Protecting Yourself From Infection: COVID-19

As a care worker, staying on top of your own health and safety is a vital part of being able to provide care for others.

Viruses and infections are not only a hazard to your health, but also to the health of those around you. Below is up-to-date, evidence-based information on the COVID-19 coronavirus and how you and your loved ones can stay healthy.


The Latest News


As of September 17:

  • There are 6,031 active cases of COVID-19 in BC.
  • There are 20 long-term care homes, independent/assisted living residences, and acute care units with active cases.
  • 86% of British Columbians have received a first dose of COVID vaccine, while 78% have received two doses. 
  • Despite these very positive vaccination numbers, the level of vaccination across the province is not consistent, so there are still regions of the province with lower rates of vaccination compared to other areas of the province.  
  • We are currently in Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan
  • The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild; however, the elderly or those with underlying health conditions are at higher risk of experiencing complications from COVID-19.

 

Past week cases (Sept. 8-14) – Total 4,914

  • Not vaccinated: 3,347 (68.1%)
  • Partially vaccinated: 391 (8.0%)
  • Fully vaccinated: 1,176 (23.9%)

Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Sept. 1-14) – Total 390

  • Not vaccinated: 318 (81.5%)
  • Partially vaccinated: 19 (4.9%)
  • Fully vaccinated: 53 (13.6%)

Symptoms Self-Assessment Tool: the BC Ministry of Health has developed a tool to help determine if you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this on behalf of yourself or another person. Access the tool here: https://covid19.thrive.health/


What you need to know—see below


Long-Term Care (click to learn more)

I work in a care home



I am a visitor to a care home


  • The limit on the number of visitors each resident can have has been removed.
  • Visits may occur without advance booking during the daily designated social visiting hours at a care home.
  • Visitors are encouraged to complete the online Social Visitation Essentials Orientation prior to their visit
  • All visitors shall be screened for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID-19 upon arrival to the care home
  • Visitors will be asked to provide proof of vaccination status. Visitors aged 12 and over who are fully vaccinated (had your second dose at least 7 days previous) will only be required to wear a medical mask while moving around the care home or in common areas, but not when they are visiting directly with the resident. Visitors who can not show they are fully vaccinated will be required to wear a medical mask at all times while in the care home.  
  • Children over the age of two should be encouraged to wear a mask if they can.  In cases where a medical mask is too large for a child, children should wear a pediatric-sized mask, even if it is not medical grade.  
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand rub, when entering and leaving a care home, and before and after providing direct support to your loved one.
  • If you have signs of symptoms of illness, or if you are in self-isolation or quarantine, you will not be permitted to visit. Ask the care home if there are other ways you can still connect with your loved one, whether online or by phone 
  • Visits will not be allowed if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak at the care home and you will not be able to visit if you or the resident you are visiting are ill, or have any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Visit the BC Centre for Disease Control for more information.

I am a manager


  • Have surveillance mechanisms in place to catch potential cases early. Ensure this takes into account staff, volunteers, visitors, contractors and residents. Long-term care homes should follow current guidance from the BC-CDC for asymptomatic resident care, as well as contact and droplet precautions when providing care to any person under investigation for COVID-19.
  • Ensure ALL staff, designated visitors and volunteers are properly trained in infection prevention and control practices, and that they follow these practices. Have refreshers, so people feel comfortable knowing the protocols. This includes maintenance, food service, administration and other support workers.
  • Ensure appropriate stock of personal protective equipment (including gowns, eyewear, gloves and masks), disinfectants and cleaners
    • If you are experiencing difficulty sourcing PPE supplies please visit SafeCare BC’s PPE Supplier Page.
  • Ensure that you are aware of personal protective equipment guidelines for Long-Term Care.
  • Ensure that workers are trained in the use of PPE and have been fit-tested for the N95 respirator if required.
  • Display signage that instructs all staff and visitors to wash their hands when entering and leaving your care home, and actively screen visitors.
  • Visitors who are feeling unwell, are showing signs of respiratory illness, such as fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath, or who should be self-isolating shall not be allowed access to the care home.
  • If any visitor reports symptoms of being unwell during their visit, including fever, dry cough, or difficulty breathing, support your staff in asking them to leave the care home.
  • While it may be challenging for staff scheduling, don’t encourage workers to come to work if they are unwell, or required to self-isolate in accordance with Public Health directives.
  • Ensure that there is a process in place for workers to follow if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 while on shift. Clearly communicate this process to workers.
  • Support your staff if they identify unsafe situations and respond to those concerns
  • Where in-person visits do happen, follow BCCDC guidance to support safe, meaningful visits in long-term care while adhering to infection prevention and control requirements.

