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Exposure & Illness

Learn what to do if you have a possible or confirmed COVID-19 exposure, other illnesses or are returning from international travel.

The information outlines what do to in the following situations and includes return-to-work guidance and instructions for coding any time off. This does not cover all scenarios, for any questions or concerns please contact the PHSA Resource Line at 604-875-7244. 

General coding information:

  • If you are a self-serve employee, you must complete the Leave form in WFM (Workbrain) and select COVID19, Illness or other options as determined by your circumstances outlined below. 
  • All other staff (who aren't self serve) must follow regular PEARL or booking off procedures for their department/program.

The following are guidelines and actions for an employee who is asymptomatic but has been exposed, or potentially exposed, to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Exposure includes when someone:
  • on the team tested positive
  • in the building tested positive
  • in the workplace has symptoms of COVID-19
  • at home or community has tested positive or has symptoms of COVID-19
Although concerns about potential exposure is understandable, employees who do not have symptoms of illness are expected to attend work as usual.

The Provincial Workplace Health Call Centre (PWHCC) Occupational Health Nursing Team works closely with Public Health and Medical Health Officers to investigate confirmed cases. Learn more about the contact tracing process.

Notifications from Public Health

Public Health (on behalf of the Medical Health Officer) contacts any potentially impacted staff (and their managers). They will advise you of the next steps.

If you are contacted and informed that you are involved in a workplace exposure:
  • Self-monitor for up to 14 days
  • If directed to self-isolate, please refer to self-isolation guidelines on BCCDC’s website
  • If you get ill during self-isolation, refer to the sections on this page related to either: You have a positive COVID-19 test or You have mild respiratory illness (possibly COVID-19)

What to do

If you think you've been exposed to COVID-19:

  • If exposed outside of work call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1
  • If exposed at work, call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource line at 604-875-2155, or email occupationalhealthnursing@phsa.ca.
Keep your manager informed of your return-to-work status.

If self-isolation is required:
See the Self-Isolation guidelines and call PEARL 1-855-667-3275:
  • If asymptomatic, select Option 2 (COVID-19) and then, enter the number of days of self-isolation. 
  • If symptomatic, select option 3 (illness) and then enter the number of days of self-isolation

When to return to work

Follow the guidance provided by Public Health or the PWHCC and review BCCDC’s exposures and return to work for health care workers page.

Staff who are unsure about returning to work can call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line:
  • 1-833-875-2155 (toll free) or 604-875-7244 
  • Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Code/leave type

If you are asymptomatic and have been advised by the PWHCC and/or the Medical Health Officer (MHO) to isolate or get tested, you (self-serve employee), or your scheduler/timekeeper, should code your time as follows.

PHSA:   

  • FT/PT Reg - Paid General Leave
  • Casual – General LOA with compensation for any accepted shifts that were cancelled. 
BCEHS:

  • FT/PT Reg - General Paid LOA
  • On-Call - General LOA (100% of average earnings over preceding three months of employment. Your manager needs to email HR@bcehs.ca with dates employee will be off)

If test is completed and is positive for COVID-19, see Positive COVID-19 Test on this page. 

 
Follow the guidance provided by Public Health, occupational health nurse, PWHCC or your primary care provider. For more resources see the If you are sick guidelines on the BCCDC website.

What to do

You should not report to work. Call PEARL 1-855-667-3275 and select “PEARL Illness”. Remember to keep your manager informed of your return-to-work status.

If exposure occurred at work:

  1. Call PWHCC at 1-866-922-9464.
  2. Call WorksafeBC at 1-888-967-5377 to report the incident.

When to return to work

Public Health will determine when you can return to work. You may hear directly from Public Health or through an occupational health nurse.

Generally, the guidelines on the Testing for healthcare workers page on the BCCDC website are followed. However, there can be exceptions as determined by the medical health officer in public health.

Code/leave type

You (self-serve employee), or your scheduler/timekeeping, should code your time as follows.


PHSA:

  • FT/PT Reg - Paid Sick Leave or WSBC claim. If sick banks are empty, use other paid time or Unpaid COVID-19 leave (Code = UOS)
  • Casual – Unpaid COVID-19 leave (Code = UOS) with compensation for any accepted shifts that were cancelled. 
BCEHS:

  • FT/PT Reg - General Paid LOA
  • On-Call -  General LOA (100% of average earnings over preceding three months of employment. Your manager needs to email HR@bcehs.ca with dates employee will be off)
 
The following are guidelines and actions that apply if you have an illness with mild respiratory symptoms, potentially COVID-19 related, and Public Health has not contacted you directly about a known exposure.

