Patient and family member information about COVID-19 20/03/2020 Page Image Use this image as both the current Page Image and for News listings Image Caption Page ContentLetter to family members Families are key to our patients’ wellness. We are doing everything we can to keep you and your loved ones safe, healthy and connected. Together, we will continue to deliver the highest quality of care. Read a letter from Vice President of BCMHSUS, Lynn Pelletier (PDF).What is coronavirus or COVID-19? Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a new illness that has spread throughout the world and now been declared a pandemic. Information about the situation is changing all the time. For the latest reliable information, look at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website: www.bccdc.ca. Should I be worried about COVID-19? We are still learning about COVID-19. Some people who have it do not feel sick at all but others can become seriously ill. Most people with COVID-19 fully recover without the need for special medical help, but older people or people with health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and lung disease are more likely to become ill. We are taking steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to patients, visitors and staff at all our sites. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? The most common symptoms include:A high temperatureA new coughDifficulty breathingMuscle achesFeeling more tired than usualHeadachesSore throatRunny noseDiarrheaIf you think you may have symptoms, please take the BC Ministry of Health COVID-19 self-assessment tool at: covid19.thrive.health and follow the instructions based on your symptoms. Can I visit my loved one? To keep patients, families and staff safe, we are strictly limiting the number of visitors at the moment. Only visits that staff say are essential will be allowed. We understand that this may be difficult and thank you for your understanding. If my visit is essential, what are the next steps? If an in-person visit is allowed by staff, you will be screened for COVID-19. You might be asked questions about recent travel outside of Canada, symptoms of COVID-19 that you may have, or if you have had contact with a person who has COVID-19 or might have COVID-19. You will also be asked to be extra careful during your visit. This may include being asked to meet in a separate room, limiting the number of personal items you bring with you or wearing a mask.How else can I keep in touch with my loved ones? We recommend that you connect with your friends, family and loved ones through phones and technology for the moment. Staff will be able to help you with teleconferencing or videoconferencing where possible. May I still send gifts and other items to my loved one? To help limit the number of people in our buildings, we ask that people not send gifts or other items at the moment. How can I protect myself from COVID-19? You can take these simple, everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus and protect your health:Wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer, especially after being in shared spaces and before eating. Sneeze and cough into your elbow, not your hand.Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.Stay over two metres away from others and do not hug or shake hands. This is known as social distancing and helps prevent germs being passed from person to person. What steps are you taking to ensure I / my loved one will be safely cared for during the COVID-19 outbreak? In addition to limiting visitors, we are taking many steps to keep you or your loved one safe at this time, including:Staff are washing or sanitizing their hands frequently.We’re cleaning shared spaces very often and very carefully.Staff are safely disposing of items like gloves and masks to keep rooms and clothing free from germs.We are limiting the number and size of gatherings and outings. If a group or outing goes ahead, the size will be decreased to ensure there is a space two metres between patients to prevent the spread of germs.Information about outpatient clinics Our outpatient services, including the Regional Forensic Psychiatric Clinics, continue to remain open. Where possible, staff will meet with patients and families by phone or video. If not possible or appropriate, we continue to provide in-person care while following safety protocol. We are committed to ensuring you or your loved one continue to have access to quality care. If you are concerned about how COVID-19 may impact your/your loved one’s care at BCMHSUS, please contact your Regional Forensic Clinic.