Monday, March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Staying Safe

COVID-19 Update
UPDATED: March 27, 2020.
The BC Provincial government's latest statements and updates can be found here:

You'll find COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information HERE

Thank you to everyone for doing your part, whether that’s as a front-line health worker, an essential service worker, or just staying at home and following social distancing guidelines. It is making a difference.

To stay up-to-date please use these and the links at the bottom of the page for the latest information and resources. They are your best and most up-to-date information.

Below is a list of the latest on BC's response to the COVID-19 outbreak - as of the date of posting.
While our office is temporarily closed for in-person meetings, we are available by phone and email. If you have any questions that are not answered below or in the links below, please do email or call our office at 250-479-4154. We will do our best to find answers for you.

Our government is using extraordinary powers under a state of emergency to keep people safe, maintain essential goods and services, and support our ongoing response to COVID-19. Find out more HERE.


  • FIRST: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20-30 seconds. Find out more HERE
  • STOP THE SPREAD: Staying home is our best hope for containing the spread of COVID19 and "flattening the curve". Flattening the curve means spreading out the cases so that our health services can stay on top of the situation. If you do not need to go out in public - then do not. If you do - keep 6' between you and other people. If you can work at home, do. If you can avoid gatherings and meetings of more than a few people, do. 
  • FEELING SICK? See below
  • COVID non-medical info: This call centre is for non-health related inquiries. Those with health related inquiries are encouraged to call 8-1-1. They can provide information in more than 110 languages. Call 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319)
  • TEXT for COVID: a new text help line for assistance. (604) 630-0300 
  • Rx: Direction to pharmacies is to refill some urgent prescriptions without a physician’s note. Pharmacists can help with refills for medications that are being used to manage chronic issues. People should be using this if they are nearing the end of the prescription - the point at which they would typically go to their doctors office for a refill. This is not meant for people to stock-pile prescriptions and it's unlikely that the Pharmacist will allow this.
  • SICK LEAVE: Employees do not to require doctors notes for missing work. 


    • SUPPORT for SENIORS: BC211's Safe Seniors, Strong Communities program is matching seniors that need a hand with volunteers that are able and willing to help out - from shopping and delivery - to a regular phone check-in. Find out more here"
    • SUPPORT for RENTERS and LANDLORDS: The Province is introducing a new temporary rental supplement, halting evictions and freezing rents, among other actions. Find out more HERE 
    • FINANCIAL SUPPORTS in Response to COVID-19: These are being developed and implemented daily. Find out more HERE and from the Federal Government HERE
    • SERVICE BC: Service BC centres remain open, ready to serve citizens although how they serve you may be modified. Find out more HERE.
    • SCHOOLS: All schools have been directed by the Ministry of Education to immediately suspend in-class instruction until further notice.See the letter that has been sent to all parents, guardians and school staff HERE
    • BUSES: BC Transit is now free in Greater Victoria. They ask that you enter and exit from the rear door or the front door if you require use of the ramp or other accessible features. Please note that routes are being altered often as they work to match ridership with demand. They ask that you check online or call before you travel and observe social distancing protocol at all times -
    • BUSINESSES: All businesses must adjust their operations to meet physical distancing orders of two meters and should implement enhanced cleaning, or close. Find out more from WorkSafe BC HERE
    • PUBS Our provincial health officer has ordered pubs, night clubs and bars to stop operations. See release HERE
    • RESTAURANTS and COFFEE SHOPS: Our provincial health officer has ordered that restaurants and coffee shops stop all seated service. They may chose to switch to take-out only – if they can accommodate the social distancing protocol (see above) for customers and staff. Restaurants may now sell liquor products with meals for pick-up/delivery using staff with Serving-It-Right certification. Find out more HERE.
    • PERSONAL SERVICES: All personal service establishments - like barbershops, salons, nail aestheticians, health spas, massage parlours, tattoo shops and others - have been ordered to close. See release HERE 
    • LIBRARIES: All GVPL are closed now. Do not return books - until the end of April, no fines will accumulate. Keep up-to-date here:
    • RECREATION: All playgrounds and most campsites in BC are now closed. The public is asked to refrain from visiting them. Saanich has cancelled their programs and drop-in activities at Saanich Commonwealth Place, Pearkes, Gordon Head and Cedar Hill recreation centres (including golf) until further notice. Keep abreast of municipal responses on their website at 
    • CASINOS: All B.C Casinos will be closed until further notice. If this causes you distress - there are resources to help you cope with a gambling problem at: 
    • PUBLIC GATHERINGS: All events and gatherings greater than 50 individuals must be canceled.
    • VISITORS TO HEALTH FACILITIES: Long term care facilities are being restricted to essential visitors only. 
    • ELECTIVE SURGERY: Hospitals have been directed to postpone all non-urgent procedures until at least July in order to free up hundreds of beds. This transition will happen over the next 3-5 days.
    • BC FERRIES: Federal partners have indicated that if you are travelling on B.C Ferries, you will be allowed to stay in your vehicles.
    • COHO and CLIPPER The Coho ferry will suspended service from March 30 to April 30, 2020. Stay up-to-date at The Clipper ferry service is now suspended until April 30. Stay up-to-date at
    • ROYAL BC MUSEUM: Is closed until further notice
    • TRAVELLERS: If you are coming home from travelling abroad, you must self-isolate for 14 days. 


      • ASSESSMENT: 
        • If you feel you are experiencing symptoms (such as new fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing) please contact your primary care provider or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 to be assessed. 
        • There is also a Self Assessment Tool available online at
      • TESTING: 
        • It is important that people do not call or attend the screening clinic unless referred by a primary care provider or an 8-1-1 nurse.
        • To support testing of people who meet specific criteria, Island Health has opened a referral-only COVID-19 screening clinic in Victoria. Testing at this clinic will occur by appointment only for people who have been referred by their primary care provider or an 8-1-1 nurse.
        • People living in the Victoria region who are assessed as requiring follow-up will be directed to call the clinic. A triage nurse at the clinic will then assess referred patients over the phone to determine if an appointment for testing is needed.


      • Heathlink BC has a variety of online resources in multiple languages:
      • Island Health has updated information on COVID-19 and resources to assist you and your community:
      • The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control is the recommended resource for provincial information that is accurate and current: Information is being updated frequently on the site at this time and individuals are encouraged to check back regularly (eg. daily). Or on Twitter @CDCofBC 
      • The BC Provincial government's latest statements and updates can be found here:
      • For the most up-to-date non-medical information, including the latest  provincial and federal programs, call 1 888 COVID-19 or visit:
      • The Federal Government's updates on the outbreak can be found here: