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Health & Safety

Updated:
May 19, 2020

According to the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), if you are under a Boil Water or Do Not Consume Advisory, it is still safe to wash your hands with soap and water.

See the FNHA COVID-19 website for more information on staying healthy during the health crisis. However, if you are living with a Do Not Use (DNU) advisory you should wash with bottled water. For specific water advisories and more information see HERE.

Updated:
May 19, 2020

Alarmingly, according to the CBC, “reports of child exploitation to Cybertip.ca up 40 per cent in recent weeks”. Kids are having more unsupervised online time now and unfortunately it seems predators are looking to take advantage of the situation. 

Parents can go to Cybertips.ca for their guide on Keeping Kids Safe Online While Out of School which includes advice on what parents should be aware of and what parents can do to keep their children safe online. The Government of Canada also has resources to protect your entire family online.

Updated:
May 19, 2020

If you are interested to support the response to Coronavirus COVID-19, there are many ways you can help. Information below is provided by the Government of Canada. It lists concrete, meaningful ways to contribute and make a real difference in the lives of fellow Canadians. For a full list of initiatives, see COVID-19: How you can make a difference.

FluWatchers

FluWatchers is an online surveillance system that normally helps track the spread of flu-like illness across Canada. We are using its established network of volunteers to track COVID-19 Coronavirus. You can participate by anonymously answering 2 quick health-related questions each week to help show Canadians where COVID-19 is circulating.

Sign up to be a FluWatcher

 

Donate personal protective equipment

Would you like to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) or other medical supplies to support frontline health care staff?

Complete the donation form

 

Supplies to help Canada respond

Can your business supply products and services to help Canada's response to COVID-19 Coronavirus? We want to hear from you.

Supply a needed product or service

 

Take the BC COVID-19 Survey

How has COVID-19 affected your life, your family and your future? Complete the B.C. COVID-19 survey before May 31st to help inform the government's response to the pandemic and ensure British Columbians have the resources and information they need.

Take the survey now

 

Updated:
May 19, 2020

On May 14, BC Parks will start to reopen the majority of provincial parks and protected areas and marine parks. Many front-and back-country trails, beaches, picnic areas, washroom facilities and boat launches will be opened for day-use  (dawn until dusk). Some areas and facilities remain closed, including playgrounds, picnic shelters and visitor centres. Click HERE for a list of parks that are open to visitors.

On June 1, BC Parks will re-open most provincial campgrounds and back-country camping. 

Visitors are asked to visit parks close to home, respect any facility or area closures and must follow the physical distancing requirements set out by the PHO. Visitors should bring their own hand sanitizer and are asked to practice appropriate hygiene.  If you are sick, please visit another time. For more information, see BC Parks and Recreation Sites and Trails BC.

Many municipal parks, beaches and gardens remain open. Certain parks have reduced services, including facility closures and parking limitations. Many public playgrounds and schoolyards are closed. Check with your local municipality regarding parks near you. 

While enjoying a park, beach or garden, maintain social distancing of 2 metres. See: Can I get in legal trouble if I don’t practice “social distancing?”.

 

Updated:
May 19, 2020

The Federal Government has created COVID 19: Indigenous awareness resources which contains information and resources in Indigenous languages.

The Provincial Government has translated its COVID-19 Coronavirus content into 

 

The BC Centre of Disease Control has also provided translated handouts and videos in multiple languages HERE.

Updated:
May 19, 2020

On April 10th, 2020, BC updated the procedures in place for travellers returning from other countries. Go to Self-Isolation on Return to BC for full details.

 

Self-Isolation Plans

All international travellers returning to B.C. are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days, submit a self-isolation plan and complete the federal CANArrive application.

Self-isolation plans must be reviewed by provincial government officials before travellers can return home.

You can submit your self-isolation plan and CANArrive application online before you begin your travel back to Canada or upon arrival. Go HERE for instructions on how to fill out your self-isolation plan and federal arrival application.

 

Assessment Process on Arrival

Starting April 8, 2020, additional screening measures will be put in place for people returning to B.C. from international locations including the United States by air, land or sea.

 

Current Quarantine Orders

On March 17, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) issued a quarantine order directing people returning to B.C. from the U.S. and other international destinations to self-isolate.

On March 25, 2020, the federal government implemented a self-isolation plan for returning international travellers on select flights under the Quarantine Act.

