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If you are sick

If you have COVID-19, or think you might have it, help prevent spreading by following the instructions below.

Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.  You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to. 

If you have been tested for COVID-19, go to the Testing page. 

How to stop the spread of germs

Self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Travellers returning to Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days. Stay home and do not go to work, school or public places and do not use public transit, taxis or ride shares. Do not have visitors to your home.  If you live with other people, avoid contact with others at home by staying and sleeping in a separate room and using a separate bathroom if possible. See these guides about isolation:

See below for details about when you can stop isolating. 

Cover your coughs and sneezes. When you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Don't have a tissue? Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Wash your hands right away after you sneeze, cough or touch used tissues or masks. Throw used tissues into a lined trash can in your room and tie up that trash bag before adding it with other household waste.

Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is best to dry your hands with a paper towel and throw it away after use. If you can't wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Learn more

Do not share household items. Do not share dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other shared belongings. After using these items, wash them with soap and water.

Flush the toilet with the lid down. COVID-19 virus may also be present in poop (stool or feces). Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet.

General cleaning. Water and detergent (e.g., liquid dishwashing soap) or common household cleaning wipes should be used. Apply firm pressure while cleaning. Surfaces should be cleaned at least once a day. Next, use a store bought disinfectant or diluted bleach solution, one part bleach to 50 parts water (20ml of bleach to 1 litre of water), and allow the surface to remain wet for one minute. Clean surfaces that are touched often (e.g., counters, table tops, doorknobs, toilets, sinks, taps, etc.) at least twice a day.

Wear a face mask. When you are sick, wearing a face mask (surgical or procedure mask) helps to stop the spread of germs from you to others. Wear a face mask when you are in the same room with other people and when you get medical care. If your mask gets wet or dirty, change it and wash your hands right away. You and those you live with do not need to buy and wear other types of masks, such as an N-95 respirator mask.

Other Resources

If you need medical care

Pay attention to your health and how you are feeling. You can call 8-1-1 anytime to talk to a nurse at HealthLinkBC and get advice about how you are feeling and what to do next. 8-1-1 has translation services in 130 languages.

Urgent medical care means that there is a change in your health that needs medical help right away. If it becomes harder to breathe, you can't drink anything or feel much worse, seek urgent medical care at an urgent care clinic or emergency department. If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.

Call ahead before you get medical care. If leaving your home for medical care, call ahead and tell the clinic you are coming in and that you have symptoms of COVID-19. By calling ahead, you help the clinic, hospital, lab, urgent care or doctor's office prepare for your visit and stop the spread of germs. Remind each health care provider that is taking care of you that you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Ending isolation

Public Health asks that if you have respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home to self-isolate until the following criteria are met: 

  • If you have not traveled outside of Canada, you must stay home and isolate yourself for at least 10 days from the start of any symptoms. You may return to your regular activities when:
    • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms started, AND
    • Your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g. Tylenol, Advil), AND
    • You are feeling better (e.g. improvement in runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue).
Here are some examples:

Example 1: You only had fever at the start and symptoms are gone: you can stop isolating after day 10. 

Example 2: You still have a fever on day 10 of isolation. On day 12 your fever stops and your symptoms have improved. You can now stop isolating.

This can be a bit tricky to figure out. It's easier if you keep a note of your temperature and your symptoms every day, so you know when to stop isolating safely.

Sometimes people with COVID have mild illness, but their symptoms may suddenly worsen in a few days. If your symptoms worsen or you become short of breath, call your family physician or nurse practitioner for immediate medical attention. If you are unable to reach your regular care provider, seek care in Urgent & Primary Care Centre or Emergency Department. 

Ending Isolation, travellers returning to Canada

As of March 25, 2020 it is mandatory under the Quarantine Act that anyone arriving in British Columbia from outside of Canada to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their arrival and complete/register a self-isolation plan.

There are some individuals who are exempt from this order to provide essential services, but they still need to self-monitor for symptoms. Returning travellers that develop respiratory symptoms are also required to self-isolate for at least 14 days or 10 days after onset of symptoms, whichever is longer. 

This can be a bit tricky to figure out. Use the Daily self monitoring form to record your temperature and your symptoms every day, so you know when to stop isolating safely

Here are some examples:
Example 1: Symptoms appear five days after returning to Canada and last only a couple of days. Self-isolate for 10 additional days from when your symptoms appeared for a total of 15 days. 

Example 2: Symptoms appear two days after returning to Canada. Self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms + an additional 2 days for a total of 14 days.

Visit the Government of Canada webpage for more details about self-isolating and self-monitoring for incoming travellers.

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