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COVID-19

BC Ministry of Health

15-December-2020 Refresh of B.C.’s COVID-19 Emergency Health Provider Registry

Dear Health Professional,

I hope you are doing well during these challenging times. I am reaching out to you as you are a registrant with the British Columbia College of Social Workers, and I would like to ask for your help. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

As you no doubt know, our province continues to be significantly impacted by COVID-19, and it is challenging our health care system. The impact has been felt across several areas of the health care system, particularly within long-term and community care.

In the spring, we reached out to ask health professionals if they would be willing to assist in the COVID-19 response, and if so, to sign up on the COVID-19 Emergency Health Provider Registry (COVID-19 EHPR). The COVID-19 EHPR is an important part of BC’s plan to ensure the health care system is prepared to care for British Columbians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am reaching out now for two reasons:

  1. to ask those who may not have signed up for the COVID-19 EHPR yet but who would be willing and able to support the COVID-19 response to consider signing up with the COVID-19 EHPR; and,
  2. to advise those who did sign up that you will be receiving an email from HealthLink BC, asking you to confirm your continued interest in being on the registry and to provide any updates to your information that might be required.

Please consider if you would be willing to be deployed to support areas of need. If so, sign up on the COVID-19 EHPR at the following link: https://forms.hlth.gov.bc.ca/registry-covid-19. If you have questions about this process, please refer to the FAQs linked to the form or email healthlinkbc@gov.bc.ca for assistance. Be sure to include “COVID EHPR” in the subject.

When filling out the form, please provide as much information as possible and complete all sections to the best of your ability, including specific detail about your credentials, such as certifications/licenses. This will assist health authorities in ensuring they contact individuals appropriately. If you have general questions about the EHPR, please see the attached FAQ.

I know many of you have felt the physical, emotional and financial impacts of COVID-19. I want to acknowledge the challenging context within which you are managing. On behalf of the Ministry of Health, please accept my genuine gratitude for your willingness to consider joining this provincial registry to help your fellow colleagues, and British Columbians.

Sincerely,
Mark

Mark Armitage  MPA BSW
Assistant Deputy Minister
Health Sector Workforce and Beneficiary Services Division | Ministry of Health

08-May-2020 BC’s COVID-19 Restart Plan 

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/bc-restart-plan

16-April-2020 BC COVID-19 State of Emergency Extended

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EMBC0020-000697

Updated 03-April-2020 List of COVID-19 Essential Services

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/essential-services-covid-19

01-April-2020 – COVID-19 Ethics Analysis – Health Care Workers Duty to Care

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/covid-19/duty_to_care_during_covid_march_28_2020.pdf

31-March-2020 Provincial Health Officer Letter to Family and Social Supports Stakeholders

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/family-and-social-supports/covid-19/pho_letter_to_social_sectors_march18_2020.pdf

29-March-2020 BC Ministerial Order Enables Broader Use of Tech in COVID-19 Response

A new ministerial order under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) enables the broader use of communications tools for health-care workers and other public-sector staff who are responding to the COVID-19 state of emergency.

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020CITZ0005-000588

Ministerial Order No. M085

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/services-policies-for-government/information-management-technology/information-privacy/resources/ministerial_order_085_respecting_disclosures_during_covid-19_emergency__march_2020_pdf.pdf

27-March-2020 – BC List of Essential Services during COVID-19 Pandemic

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0020-000568

27-March-2020 – Provincial Health Officer – Long Term Care Facility Staff Movement Limitation

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/reports-publications/covid-19-pho-order-movement-health-care-staff.pdf

23-March-2020 – BC Provincial Health Officer COVID-19: Important Update

COVID-19: Important Update from the Provincial Health Officer March 23, 2020

The following expectations are for all regulated health professionals in British Columbia on behalf of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

This advice applies to regulated health professionals under the Health Professions Act when providing patient and client care in community settings. It does not apply to regulated health professionals when providing patient and client care in designated facilities or institutions regulated by the Hospital Act, the Health Authorities Act, the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, the Mental Health Act, or other relevant Acts.

Purpose I am writing this to you now to provide clarity on my expectations of all health professionals in our community during this extraordinary time. I recognize there has been confusion as the measures we have taken to prevent transmission of COVID-19 have evolved in the past weeks. The expectations outlined below are to assist in your decision-making as professionals to ensure we are all delivering the best and safest care to patients and clients through this evolving crisis. Your regulatory college will be providing more specific direction of how to apply the principles outlined below.