  • The federal government will continue to use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order to self-isolate, enforceable by RCMP or local police
  • Maximum penalties for breaking self-isolation orders include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months
Updated:
May 25, 2020

The guidance from authorities to stay home except for essential errands, and to keep six feet apart from others, is strong advice, not the law.

Some of the social distancing rules do have the force of law, however.

The province’s public health orders are examples. These include the order prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people, and an order requiring restaurants and pubs to take measures to physically distance groups of patrons. The latter order, which came into effect on May 19, 2020, spells out how establishments must keep two metres between groups of patrons and get contact information for one member of every group (among other measures).

So far, though, in guidance to its bylaw officers, the province is focusing its efforts on monitoring and education. The officers (and police) are not empowered to fine or detain people in enforcing these orders. Vancouver’s bylaw officers are similarly focused on monitoring and educating to date.

One rule has more severe penalties if you don’t follow it. If you’ve just returned to Canada from abroad, you must isolate or quarantine, depending on if you have symptoms. (The federal government website explains the difference.) You can be fined or jailed for failing to follow this order.

Updated:
May 19, 2020

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Home is not safe for everyone. The added stress of the crisis, on top of added financial pressure, and close quarters can trigger violence. Women and victims’ organizations are still operating to assist people facing violence in the home.  

If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 911, or call your community police.. You can also call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808. You can search BC Housing for a list of shelters near you. HealthLink BC also provides contact information for other services that support all victims, including youth and seniors.

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) Crisis line remains open, providing emotional support to women experiencing gender-based domestic violence and/or uncertainty during these difficult times. They provide emotional support and can help you develop a safety plan. If safe, call or text 604-652-1867. You can also email them at intake@bwss.org

Transition Houses provide short- to long-term shelter and related support services to women, children, and youth who have experienced or are at risk of violence.  Find more information at www.sheltersafe.ca  

If you fear for your safety you may still be able to get a protection order from Family Court. Both the Supreme Court and Provincial Court will still hear applications if a judge determines the matter is urgent, including urgent applications for protection orders. See the BC Family Justice’s COVID -19 Legal Questions and the Legal Services Society’s Q & A - Family Violence for more information and direction.

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Updated:
May 19, 2020

If you are in immediate danger call 911. If you are not in immediate danger, call SAIL (Senior Abuse & Information Line) a safe place for older adults and those who care about them to talk to someone about situations of abuse and mistreatment. They are available 8am-8pm. Line Tel: 604-437-1940 / Toll Free: 1-866-437-1940. For more information go to Seniors First BC. Additional support services for mistreated seniors can be found at Where to Get Help on the Government of BC website.

Source:
Updated:
May 19, 2020

BC211 has started the Safe Seniors Strong Communities program that matches seniors who need support with non-medical essentials, to volunteers in their community who are willing to help.  Support includes grocery shopping, meal preparation, prescription pick up and phone/virtual visits. Sign up at BC211.

Updated:
May 19, 2020

The First Nations Community Guide to Accessing Additional Supports provides a list of federal resources and services available to Indigenous communities during the COVID -19 Coronavirus health crisis. It also includes specifics about how funding will be allocated to help the First Nation community health response. The Federal Government has also created the Indigenous Community Support Fund to assist Indigenous Communities prepare for, prevent,  and respond to COVID-19 Coronavirus. The Federal Government has also created COVID 19: Indigenous awareness resources which contains information and resources in Indigenous languages. 

The First Nations Health Authority has provided a list of COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions. The provincial government has also set up a COVID-19 FAQ page to help guide local governments and First Nations communities during this time.

For mental health support, Hope for Wellness provides emotional support and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. You can call to connect with a counsellor. On request, phone counselling is also available in: Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut. HelpLine: 1-855-242-3310 or www.hopeforwellness.ca

You may also call the KUU-US Crisis Response Service at 1-800-588-8717 for culturally-aware crisis support for Indigenous peoples in B.C.

Updated:
May 19, 2020

Vancouver Pride has put together COVID-19 LGBTQAI2S+ Resource Guide to help community members with issues arising during the health crisis such as food security, employment, mental health, and other community supports. 

Qmunity, BC’s Queers, Trans, and Two-Spirit resource centre, offers free and reduced-cost health and wellness counselling for individuals, couples, relationships, and families. All of our counsellors are members of the LGBTQ2S+ communities. They also have a youth program and a program for older adults. For youth, please reach out to their Youth Specialist, Han either through email at youth@qmunity.ca, or directly on Facebook chat, through the GAB Youth Facebook group. You can also reach out to their Social Worker, Jennie at jennie.mw@qmunity.ca For older adults please call or email Courtney Dieckbrader, Specialist in Seniors Programming and get connected. Phone 604.684.5307 ext. 110, email seniors@qmunity.ca

 

Updated:
May 19, 2020

These feelings are completely reasonable reactions to what is happening right now. You are not alone! Learn what to do if you’re anxious or worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) from Anxiety Canada.

