How to tell if you may have COVID-19:
Burnaby Primary Care Networks – Information on medical resources for patients living in Burnaby, including how to book a COVID-19 test. This website also has information on the Edmonds Urgent And Primary Care Centre which is available for patients who have urgent after-hours medical issues (please note for emergency issues patients should proceed directly to their nearest Emergency Department).
Who should be tested for COVID-19?
Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat and painful swallowing
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Loss of sense of smell
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
Who does not need to be tested for COVID-19?
If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 then you do not require a test, unless specifically directed to get tested by Public Health due to an outbreak exposure situation.
COVID-19 testing in asymptomatic individuals for the purpose of travel or employment is not covered by the Medical Services Plan (MSP). Therefore you cannot get tested for this reason at one of the provincial testing sites. You must pay privately for this test. A list of private clinics performing this testing is found here.
Where/how to get tested for COVID-19:
As of April 19/21 the Burnaby testing site has moved to the BCIT campus, 3700 Willingdon Ave, in Parking Lot B, enter Lot B from Carey Avenue @ Canada Way. To book an appointment at one of the Fraser Health COVID-19 testing sites, including in Burnaby, please visit this website. This site lets you know the availability of appointment slots in the next 72 hours that can be booked online for testing sites across the Fraser Health region. A list of other collection centres in BC can be found here. If you have been tested, information on how to access your swab result is detailed here.
For children age 5-17, the saline gargle test is an option as an alternative to the nasopharyngeal swab for COVID-19 (subject to availability at the testing site). Please note a patient taking the gargle test cannot have had anything to eat or drink (including water and chewing gum) or have smoked (cigarettes or vaping) within 1 hour of being tested. As of November 2020, the gargle test is an option for adults at some testing locations as well.
If you are sick:
Isolate at home and stay home from school/work. Do not leave your home unless for essential medical care. It is recommended individuals with new cold/flu symptoms get tested for COVID-19, even if symptoms are mild. Do not have visitors inside your home. Try to use a separate bedroom and bathroom if possible from household members. People who are contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases also need to self-isolate and monitor for respiratory symptoms for 14 days. More details can be found here.
If you are COVID-19 positive, you may return to your regular activities:
- when instructed by Public Health. For most people, this is typically after 10 days if you feel better, your symptoms have improved, AND
- you have had no fever for 72 hours (3 full days), whichever is later.
Your cough may last for several weeks. If you only have a dry cough, you do not have to keep isolating after 10 days, as long as you have been cleared by Public Health. If your illness gets worse, or you require medical care because you have a condition that puts you at greater risk for severe illness, your health care provider may tell you to continue to isolate until tests confirm you have recovered from the virus.
If your COVID-19 swab is negative, you may end self-isolation once your symptoms improve and you feel well. Please book a phone appointment with your doctor or call 811 if you have further questions.
If you do not get tested for COVID-19 when recommended when you become sick, then you should self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from symptom onset. You may then end self-isolation after 10 days as long as you are feeling well.
See these summary sheets from the Doctors of BC association on managing COVID-19 symptoms at home and school.
How do I self-isolate?
- BC CDC recommendations on self-isolation
- How to isolate at home when you have COVID-19
- Provincial Health Officer order re: travellers returning from outside of Canada Mar 17/20
- Government of Canada Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act: mandatory isolation/quarantine for travellers returning to Canada
Work/School Absence Notes:
As per instructions from the Minister of Health and the Provincial Health Officer on March 12, 2020 we will NOT be providing customized notes/forms for work absence due to sickness, nor will we do COVID-19 swabs unnecessarily.
If necessary consider showing this letter from Doctors on Hastings to your employer, along with the COVID-19 sick note from BC Family Doctors. You could also show them The Canadian Medical Association (CMA)’s formal statement of March 15, 2020 advocating for employers to stop requiring sick notes.
The Ministry of Health and the BC CDC have also instructed schools NOT to require a doctor’s note to confirm an individual’s health status regarding illness and absences. In addition: “Students and staff who experience symptoms consistent with a previously diagnosed health condition can continue to attend school when they are experiencing these symptoms as normal. They do not require re-assessment by a healthcare provider and should not be required to provide a health-care provider note. If they experience any new or unexplained symptoms they should seek assessment by a health-care provider.” (see pg 16-17 of COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings). If your school/daycare is requesting a doctor’s note, please show them these guidelines outlining when the Provincial Health Officer has declared a note is not required. If the school/daycare continues to require a specific doctor’s note, please book a phone appointment with your family doctor.