Expectations of regulated health professionals

1. All non-essential and elective services involving direct physical contact with patients and clients should be reduced to minimal levels, subject to allowable exceptions, until further notice.

2. Allowable exceptions can be made for time-sensitive circumstances, and emergent, urgent, and/or essential care to avert or avoid negative patient or client outcomes, or to avert or avoid a situation that would have a direct impact on the safety of a patient or client.

3. Where possible and appropriate, health professionals are encouraged to provide care to patients and clients via telephone and video technology.

4. Health professionals are in the best position to determine what is essential in their specific health practice. In making decisions regarding the reduction or elimination of non-essential and elective services, health professionals should be guided by their regulatory college, and the following principles:

i. Proportionality: Measures taken should be proportionate to and commensurate with the real or anticipated risk one is trying to prevent.

ii. The Harm Principle: Measures taken should attempt to limit harm wherever possible, taking into consideration all available alternatives, and the balance of differential benefits and burdens that result.

iii. Fairness: Persons ought to have equal access to health care resources, benefit ought to be offered preferentially to those who will derive the greatest benefit, and resources ought to be distributed such that the maximum benefits to the greatest number will be achieved.

iv. Reciprocity: Certain persons or populations will be particularly burdened as a result of a reduction in non-essential services. A such, patients and clients should have the ability to have their health monitored and it be revaluated as required.

5. Health professionals who provide emergent, urgent, and/or essential care must assess and screen patients and clients for symptoms of COVID-19. Unless direct physical contact with patients and clients is required, physical distancing of two meters should be maintained at all times. When direct physical contact is required for the care of patients and clients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, health professionals must use infection control practices including as appropriate personal protective equipment. Decisions regarding the reduction or elimination of non-essential and elective services should be made using processes that are fair and equitable to all patients and clients.

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we will continue to work together with you and all our health system partners to review emerging evidence to understand the most appropriate measures to take to protect all health professionals and the people in our care.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Henry MD, MPH, FRCPC Provincial Health Officer

15-March-2020 – British Columbia Ministry of Health Provincial Health Officer COVID-19 Letter

The following message is being sent to all health care workers on behalf of Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.

Dear health care worker.

As we continue our efforts to slow the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, advice regarding public health measures in our communities and health care settings is evolving quickly. Further to the message that was sent out on Friday, March 13, 2020, please review the following updates for health-care workers.

Requests for Information related to COVID-19

We are experiencing a significant increase in questions and calls by patients, physicians, health-care workers, and the general public for information on COVID-19.

In an effort to manage the volume of calls, particularly at those centres staffed by our nurses and physicians, please triage all initial inquiries to the following websites: BCCDC COVID-19 for the PublicBCCDC COVID-19 for Health Care Professionals, and HealthLink BC 8-1-1.

We will also be implementing several new avenues for citizens to access advice and information related to COVID-19 including a Government of BC dedicated phone line for questions that are unrelated to the health status of persons who are symptomatic or unwell.

Self isolation advice

We are asking health-care workers who return form travel outside Canada and are not essential to the delivery of patient care to self isolate at home for 14 days.

Health care workers who return from travel and are essential to the delivery of patient care may return to work but should take additional precautions to reduce the risk to their patients, colleagues, and the public should they become symptomatic:

  • Self-monitor daily for signs and symptoms of illness
  • Wear a surgical mask at all times and in all areas of your workplace
  • Follow Infection prevention and control protocols including diligent hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment when delivering patient care
  • Reduce close contact with other health care workers and avoid shared spaces where possible
  • Avoid close contact with others when travelling to and from work and between shifts
  • Self-isolate at home on days when not required at their workplace.

Additional precautions may vary by facility, health-care setting, or workplace based on the patient population being cared for and risk assessments made by regional or local public health officials, infection prevention and control experts.

Thank you for your all that you are doing during this difficult and evolving situation. We will be providing regular updates to you and your employers, so please continue to check your email and visit the BCCDC website regularly.

Bonnie Henry, MD

Provincial Health Officer

Office of the PHO

Ministry of Health