BC is expanding mental health services and creating new programs. Go HERE for help finding virtual mental health support during COVID-19.

Here are some more resources to help you cope:

 

For Indigenous Peoples, Hope for Wellness provides emotional support and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. You can call to connect with a counsellor. On request, phone counselling is also available in: Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut. Help Line: 1-855-242-3310 or www.hopeforwellness.ca

Call the KUU-US Crisis Response Service at 1-800-588-8717 for culturally-aware crisis support for Indigenous peoples in B.C.

Updated:
May 19, 2020

No. Canada has imposed a mandatory 14 days self-isolation on all people coming into Canada for both people who have symptoms, and those who do not have symptoms. This means you must go directly home, and you are not to stop at a grocery store, or anywhere else, on your way home. See the Federal government's notice to travellers returning to Canada and the fact sheet on travellers without symptoms returning to Canada.

Go to the BC Centre of Disease Control for guidance on how and when to self-isolate.

If you do not self-quarantine you may be faced with fines or criminal charges. For more information on what that means see the federal government’s advisory HERE and the BC Centre of Disease Control’s guide to self-isolation

If you are a senior who has recently returned and need non-medical assistance (such as buying groceries) sign up for BC211’s Safe Seniors Strong Communities Program.

Updated:
May 19, 2020

Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. If you have symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or sneezing, avoid contact with others and self-isolate at home for at least 10 days. If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, or have symptoms of COVID-19 Coronavirus, contact your doctor, local public health office, or call 8-1-1. The BCCDC also provides further instructions to follow if you suspect you are ill. 

If you have questions related to COVID-19 you can call: 

  • BC Coronavirus Information Line: 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 604-630-0300
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Service: 1-833-784-4397
Updated:
May 19, 2020

Always check the BCCDC for up to date health information, but in general,  you must self-isolate if:

  1. You have COVID-19 Coronavirus
  2. You have had close contact with a confirmed case of the COVID-19 Coronavirus
  3. You have recently returned to Canada. Since March 25, 2020, by Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act it is mandatory for any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19
  4. You have symptoms of COVID-19 Coronavirus including a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing

See the BCCDC’s guide to Self-Isolation for information on when and how to self-isolate.

Updated:
May 19, 2020

We do our best to keep the information up to date but please check official resources for health information about the disease.

Everyone should be following the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) guidelines and practice physical distancing as much as possible. 

The BCCDC says:

Physical distancing is limiting close contact with other people to slow the spread of an infectious disease. This includes keeping two meters apart from others in public. 

Self-isolation means staying home and avoiding situations where you could come in contact with others. While you are self-isolating in BC, you will be required to monitor for new symptoms or signs of coronavirus such as fever, cough, sore throat, etc. 

See BCCDC’s Common Questions page for more information. 

Updated:
May 19, 2020

There is a lot of misinformation about COVID-19 Coronavirus, particularly about supposed cures. Always check official sources for information about the disease.

The BC Centre of Disease Control (BCCDC) has the best information available on the status of the outbreak in British Columbia and how to protect yourself and others. Go to the BCCBC’s COVID-19 page and their Common Questions page.

First Nations and Indigenous Peoples of BC may go HERE for a list of sources providing general information and support for Indigenous Peoples during the COVID-19 Coronavirus health crisis, including the First Nations Health Authority

For Federal resources go to the Federal Government’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update for more information on the Government of Canada’s precautions at international airports and borders.

World Health Organization FAQ: For more commonly asked questions and answers on COVID-19.

Updated:
May 19, 2020

There is a lot of information and misinformation available about Coronavirus. Be sure to always check official sources before you share information. Here are some reliable sources of information on COVID-19:

The Government of Canada’s website on COVID-19 has up to date information, guidance and support programs available during the crisis. 

The Government of British Columbia’s COVID-19 Coronavirus response is updated daily. The BC website now has its COVID-19 content translated into Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Punjabi, and Tagalog.

The B.C. government has launched a COVID-19 support app to help provide residents with the latest information on the ongoing pandemic. The app can be downloaded through the Apple Store or Google Play and is also available as a website online here.

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