We will be adhering to the screening guidelines issued from the BC Center for Disease Control. Please note work/school notes and forms are not covered by MSP and the patient is responsible for the costs of these requests.
If you are not sure if it is safe for you to return to work/school
1. If you are having symptoms of an infection, book a phone appointment with your doctor to discuss further.
2. If you are feeling well and had been previously working prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns but are uncertain about your safety at work, we recommend the following:
- Talk to your employer about your concerns to find a solution. Worksafe BC and our public health agencies have worked to provide detailed safety guidance to employers. As per the Worksafe BC website: “Every employer is required to have a COVID-19 safety plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their workplace and implements measures to keep their workers safe.” If you continue to have concerns about the safety of your workplace, then contact Worksafe BC.
3. If you feel you have a medical condition that makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19:
- Find out more information about priority populations here.
- Book a phone appointment to speak to your doctor about your individual risk. If your employer requires a medical note about your health condition, please be aware this service is not covered by the Medical Service Plan and the patient is responsible for the cost of this (in many instances the employer will reimburse the patient for the cost).
- Given the novel nature of COVID-19 and the evolving medical evidence, for many conditions there are no clear guidelines about specific risks or recommended work restrictions.
- If you are pregnant and otherwise healthy, current evidence shows you are not at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 or getting severe complications compared to non-pregnant women of the same age. If you are asymptomatic you are able to continue to work and are recommended to follow the same public health precautions for your workplace as non-pregnant workers. Further information and evolving updates can be found at the BC CDC website and the Society of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists of Canada’s statement on pregnant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic (updated Nov 19/20). However, if you have additional risk factors, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, you may be at higher risk and require special workplace accommodations. If you are uncertain about your risk level, please speak with your doctor.
- If you have Inflammatory Bowel Disease further information on assessing your individual risk level can be found at Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s website
- If you have diabetes, the Canadian Diabetes Association has updates on Diabetes and COVID-19, including a letter for employers
- BC’s school re-opening plan has been designed to enable most children who have immune compromise or chronic medical conditions to still be able to receive in-person instruction with safety measures in place (see pg of 2-3 of COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings). However, children with medical conditions that place them at significantly higher risk of severe complications of COVID-19, such as recent organ transplant, severe immunodeficiency, on high dose steroids, or receiving chemotherapy, should take extra precautions and stay at home as much as possible. In these cases you may need additional medical documentation for your school to provide appropriate accommodations. Further information can be found on the BC CDC website and on these handouts:
How do I protect myself, my family, and my community?
- Hand wash (at least 20 secs when washing) & hand sanitize frequently. Avoid touching your face. Cover your mouth & nose when coughing/sneezing. Regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Social distancing (try to keep 2 metres from other people). Avoid crowded areas. Stay home when you are sick and in general at this crucial time stay home. Avoid non-essential outings; please follow current Public Health recommendations. We can all do our part to “flatten the curve.”
- Hold the line. “This virus is unforgiving to unwise choices”
- For immunocompromised patients on medications for rheumatologic diseases
- Canadian Thoracic Society position statement regarding the use of face masks in individuals with chronic lung disease
How to manage stress related to the COVID-19 outbreak
- Managing Anxiety and Stress in Families with Children and Youth During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- 7 Tips for talking to kids about COVID-19
- COVID-19 parenting tips
- Headspace app
- Mindshift Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Ten Percent Happier – Coronavirus Sanity Guide
- COVID-19 and Anxiety
- Foundry – free & confidential virtual drop-in counselling sessions by voice, video and chat to young people in BC ages 12-24 and their caregivers
- Child & Youth Mental Health (CYMH) teams across BC
- Here2talk – free & confidential mental health support (including counselling) available to all students currently registered in a B.C. post-secondary institution, available 24/7 via app, phone and web
- COVID-19 resources offered by the Canadian Mental Health Association
- Virtual Mental Health Supports During COVID-19 – BC resources