Last updated: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Status Update

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) assessed COVID-19 as a pandemic. This does not change the WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by COVID-19 and it does not change the approach we are taking in Canada.

There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians who are 65 years old and over, who have compromised immune systems and/or who have underlying medical conditions. As such, national and provincial health organizations are asking all Canadians to practice social distancing by staying at home as much as possible, and avoid group settings where more than 50 people are present.

The Government of Canada has also asked all Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel until further notice, including cruise ships.

Travellers must also self-isolate for 14 days after returning from travel outside of Canada and monitor their health for fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

There is now significant community transmission within Canada, which now exceeds the spread of COVID-19 from travelers.

There is no treatment or vaccination for COVID-19. The BC Centre of Disease Control released a document on unproven therapies for COVID-19. Similarly, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia released a joint statement on unproven therapies for COVID-19 including, but not limited to, hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, azithromycin, lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) and colchicine.

Symptoms & Exposure

If you answer “yes” to any of these symptoms AND exposure criteria, please contact your healthcare provider or the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Symptoms

  • Fever (over38o Celsius)
    and/or
  • Cough
    and/or
  • Difficulty breathing

Exposure

  • Any international travel in the last 14 days
  • You have been in close contact with someone who has travelled internationally in the last 14 days and is showing any of the above symptoms
  • You have been exposed to a person with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 infection

Detailed updates and resources are also available on the Public Health Agency of Canada website.

To reduce the risk of exposure and transmission:

  1. Self-isolate if you show signs of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. If you are experiencing these symptoms and have recently traveled to an affected area, please stay home and call your clinical care coodinator for instructions on next steps. The time required for self-isolation of cases (confirmed or clinical) whose symptoms have resolved is 10 days from onset of symptoms (infectious period). If symptomatic after 10 days, contact your physician.
  2. Although many Canadians have been advised to work from home if possible, we strongly recommend that you print out these safety instructions and post them in your offices and public spaces if they do remain open. Click here to download the document.
  3. Generally, masks are not necessary if you are not infected. They are likely to lead to increased facial touching. Remember to wash your hands as much as possible.
  4. The Canadian government is asking Canadians to avoid all unnecessary travel. If you must travel, we encourage you to follow the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada for travel.

Resources:

Self-assessment tools: