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Infection Control

Information and signage to prevent the spread of infection in your health care facility.

Last updated: May 6, 2024

NOTE: For viral respiratory illness guidance and general infection prevention and control (IPC) practices, visit the Provincial Infection Control Network (PICNet) of British Columbia.

Policy, screening and risk assessment tools

Continuous (universal) mask use in health-care settings is not required.

Visitors are encouraged to wear masks in health care settings as appropriate and to practice respiratory etiquette, including:

  • Clean your hands often using soap and warm water or use alcohol-based hand rub
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow instead of your hands
  • Stay away from people at higher risk of serious illness
Health-care workers must continue to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including masks or respirators, when additional precautions are required and in accordance with a point of care risk assessment (see below).

Policy: Infection Prevention and Control Measures for Preventing Viral Respiratory Illness - May 2, 2024

  • This policy protects health care workers (clinical and non-clinical), patients, residents, clients, visitors, and the public by outlining provincial expectations for the implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in health authority facilities, programs and services, including outpatient clinics and ambulatory care settings.
  • Clean hands before and after visiting 
  • A medical mask is required upon entering the facility and in patient care areas for visitors and health-care workers upon entering the facility and in patient care areas. 
  • A medical mask is required for patients in waiting areas and the emergency department, and when asked by a health-care provider. 

Guidance: The Hierarchy for Infection Prevention and Exposure Control Measures for Communicable Diseases - Updated June 29, 2022

  • The hierarchy of infection prevention and exposure control measures for communicable disease describes the measures that can be taken to reduce and eliminate the transmission of infectious diseases. Control measures listed at the top are more protective than those at the bottom. 
  • This tool is for screeners at health-care facility entrances to determine whether an individual poses a viral respiratory illness risk and whether they should be permitted to enter. This tool should be used in conjunction with provincial policies as well as any employer workplace health and safety policies. This tool is an example and can be adapted based on specific settings or services and is not intended to replace medical advice.

Viral Respiratory Illness Checklist for Health-care Workers updated October 18, 2023

  • This checklist is to help health-care workers to check themselves for viral respiratory illness risks before each shift and summarizes steps to take if you develops signs and symptoms.

Entrance Patient Poster  - Updated July 21, 2023

  • This tool supports patient screening for viral respiratory illness and other communicable diseases. 

Entrance Staff and Visitor Poster ‎ - updated July 6, 2023

  • This tool is supports visitor and health-care worker screening for viral respiratory illness and other communicable diseases. 

Point of Care Risk Assessment (PCRA) Updated July 25, 2023

  • The PCRA is part of routine precautions that must be conducted by a health care worker (HCW) before every patient, client or resident interaction to assess the likelihood of exposing themselves and/or others to infectious agents. This assessment informs the selection of appropriate actions and personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize the risk of exposure. When additional precautions are required, the PCRA may indicate further PPE is required.
The Provincial Infection Control Network of British Columbia (PICNet) provides information on medical procedures that are considered AGMPs based on reviews of current information and evidence:

‎Posters for facility entrances are available on the signage and posters page.


Guidance for healthcare settings

Infection Prevention and Control: Guidance for Acute Health-Care Settings – Updated August 31, 2021

  • This document provides infection control guidance for health care professionals working in acute care settings including emergency departments, as well as outpatient and ambulatory care units within acute care facilities to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 as well as outlining measures for providing care safely in those settings, including interactions with patients. 

Outbreak Management Protocol for Acute Care Settings - Updated August 25, 2022

  • This document provides guidance to prepare for, detect and respond to outbreaks of COVID-19 in acute care settings. 

Infection prevention and control guidance for physicians, nursing professionals, midwives and allied health care providers working in community-based clinic settings:

This guidance outlines the infection prevention and control (IPC) measures required for the set-up and safe operation of immunization clinics in community settings (e.g., community pharmacies, public health units, schools, community centres, arenas):

This document provides guidance for B.C. home and community health-care providers and workers to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 by applying infection prevention and control (IPC) best practices. This guidance outlines the IPC measures to provide care safely in homes, including those with confirmed COVID-19 and suspected COVID-19 

‎For guidance about person protective equipment (PPE) for environmental service staff in health care facilities, as well as information on environmental cleaning, laundry and waste management, see the information sheet for environmental service providers in health care settings.