Test results:
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, refer to the Positive COVID-19 Test section on this page. 
  • If you text negative for COVID-19, please refer to Negative COVID-19 Test section on this page.

What to do

If you didn't require testing, do the following:


  1. Before going to work call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line to discuss. 
    • 1-833-875-2155 (toll free) or 604-875-7244 
  2. Speak with your manager about operational needs and, if possible, work remotely.
  3. If advised to not report to work, call PEARL at 1-855-667-3275 and select “PEARL Illness”. 

When to return to work

Reach out to the group that informed you that a workplace exposure occurred, either public health or PWHCC.

Please follow the BCCDC’s guidance outlined on the Exposures and return to work for health care workers page, unless otherwise directed by Public health or PWHCC.

Code/leave type

You (self-serve employee), or your scheduler/timekeeper, should code your time as follows.


PHSA:

  • FT/PT Reg - Paid Sick Leave. If sick bank is empty, use other paid time or General Unpaid COVID LOA
  • Casual – General LOA with compensation for any accepted shifts that were cancelled. 
BCEHS:

  • FT/PT Reg - Paid Sick Leave. If sick bank is empty, use other paid time or General Unpaid COVID LOA
  • On-Call -  General LOA (100% of average earnings over preceding three months of employment.Your manager needs to email HR@bcehs.ca with dates employee will be off)
Test results
  • If you test is positive for COVID-19, please refer to the Positive COVID-19 Test section on this page. 
  • If you text negative for COVID-19, please refer to Negative COVID-19 Test section on this page. 
 
The following guidelines and actions apply if you have an illness unrelated to COVID-19 or received a negative COVID-19 test.

Do not report to work and recuperate at home until well enough to return. Ensure you check in with your manager/leader/supervisor.

Follow regular process for calling in sick using normal book-off procedures, for examples via PEARL, contacting supervisor etc.

When to return to work

At the discretion of the employer, you may return to work once well enough to work. You must wear a mask at all times until symptoms resolve and follow infection control recommendations for your site after that. (You do not need to wear a mask, if your symptoms are not associated with COVID-19.)

Code/leave type

You (self-serve employee), or your scheduler/timekeeper, should code your time as follows.

PHSA:

  • FT/PT Reg – Paid sick leave. If sick banks are empty, use other paid time or General Unpaid COVID LOA
  • Casual/On-Call – not eligible for regular sick pay
BCEHS:

  • FT/PT Reg –  Paid sick leave. If sick banks are empty, use other paid time or General Unpaid COVID LOA
  • On-Call  – not eligible for regular sick pay
 
If you have returned from international travel you must self-isolate of 14 days (incubation period).

If you are asymptomatic: 
  • “Essential” workers are permitted to return to work, provided they wear a surgical mask for 14 days following travel.
  • You may be directed to work from home during your period of self-isolation. 
If you develop symptoms in the 14-day period after your return abroad:

What to do

Contact your manager prior to your return to confirm if you are to self-isolate, work from home or return to work. 

If self-isolation is required, call PEARL 1-855-667-3275:

  1. Select Option 2 "COVID-19"
  2. Press “1”
  3. Enter # days of self-isolation 

When to return to work

You can return to work after completion of the 14-day self-isolation period, if asymptomatic, unless deemed essential and return to work is permitted.

Code/leave type

If you are asymptomatic and have been specifically advised by the PWHCC and/or the Medical Health Officer (MHO) to self-isolate, you (self-serve employee), or your scheduler/timekeeper, should code your time as follows.

PHSA:

  • FT/PT Reg 
    • Asymptomatic – Paid General Leave
  • Casual – General LOA with compensation for any accepted shifts that were cancelled. 
BCEHS:

  • FT/PT Reg - General Paid LOA
  • On-Call -  General LOA (100% of average earnings over preceding three months of employment. Your manager needs to  email HR@bcehs.ca with dates employee will be off)


SOURCE: Exposure & Illness ( )
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