How to talk to your friends about COVID-19

Are your friends and family asking you about COVID-19?

As Fraser Health employees, medical staff and volunteers, you may be getting lots of questions about COVID-19. To ensure the people in your life – your family, friends, neighbours, grocery store clerk, soccer parents – get reliable information, here are our top tips on what to say: 

  1. Stay informed.
    Use trusted sources like the BC Centre for Disease Control, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization, and, of course, Fraser Health.
  2. Practice good hygiene.
    “Wash your hands like you’ve been chopping jalapenos and you need to change your contacts.” – Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer
  3. Know the signs and symptoms.
    The novel coronavirus causes mild to severe respiratory symptoms including dry cough, fever, sore throat, and headache.
  4. Follow the proper procedures.
    Let people know that they can be tested for COVID-19 at their family doctor’s office. Tell them to call ahead. If they don’t have a family doctor, they can call 8-1-1 for an assessment.
  5. Protect patient privacy.

You can also reassure the people in your life that managing respiratory illnesses is not new to the medical community. Public health agencies and experts in all countries are working together and employing lessons learned from past outbreaks. Public health officials are monitoring patients and following up with all contacts. Fraser Health has activated its Emergency Operations Centre. The British Columbian Pandemic Provincial Co-Ordination Plan is in operation.


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    How to talk to your friends about COVID-19

    As heath authority employees, medical staff and volunteers, your personal networks may be looking to you for information about COVID-19.

    Here's what you can say:

    Stay informed:

    Use trusted sources for up-to-date information, travel advisories and other updates:

    The Public Health Agency of Canada has created a toll-free phone number (1-833-784-4397) to answer questions from Canadians about novel coronavirus. 

    Practice good hygiene:

    “Wash your hands like you’ve been chopping jalapenos and you need to change your contacts.” – Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer

    • Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water

    • Use hand sanitizer after touching surfaces

    • Avoid touching your face

    • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing

    • Avoid others who are unwell and stay home when you are sick

    Know the signs and symptoms:

    Cough, sneezing, sore throat, fever, difficulty breathing.

    Follow the proper procedures:

    • If you suspect you or someone in your close contacts has a COVID-19 infection, CALL ahead before seeking care.

    • Call your family physician and explain your concern. This ensures that the clinic is prepared to test you, if needed, and keeps the clinic’s staff and other visitors safe.

    • No family doctor? Call 8-1-1. Nurses at 8-1-1 can assess your risk and provide instructions

    Protect patient privacy:

    • Our commitment to patient privacy and confidentiality is imperative.

    • Our public health response is most effective when people can trust that when they come forward and contact us for help, they will get the care they need to protect themselves and those around them. 

    • We are committed to being as open as possible, while protecting patient privacy. 

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