‎Infection Prevention and Control Requirements for COVID-19 in Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Assisted Living - ‎This document provides IPC guidance and requirements to Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities and Seniors Assisted Living (AL) residences for preventing and controlling COVID-19.  It provides guidance on PPE, visitors, IPC practices and outbreak protocol. - Updated August 31, 2022

Outbreak Management Protocol for Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Assisted Living - This document provides guidance to detect and respond to outbreaks of COVID-19 for staff, health-care workers and administrators of long-term care and associated seniors’ assisted living facilities - Updated August 25, 2022 

As the SARS-CoV-2 virus associated with COVID-19 illness spreads globally, over time it acquires genetic mutations resulting in variants of the virus. Variants are designated as variants of concern (VoC) when they spread more easily, cause more serious illness, impact treatment or vaccine effectiveness. 

New variants are transmitted in the same way as the original (non-variant) SAR-CoV-2 virus.  Infection prevention and control (IPC) measures for COVID-19 must continue to be diligently followed and reinforced in healthcare settings, regardless of VoC status. Based on local epidemiology, further measures (e.g., contact tracing, outbreak management and additional personal protective equipment) may be recommended by IPC teams, workplace health and safety teams and/or medical health officers. 

More information on variants of concern

Personal protective equipment

Patients under investigation should be managed with contact and droplet precautions.

Nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs and throat swabs can be performed using contact and droplet precautions, and HCW 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 suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.

Use a N95 respirator or equivalent with gown, gloves, and eye protection (face shield or goggles) when performing aerosol generating medical procedures (AGMP) on patients suspected (patients with COVID-19 risk) or confirmed to have COVID-19.

For information about personal protective equipment (PPE), how to put it on and take it off, visit the personal protective equipment page.

Surgical procedures and operating rooms

‎These documents outline IPC protocol for surgical procedures during COVID-19 and includes information on urgent/emergent/elective procedures, pre-surgical patient assessment, pre-surgical procedure huddle, air clearance and the algorithm for management of surgical patients.

‎‎This document provides a practical “how to” guide for physicians, nurses and other staff in non-hospital medical surgical facilities (non-hospital surgical facilities) to support improved infection prevention and control (IPC) practices during COVID-19. The document includes information on infection prevention and exposure control, environmental measures, administrative measures, personal measures, PPE, and clinic/facility management.

COVID-19: Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines for Surgery in Non-Hospital Medical Surgical Facilities

‎This document presents information and reasoning for consideration when determining the best option for facilities performing surgery on patients who are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Options for Operating Room Configuration and Use When a Patient with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Requires Emergent Surgery - Updated January 12, 2022

Ventilation and fans

Ventilation is an important part of an overall strategy aimed to reduce the risks of COVID-19 transmission when used in combination with other infection prevention and control and public health measures. 

‎Ventilation is an integral part of an overall strategy to provide acceptable air quality in health-care facilities. Acceptable ventilation helps to reduce the spread of communicable respiratory infectious agents, including respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, when used in combination with other infection prevention and control and public health measures.

Learn more from the Provincial Infection Prevention Control Network of B.C.: Indoor ventilation resources

Provincial IPC Guidelines for Portable Fans in Health Care Settings in BC - October 2023

  • This guidance is for infection prevention and control, workplace health and safety, health-care workers and operational leadership in health care settings. It provides information on IPC practices to minimize the transmission risks of communicable diseases, including viral respiratory infections such as COVID-19 and influenza. 


Regular cleaning and disinfection are essential for preventing the transmission of microorganisms from contaminated objects and surfaces. This quick reference guide is for health care workers  and environmental services providers in health authority outpatient clinics and ambulatory care settings. It covers key principles for environmental cleaning and disinfection, waste and laundry management.


‎Bleach: sodium hypochlorite (5.25%)

  • 500 ppm (10mL bleach to 990mL water) - Used for disinfecting surfaces and medical equipment (e.g. counters, door knobs, stethoscope, BP cuff). Allow surface to air dry naturally

  • 1000 ppm  (20mL bleach to 980mL water) - Used for disinfecting surfaces contaminated with bodily fluids and waste (e.g. vomit, diarrhea, mucus, feces) (after cleaning with soap and water first). Allow surface to air dry naturally.

Accelerated hydrogen peroxide (0.5%) - Used for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and medical equipment.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATs) or ‘alkyl dimethyl ammonium chlorides’ on the product label - Used for disinfecting of surfaces (e.g., floors, walls, furnishings).

How to Clean Your Hands Poster (PDF) - updated July 6, 2023


SOURCE: Infection Control ( )
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