Island Health wishes to remind everyone on Vancouver Island that if you are experiencing a medical emergency, we are ready to provide the care you need.
As you are likely aware, Island Health, like all health authorities in B.C., has taken significant steps to reduce occupancy in our hospitals to ensure we are best positioned to respond to COVID-19. The Provincial Health Officer has been clear that the majority of people experiencing COVID-19 or similar symptoms can manage them comfortably at home.
We are also incredibly thankful to the people of Vancouver Island who have heeded our call to avoid unnecessary trips to our emergency departments.
With that said, it is important that people who do require immediate care continue to seek it out. If you are experiencing symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath or serious abdominal pain, we want you to reach out for help. Call 811 for advice, call 911 or come to an emergency department if you believe you have an emergency issue requiring care.
We also understand that some people may be hesitant to come to a hospital or emergency department due to concerns related to COVID-19 transmission. We want to reassure people that we have strict infection prevention and control protocols in place and all of our hospitals remain a safe place for everyone to receive care. We have ambassadors in place at our hospitals who are screening each person as they arrive. Any patient with COVID-19 symptoms is being managed to ensure the safety of other patients and our staff.
We know many people are managing chronic disease and other health issues and it is important you continue to work with your health care providers on this. Take advantage of the significant expansion of virtual care, talk to your primary care provider, contact an urgent and primary care centre or call 811. It is okay to reach out and you can do so safely during this pandemic.
As ever, if you believe you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, do not attend a hospital unless you require immediate emergency care.
Use the BC Centre for Disease Control’s online self-assessment tool (bc.thrive.health) and self-isolate for at least 10 days. Call your primary care provider or 811 for advice if you are concerned about your symptoms. If you do plan to seek medical care, please call ahead to the site you plan to attend.