B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix provides update on coronavirus at the B.C. legislature, March 16, 2020. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

New phone lines, self-isolation guide for COVID-19 in B.C.

Doctors to be paid for ‘virtual care’ services online

With B.C.’s 8-1-1 HealthLink line overburdened with requests for information on the COVID-19 coronavirus, the province has set up a new dedicated information line and is offering an online self-assessment service for people who want to check their health status.

The toll-free phone line is open at 1-888-268-4319 (1-888-COVID19) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. seven days a week for non-medical information about the virus. That includes the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, as well as access to support and services from the provincial and federal governments.

The B.C. health ministry has also established an online self-assessment tool for people to determine if they need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. The online survey can be done by people for themselves or on behalf of a someone else who is unable to.

RELATED: B.C. hospitals postponing all elective surgeries

RELATED: Passengers can stay in their cars on B.C. Ferries

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Monday that doctors will be compensated for “virtual care” services, online or over the phone, to help deal with a surge of patients as the virus spreads through the community.

“Further, we are moving to restrict visitors in long-term care to essential visits only,” Dix said. “Essential visits include compassionate visits for end-of-life care and visits that support care plans for residen and family needs; for example, families who routinely visit to provide assistance with feeding or mobility.”

• Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s latest order limiting mass gatherings to 50 people can be found here.

• B.C.’s updated testing strategy and self-isolation guide is here.

• The B.C. Centre for Disease Control advice on protecting yourself and the community is here.


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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