Home Care & Community Support (click to learn more)


I am a home and community support worker


  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand rub, when entering and leaving a client’s home, and before and after contact with the client or their belongings.
  • Know how to properly put on and take off personal protective equipment, such as gloves, surgical masks, eye protection, and gowns. If you need a refresher or more information, ask your manager.
  • In advance of visiting, ask the client if they have new or worsening shortness of breath, cough or fever, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, or if anyone in their household has been sick recently (BCCDC).
  • Ask if the client or a client’s family member has been asked to self-isolate in accordance with Public Health directives.
  • If any of the above are suspected, call your supervisor and ask for direction.
  • At the first sign of any illness, you should NOT visit a client’s home.
  • If you have a fever, dry cough, or difficult breathing, or are otherwise feeling unwell, contact Health Link BC at 811 before visiting your doctor’s office or hospital Emergency.
  • Visit the BC Centre for Disease Control for more information.

I receive home support


  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • If you have new or worsening shortness of breath, cough or fever, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, or muscle aches, or someone in your household is sick, contact your home support worker in advance of their visit, so they are prepared.
  • If you have been asked to self-isolate in accordance with Public Health directives, let your home support worker know.
  • If someone in your household is sick, have them stay in a separate room away from where care is being provided by your support worker. If that’s not possible, have the member of your household wear a mask for the duration of the visit and have them wash their hands.
  • Visit the BC Centre for Disease Control for more information

I am a Manager


  • Have surveillance mechanisms in place to catch potential cases early. Ensure this takes into account staff, members of clients’ households and clients.
  • Follow current infection prevention and control guidance for home and community health care from the BCCDC.
  • Ensure staff are properly trained in infection prevention and control practices. Have refreshers, so staff feel comfortable knowing the protocols.
  • Preferably in advance of their visit, encourage your home support workers to ask the client if they have new or worsening shortness of breath, cough or fever, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, if anyone in their household is currently sick, or has been asked to self-isolate in accordance with public health directives if anyone. If they answer yes to any of these questions, have your staff contact you for further direction.
  • Ensure clients and their family members are aware of your organization’s policies and practices around infection prevention and control.
  • Support your staff if they identify unsafe situations and respond to those concerns.
  • While it may be challenging for staff scheduling, don’t encourage workers to come to work if they are unwell.
  • Ensure staff have the necessary training and equipment to stay safe and healthy.
  • Ensure that you are aware of personal protective equipment guidelines for Home Care.

Personal Protective Equipment Suppliers

SafeCare BC provides the following information to assist organizations to locate alternate suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not an exhaustive list, as there may be other alternate suppliers of PPE. SafeCare BC does not in any way vet or endorse the alternate suppliers or the products they offer.  

Visit our PPE Suppliers page for more information. 

Additional Resources


Regular updates about COVID-19:

World Health Organization resources on COVID-19:

BC Centre for Disease Control:

Public Health Agency of Canada:

WorkSafeBC:

COVID-19 Symptoms Self-Assessment Tool:

Hand-washing practices:

General information on personal protective equipment (PPE):

Fit testing:

Posters:

SafeCare BC Documents: