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Primary care

This page contains materials for physicians testing and caring for patients with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.


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  • Testing is not required if a patient has no symptoms, mild symptoms, or is a returning traveller and isolating at home.
  • Testing is available for those who are part of an active investigation or outbreak cluster, those with severe illness who are hospitalized or likely to be hospitalized, residents of long-term care facilities and health care workers. Read the new guidance on testing health care workers.
  • To prioritize testing, label requisitions LCTF (for long term care facility), HCW (for health care worker), HOSP (for hospital). For more information, refer to the lab testing page.
  • B.C. is testing all samples of influenza-like illness for COVID-19, influenza A and B, and RSV.
  • Please advise all patients being tested for COVID-19 to self-isolate until negative test results have been received. A self-isolation handout is available in English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Punjabi.
  • Please also advise patients that test results will not be available for at least 72 hours. 
  • If the patient meets screening criteria, physicians must use appropriate personal protective equipment to ensure their safety.

Managing patients with symptoms (no testing required)

Please advise patients who have respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home to self-isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days after onset of their symptoms.  After 10 days, if their temperature is normal and they feel better, they can return to their routine activities. Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean they need to continue to self-isolate for more than 10 days.

Personal protective equipment 

  • Health care workers must wear gown, gloves, surgical/procedural mask and eye protection (face shield or goggles) and do not require the use of an N95 respirator for collecting a nasopharyngeal or throat swab or sputum. A N95 respirator is recommended for aerosolizing procedures. 
  • For more information, visit the page on personal protective equipment.

Cleaning and disinfecting clinical spaces

  • Cleaning products and disinfectants that are regularly used in hospitals and health care settings are strong enough to deactivate coronaviruses and prevent their spread. 
  • For recommendations on when to clean and disinfect health care settings and for details on disinfecting products, visit the infection control page.

Vulnerable populations

  • Older people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease are at higher risk of developing more severe illness or complications from COVID-19. 
  • Read and share this Q&A with patients with chronic conditions.

Clinical care

Patient handouts

Posters and signage

  • For posters and signage for health care setting entrances, hand hygiene, COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment and cleaning, visit posters and signage page.

SOURCE: Primary care ( )
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