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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.
Last updated: February 18, 2021


  • Details about who to test and how to test, including specimen collection and labelling, can be found on the viral testing page for both adult and pediatric populations.
  • Health care workers seeing patients must use appropriate personal protective equipment to ensure their safety.
  • For collecting a nasopharyngeal or throat swab or sputum for COVID-19 testing, health care workers must wear gown, gloves, surgical/procedural mask and eye protection (face shield or goggles). A N95 respirator is recommended for aerosolizing procedures. For more information, visit the page on personal protective equipment.
  • Patients can also go to a collection centre to be assessed and tested. Mouth rinse and gargle sample collection, an alternative to the nasopharyngeal swab, is available for children and adults. Patients can find the nearest collection centre by using the B.C. COVID-19 Collection Centre online finder tool or by calling 8-1-1 or by using the online self-assessment tool.
  • Please advise all patients being tested for COVID-19 to self-isolate until negative test results have been received. A How to self-isolate after a COVID-19 test handout is available for patients.

Understanding COVID-19 tests and interpreting results

  • FAQ for health providers explaining how the test works, what the test results mean, reasons for false negative results, the levels of virus shedding, and the sensitivity of the test.

Reported symptoms from COVID-19 cases in B.C.

The BCCDC surveillance team has compiled a symptom profile for COVID-19 cases in B.C. The data for the profile were collected from symptoms reported using the COVID-19 case report form and entered into B.C.’s public health information system for communicable diseases, Panorama. The case report form provides a snapshot of an individual’s illness at the time of their interview with public health.

The purpose of the symptom profile is to provide health professionals with information about reports of illness in B.C. so they can make clinical judgements about the care of their patients.

Support for patients during the pandemic and influenza season

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.

Post COVID-19 Care

PHSA's Post COVID-19 Interdisciplinary Clinical Care Network supports patients who were infected with COVID-19 and who experienced serious disease to manage their condition over time. Post COVID-19 recovery clinics are designed to see patients at or following 12 weeks post-symptom onset and are not meant to address acute concerns.

Vulnerable populations

Older people with chronic health conditions

  • 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.

Children who are immunocompromised

  • Physician letter:  Use this letter if required to write to schools about in-person school attendance regarding a child with immune compromise who is considered low or medium risk.

Children with medical complexities

Information for families of children with medical complexities

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.

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