Updated 6:15 pm, Friday, March 13
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has issued an important letter to BC health care workers, clarifying and explaining her advice on travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what it means for health care workers and patients. Read the letter from Dr. Bonnie Henry (PDF).
If you are an RMT regulated by CMTBC with a patient who may have been exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, what are the appropriate infection control protocols to follow, and what are the reporting obligations with this patient?
BC health regulatory colleges, including CMTBC, are receiving an increasing number of these questions from registrants. The following are general guidelines to keep in mind.
The most important resource for BC health practitioners is the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website, which offers guidance to health professionals on COVID-19 that is updated on an ongoing basis. The Public Health Agency of Canada website also has detailed information on COVID-19 for health professionals, including the interim national case definition for coronavirus disease.
Both the BCCDC and Public Health Agency of Canada websites provide guidance on infection control.
The BCCDC website advises that anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 811. If a patient is concerned about potential exposure or is experiencing symptoms, ask them if they have taken the above steps. If not, encourage them to make the call immediately and follow medical advice.
BCCDC advises that the overall risk to Canadians from COVID-19 is low, and the best protection is to take the same precautions as you would during cold and flu season: wash your hands often with soap and water; cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; avoid others who are unwell; and stay home when you are sick.
The Public Health Agency of Canada also provides advice on being prepared for COVID-19, for individuals, communities (including information on social distancing measures), schools and daycares, and workplaces.