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Infection Control

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

Last updated:  May 4, 2023

NOTICE: The provincial requirements for the use of face masks in all health care facilities and visitor restrictions have been lifted. Health care facilities are working to implement the changes. Please follow the precautions in place at each site. Updated guidance will be posted once it is available.

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. 

‎Policy: Infection Prevention and Control for all Health Authorities - Updated September 1, 2021

  • This policy protects patients, clients, clinicians, health care workers and the public by outlining provincial expectations for the implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC) practices to prevent and control COVID-19 in all health authority facilities, programs and services, as well as community physician offices and outpatient clinics.

‎This policy outlines Ministry of Health requirements for mask use by health care workers (clinical and nonclinical), patients and visitors to prevent the transmission of communicable respiratory illnesses within health care facilities.

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:

Infection prevention and control measures required for the set up and safe operation of COVID-19 immunization clinics in community settings (e.g. community pharmacies, 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 

COVID-19: Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Considerations for Mental Health and Substance Use Settings - This document provides practical guidance for mental health and substance use (MHSU) inpatient settings for the prevention of COVID-19 and further transmission. Depending on the setting, it is intended to be used in addition to the infection prevention and control (IPC) guidelines for acute care and long-term care and seniors’ assisted living settings. - New March 22, 2022

‎Infection Prevention and Control for COVID-19: Guidance for British Columbia Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) - Updated July 21, 2021

This document provides guidance for British Columbia Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) in the infection prevention and control management of suspected or confirmed cases with COVID-19 and measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

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.

Screening and risk assessment tools

Entrance Screening Tool for Health Care Facilities - updated November 26, 2021

  • This tool is for screeners at health care facility entrances to determine whether an individual poses a COVID-19 risk and whether they should be permitted to enter.

Health Care Worker Self-Check and Safety Checklist - updated October 13, 2021 

  • This checklist is to help health care workers (HCW) check themselves for COVID-19 risk before each shift. This tool summaries steps to take if a HCW develops symptoms and other general safety measures to reduce risk.
Chain of infection health care settings (11 X 8.5) - posted January 4, 2022
How is COVID-19 Transmitted? (11 X 8.5) - posted January 4, 2022

‎Patient Screening Tool for Direct Care Interactions: This tool is for health care workers to determine whether a patient/client/resident interaction poses a COVID-19 risk and accordingly select appropriate precautions and PPE while providing direct patient care within two metres. - Updated November 26, 2021

Point of Care Risk Assessment (PCRA): The PCRA is a routine practice which should be conducted before every patient/client/resident interaction by a trained health care worker (HCW) to assess the likelihood of exposing themselves and/or others to infectious agents. This assessment informs the selection of appropriate actions and PPE to minimize the risk of exposure. -Updated February 2, 2022

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 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. 

 The following resources are provided as an adjunct to support facilities and services in optimizing ventilation:


Cleaning products and disinfectants that are regularly used in hospitals and health care settings are strong enough to deactivate coronaviruses and prevent their spread. Cleaning of visibly soiled surfaces followed by disinfection is recommended for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses. 


‎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).

Additional information

A combination of factors affect SARS-CoV-2 transmission and infection. Therefore, a multi-layered approach of public health and infection prevention and control (IPC) measures continues to be
recommended and remains effective in addressing as well as mitigating these risks.

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


This document provides IPC and WHS guidance for using portable fans in health-care settings for HCWs and patients to minimize the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and other infectious agents.

For further details on infection prevention and control guidelines in specific clinical settings or patient care, consult the relevant pages under clinical care.

If you are seeking consultation or have further questions as a health care provider or for a health care facility, contact your local public health unit.

SOURCE: Infection Control ( )
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