A virus called Coronavirus or COVID-19 is causing an outbreak of illness around the world and in British Columbia. CLBC funded service providers may have questions and concerns related to safety of individuals, families and staff and to business continuity planning. CLBC will be working with service provider associations and groups to help respond.
Where do I find out more about the COVID virus?
You can find regular updates from these web sites: Public Health Officer and Ministry of Health statements, BC Centre for Disease Control, HealthLink BC, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the World Health Organization.
In an effort to allow 811 health-care professionals to support more people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who require assistance with other health issues, the Province has created a dedicated phone service to provide British Columbians non-medical information about COVID-19. This includes the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, as well as access to support and resources from the provincial and federal governments. British Columbians can reach service representatives seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., by calling 1-888-COVID19. Information is available in more than 110 languages.
What is the most important thing my agency should be doing now?
Service providers, like the general public, should be taking direction from our public health experts from the web sites above. The top priority at this time is to provide information to individuals, families and staff about how to prevent transmission:
- Stay home and away from others if you or your family are sick.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve and dispose of tissues properly.
- Avoid usual greetings such as handshakes, hugs and kisses.
Your agency may want to consider emailing individuals, families and staff with this information, and putting up posters with this information in your offices and facilities. When you communicate, you can point people to the BC Centre for Disease Control web site for factual information, videos and posters.
How should we prepare for the possibility of increased transmission and risk?
CLBC requires all of its service providers to have emergency response and business continuity plans. Please review these and begin to prepare for issues that may arise such as illness of individuals, staff or contracted home sharing providers. If you have questions about emergency planning, please talk to your local CLBC office.
What does my agency do if an individual in service becomes ill?
If someone has flu like symptoms such as fever, coughing and difficulty breathing, they should stay home and away from others. They can call 811 at anytime to speak with a registered nurse. (People who are deaf and hearing impaired, call: 711).
The B.C. Ministry of Health has also developed a self-assessment tool which can help determine whether people may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to. Access the online self-assessment tool here.
If someone has tested positive for COVID 19 and was in contact with other individuals or staff in an agency program, please contact your local health authority and seek direction from them on who may be at risk and who should be notified. Your local health authority is the primary authority for how to respond to people who may have COVID 19.
What if a family member or a staff member has concern about exposure to illness in a service provided by my agency?
We must all rely on the public health experts to provide us direction based on facts. General information about risk levels for different scenarios, and whether to stay home or away from others is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control web site.
Some of the people served by CLBC have chronic health conditions. The Office of the Provincial Health Officer has tips for them if have a chronic condition or have a compromised immune system.
Where can I go for help if I need help to respond to an operational challenge I am experiencing?
You can contact your local CLBC office at any time or email CLBCInfo@gov.bc.ca. You may also be able to receive support, if you are member, from groups like the BC CEO Network, The Federation of Community Social Services of BC, or the Provincial Association of Residential and Community Agencies.