COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update March 12, 2020Posted on March 12, 2020
For the latest information and recommendations on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in British Columbia, please read the following joint statement from Adrian Dix, B.C. Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0074-000470.
What you need to know about COVID-19
- Risk is low – The risk of COVID-19 transmission continues to remain low for residents of British Columbia. People without symptoms do not pose a risk.
- Watch for symptoms – Reported signs and symptoms include fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, and/or pneumonia in both lungs. If you think you have the symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at home and call 8-1-1.
- Practice prevention – Health experts say the best protection is to follow proper hygiene etiquette as in any cold and flu season. This includes proper hand washing with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when you are sick.
- Leave the mask – B.C. health authorities do not recommend that people without symptoms wear masks in the community, as surgical masks are not designed for this purpose and are unlikely to provide significant protection.
- Stay informed – For the latest information and updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the centre’s website: http://www.bccdc.ca. B.C. residents are encouraged to call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 with any additional questions about COVID-19.
Translated COVID-19 information
- Returning from Iran or Hubei province in China: If you have returned from these areas, monitor for symptoms and avoid contact with others for 14 days after your return.
- Returning from any travel: Others returning from international travel are not asked to self-isolate, but should monitor themselves for symptoms. If you have been travelling and you become ill, or become ill after you return, tell your health care provider. You should also tell your health care provider if you had close contact with a sick person or animals.
COVID-19 frequently asked questions
What can I do to protect myself and my friends or family?
Follow the same hygiene etiquette as you would for cold and flu season. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding others who are unwell, and staying home when you are sick.
Should I wear a mask?
B.C. health authorities do not recommend that people without symptoms wear masks in the community, as surgical masks are not designed for this purpose and are unlikely to provide significant protection. The use of masks may also increase facial touching.
If you are sick or have symptoms, a mask is recommended. The use of a surgical mask can prevent droplets from entering the air when you cough or sneeze, thereby reducing the risk to others.
I am a returning traveller. Should I self-isolate and avoid public places?
If you have returned from Iran or Hubei province in China, monitor for symptoms and avoid contact with others for 14 days after your return. People who have self-isolated can return to normal activities after 14 days if they have not developed any symptoms.
Others returning from international travel are not asked self-isolate but should monitor themselves daily for symptoms, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Those who feel unwell should see their health care provider or call 8-1-1.
I have not left B.C. Should I be worried about becoming ill from COVID-19?
No. The risk of spread of this virus in B.C. remains low at this time. There is no evidence that there is general spread of the virus in the community. If are concerned that you may have been in contact with a person with COVID-19, call 8-1-1.
Is it safe to go out in public (e.g. work, school, transit, or a swimming pool)?
Yes. Although B.C. has identified individual cases of COVID-19 infection, there is no known spread of the virus in the community. WorkSafeBC is currently not recommending any special precautions for employers, workers, and worksites other than those already in place for the seasonal flu.
When you go out in public, follow the same procedures as recommended during cold and flu season. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding others who are unwell, and staying home when you are sick.
Should people who have travelled to COVID-19-affected areas be excluded from public places? (e.g. work, school, child care centres)?
Out of an abundance of caution, public health officials are recommending that individuals who have been to Iran and Hubei province in China monitor for symptoms and avoid contact with others for 14 days after returning to Canada.
Others returning from international travel are not asked self-isolate but should monitor themselves daily for symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. If you have been travelling and you become ill, or become ill after you return, tell your health care provider. You should also tell your health care provider or call 8-1-1 if you had close contact with a sick person or animals.
For more answers to frequently asked questions, visit: http://www.vch.ca/about-us/news/vancouver-coastal-health-statement-on-coronavirus
Where can I find the latest information?
For more recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
For the latest travel advisories, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html
For the latest global case counts, please visit the World Health Organization (WHO) Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) map.
For the latest Canadian counts, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website.
For the latest B.C. counts, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control COVID-19 case counts webpage.
What is VCC doing?
VCC takes the safety and security of our community both in Canada and abroad very seriously. We will continue to take guidance from provincial and federal agencies and follow all recommendations.
Steps that have been taken so far at VCC include:
- VCC convened its Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) to ensure preparedness across all campuses. The EOC meets weekly, and is in frequent and consistent communication with B.C.’s Public Health Officer, Ministry of Advanced Education, and local health authorities, as well as all other colleges in B.C.
- VCC has followed all recommended protocols and recommendations for a communicable disease outbreak.
- Proper handwashing materials have been made available in all washrooms and at all handwashing stations.
- Additional hand-sanitizing stations have been set up across all campuses.
- Information on preventative measures for staff and students are being broadcast on all campus screens.
- VCC's custodial and cleaning staff have implemented communicable disease cleaning measures, which include but are not isolated to: frequent disinfection of surfaces, door handles, taps, elevator buttons, and handrails.
- VCC social media has posted frequent reminders on hygiene best practices and links to additional information.
- A bulletin section has been created on VCC's homepage for up-to-date information sharing.
What is an Emergency Operations Committee?
An EOC is a central command responsible for carrying out emergency preparedness and emergency management. VCC’s 14-member EOC is working diligently to ensure the continuity of operation at VCC while keeping the community safe and informed.