-threatening conditions. For non life-threatening urgent care needs, visit an Urgent and Primary Care Centre. Find a location at fraserhealth.ca/urgentcare

    If you need to go to an emergency department, please be aware that all patients with respiratory symptoms will be asked to put on a mask and wash their hands. We are also restricting visitors to essential visits only at all of our sites through controlled access points.

  • I heard that all elective surgeries are being cancelled? What does that mean for me if I have a surgery date already?

    All of the province's hospitals are now in an outbreak response phase, meaning all non-urgent scheduled surgeries will be postponed. Cancelling elective surgeries will free up hospital beds as the health care system prepares for more patients. This will allow us to preserve resources for urgent and emergency cases. 

    We recognize this will be challenging for many people 

    If you have a scheduled elective surgery, it will be rescheduled for a later date. Your surgeon’s office will be in touch with you. 

Novel coronavirus testing

  • How is novel coronavirus tested for?

    COVID-19 testing is done using samples collected by a swab. The BC Centre for Disease Control Public Health Laboratory (PHL) has developed laboratory guidance for novel coronavirus testing. 

  • I think I might have COVID-19.  Can I come in to the emergency department to get tested?

    At this time we are asking patients to avoid going to the emergency department for novel coronavirus testing. 

    If you think you have COVID-19, try the new symptom checker first. Then follow the instructions provided.

    Not everyone will require testing. If you have no symptoms, mild symptoms, or are a returning traveller and isolating at home, you do not require a test.

    If you develop symptoms, it is important you stay home and self-isolate. Only a health care professional can determine if you need a test. Call your health care provider or 8-1-1 to assess if you need testing. If your symptoms are severe, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

    Source – BC Centre for Disease Control

  • How long does it take to get my test results?

    Novel coronavirus testing results should be available within 96 hours of sample collection.

    Please call the BCCDC Coronavirus Hotline at 1-833-707-2792 to inquire about your results. 

  • I've been tested.  Where can I get my results? I don’t have a family doctor.

    If you were tested (swabbed) for novel coronavirus, you can call the BCCDC Coronavirus Hotline at 1-833-707-2792.

    The BCCDC Coronavirus Hotline can provide coronavirus testing results and guidance on self-isolation. 

    If you test positive for the novel coronavirus, public health will be in contact with you. 

School, daycare and workplaces

  • Should my school or workplace take special precautions to protect against novel coronavirus?

    Schools, workplaces and other organizations should implement measures to support physical distancing, increased routine cleaning practices, regular handwashing (such as providing soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer) and respiratory etiquette. For more information for, please visit WorkSafeBC.

    As of March 17, 2020, the Ministry of Education suspended classes for K-12 students.

  • I don’t feel safe at my workplace with regards to COVID-19. Who should I contact?

    For workplace-related concerns in the context of COVID-19, please contact WorkSafeBC.

    You can find more COVID-19 information and resources on their website

  • A student at my child's school/daycare just came back from travel outside of Canada, what should I do? And what should the school do?

    We understand that parents are concerned about the rapidly evolving novel coronavirus situation, and that information continuously changes; however, we urge individuals to resist making assumptions about the risk of students or staff based on their travel history.

    Schools can remind their students or staff that all people returning from travel outside of Canada that they must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. As of March 25th 2020, this is mandatory under the Federal Quarantine act. 

  • An employee just came back from an affected area and is returning to work, as an employer what should I do?

    At this time, all people returning from travel outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. As of March 25th 2020, this is mandatory under the Federal Quarantine act. Employers can instruct workers to follow this legal requirement. 

    If they develop respiratory symptoms in that time, they are asked to self-isolate for an additional period of 10 days after the onset of symptoms, whenever they occur.

    We are asking employers to excuse staff for sick leave without requiring a doctor’s note, if their employees are ill or required to self-isolate.

    As an employer, you can actively encourage all employees to practice respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene at your worksite, implement measures to support physical distancing, increase routine cleaning practices, and advise employees to stay home when they are sick.

    WorkSafeBC has further information for employers and workers on their website.

Mental health and substance use

Our response

  • What is being done in Fraser Health to protect residents from novel coronavirus?

    In addition to keeping you informed via this Q&A, Fraser Health has organizational structures, plans and processes in place to address and monitor emerging issues like this one. We are working in partnership with the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control

    The critical steps to ensure the safety of Fraser Health residents include: early identification of cases, prompt isolation, testing and monitoring. Each of these steps are currently being taken and will continue as part of the novel coronavirus response.

  • What are the new visitor guidelines for Fraser Health? 

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are restricting visitors to ESSENTIAL VISITS ONLY at all of our sites through controlled access points.

    Restricting visitors minimizes the risk of the introduction of COVID-19 into our facilities. Essential visits include visits for compassionate care (such as end of life or critical illness).

    Please do not visit if you are sick.

  • Do I have to pay for parking at any Fraser Health sites right now if I am an essential visitor?

    No. We have temporarily suspended paid parking. Please note that the temporary suspension of paid parking means will not pay for parking if you are an essential visitor to the site. All other parking restrictions are in place such us reserved spaces and spaces for accessibility.

  • Are food services outlets still available in hospitals? 

    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.