Symptoms, Testing and Isolation

Information for anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Online Self-Assessment Tool

Anyone who is concerned that they may have been exposed to, or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 can use the self-assessment tool to see if you need testing: bc.thrive.health.

The self-assessment tool is also available as part of the COVID-19 BC Support App, which provides regular updates, trusted resources and alerts to your mobile device.

Testing

If an individual has no symptoms, they do not require a test. Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones.  A healthcare provider may also decide whether a person requires testing.

The symptoms most commonly found with COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever (see below)
  • Chills
  • Cough or exacerbation of chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches

Less common symptoms of COVID-19 infection include stuffy nose, conjunctivitis (pink eye), dizziness, confusion, abdominal pain and skin rashes or discoloration of fingers and toes.

At this time, any physician or nurse practitioner can order a test for a patient with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms based on their clinical judgment.

Island Health COVID-19 Testing Call Centre

If you do not have a primary care provider please call Island Health’s COVID-19 Call Centre to be assessed to determine if you need testing:

COVID-19 Call Centre: 1-844-901-8442 (Mon-Sat 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. closed Sun)

Our COVID-19 Call Centre can experience high call volumes. Your call is important, so please stay on the line and someone will be with you as soon as possible.

Making a COVID-19 testing appointment

Appointments for COVID-19 testing must be pre-booked through a primary care provider or Island Health’s Call Centre. Testing sites are unable to accommodate unscheduled or walk-in visits. Find a testing site, also known as a collection centre, located throughout the health region, in North, Central and South Island. 

Waiting for test results for families and patients

If you have a family member with flu, cold or COVID-19-like symptoms, please find out about testing in your community. While waiting for test results, the person with symptoms needs to stay home. Family members who do not have symptoms do not need to stay home, and can continue their normal activities while continuing to maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from others and wash hands frequently.

Household contacts of people with symptoms who are not tested should self-monitor for respiratory symptoms. If you develop symptoms, please stay home and call 8-1-1 or visit bc.thrive.health for information.

What if I test negative for COVID-19?

After a negative COVID-19 test, there are self-isolation requirements for:  

  • those with symptoms. Continue to isolate until your symptoms resolve. If your symptoms worsen, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.
  • those exposed to a case of COVID-19.  Continue to self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with a case of COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started OR 14 days from when you started self-isolating, whichever is longer. If your symptoms worsen, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.
  • international travellers returning to Canada. You must continue to isolate for 14 days from the day you landed back in Canada. If you develop symptoms, you must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started OR 14 days from when you started self-isolating, whichever is longer. If your symptoms worsen, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.
  • health care providers. Check with your employer about self- isolation following a negative test and report any symptoms. Workplaces may have different return to work policies after a negative COVID-19 test.

Isolation

Self-isolation for people without symptoms

Self-isolation means staying home and avoiding situations where you could come in contact with others. 

That means do not have visitors and do not go to work or school, public areas, including places of worship, stores, shopping malls and restaurants. Cancel or reschedule appointments. If leave your home for medical care, do not take buses, taxis or ride-sharing where you would be in contact with others. You can use delivery/pick up services for groceries or other needs, but avoid face to face contact. Face to face contact means you are within 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) of another person.‎

Self-isolation resources

For information specific to underserved populations, including people living with mental illness or substance use and those who are unstably housed, see the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website.

For travellers. It is manadatory under the Quarantine Act that people in British Columbia from outside of Canada must self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their arrival and complete or register a self-isolation plan.

There are some individuals who are exempt from this order to provide essential services, but they still need to self-monitor for symptoms. 

Returning travellers that develop cold, flu or COVID-19-like symptoms are also required to self-isolate for at least 14 days or 10 days after onset of symptoms, whichever is longer. 

For close contacts. People who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 must stay home for 14 days after their last encounter. If you develop symptoms, continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started OR 14 days from when you started self-isolating, whichever is longer. 

If you develop symptoms

Individuals should monitor themselves daily for cold, flu or COVID-19-like symptoms. Those who develop symptoms should stay home and complete the self-assessment at https://covid19.thrive.health/ and follow the recommendations provided.

People with COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days after symptom onset, and your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications, and you are feeling better.

Self-isolation if you have respiratory symptoms

See: Self-isolation information from the BCCDC 

Updated July 3, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.

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