Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), which includes the Powell River region, is expanding access to COVID-19 testing as the Province of British Columbia moves to the next phase of its COVID-19 testing strategy.
According to a media release, anyone in the VCH region with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild, can now be assessed for and get a COVID-19 test. Testing can be done through a primary care provider, walk-in clinic, urgent and primary care centre or community collection centre, the release stated.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the common cold. They include: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, painful swallowing, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue or loss of appetite, according to the VCH media release.
While testing has expanded, not everyone needs a test. COVID-19 testing is not recommended for people without symptoms.
Those with symptoms of illness can contact their physician or nurse practitioner’s office, or a local community collection centre to arrange for a test, or by calling 811.
While any individual with symptoms can be tested, those in the following groups will receive priority:
· Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
· Individuals requiring admission to hospital or likely to be admitted, such as pregnant individuals near term, patients on hemodialysis, or cancer patients receiving radiation or chemotherapy
· Health-care workers
· Individuals with a higher probability of being infected with COVID-19 such as contacts of a known case of COVID-19 and travellers just returned to Canada.
· Residents of remote, isolated or Indigenous communities
· People living in congregate settings such as work camps, correctional facilities, shelters, group homes, assisted living and seniors’ residences
· People who are homeless or have unstable housing
· Essential service providers such as first responders
The medical health officer may recommend testing for others, such as those who are part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak.
For more information on COVID-19 and testing, go to vch.ca/COVID19.