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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, unless otherwise directed by Public Health.

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 
  • 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 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 employees), or your scheduler/timekeeper, 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
  • Casual – General Unpaid LOA (not eligible for regular sick pay) 
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)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOS.
 
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 employees), 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 Unpaid COVID-19 Leave
  • Casual – General Unpaid LOA (not eligible for regular sick pay) 
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)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOS.

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 – General Unpaid LOA (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/Casual – General Unpaid LOA (not eligible for regular sick pay)
 

If you have returned from international travel you must self-isolate of 14 days (incubation period).

  • “Essential” workers may be permitted to return to work under very limited circumstances, based on an overall risk assessment which will be completed by the employee’s leader in partnership with Workplace Health and senior leadership. See What to Do section below.
  • “Essential” workers must be identified as such by the leadership of their organization in order to be exempt from the self-isolation requirements following international travel. It’s important to note that not every PHSA employee will be automatically considered an “essential” worker in this context. 
If you develop symptoms in the 14-day period after your return abroad:

What to do

Contact your manager prior to travelling to confirm if you are to self-isolate, work from home or return to the workplace. 
 
  • If you are unable to attend work due to the mandatory, post-international travel self-isolation period, you require a pre-approved leave.
  • If you are going to miss a scheduled shift, call PEARL at 1-855-667-3275.
Managers must consult with an occupational health nurse by calling the COVID-19 resource line (1-833-875-2155) before approving a staff members' return to the workplace.

When to return to work

Following the 14-day self-isolation period, you can return to the workplace as long as you are asymptomatic.
 

Code/leave type

Employee may use vacation, overtime banks, CTO or an Unpaid COVID-19 leave during the mandatory self-isolation period. 

Employees who do not have access to sick balances or have exhausted their sick balance should connect directly with their leader and/or human resources business partner to discuss options.

All employees may access unpaid COVID-19 leave (new leave under the Employment Standards Act) if applicable. For more information, see the Leaves & Timekeeping page. 

If you are asymptomatic you (self-serve employees), or your scheduler/timekeeper, should code your time as follows.

PHSA:
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Overtime, Unpaid COVID-19 leave
  • Casual –  Unpaid General Leave if applicable (Unpaid COVID-19 leave if applicable) 
BCEHS:
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Overtime, Unpaid General Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
  • On-Call/Casual – General Unpaid LOA
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOG.

The following guidelines and actions apply for employees who are asymptomatic but unable to attend work due to caring for a sick child or dependent adult who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19.
 

What to do

If your child or dependent adult has not been tested for COVID-19, review the BCCDC’s Testing Information.
  
Consider all possible child care options, similar to if your child was sent home with cold/flu symptoms. Review how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home.

Public Health will assess and advise if you must self-isolate. Employees should follow the direction provided by Public Health and inform their leader immediately. For more information, employees may contact the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line

Inform your manager and keep them updated regarding your return-to-work status. 

When to return to work

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

Employees who are unsure about returning to work can call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line.

Coding/leave type 

Collective agreement provisions apply. Please discuss your eligibility for Special Leave, Personal Leave and Unpaid COVID-19 leave with your leader and refer to the information below.

If an employee has been directed to self-isolate, General Paid Leave applies. Casual employees who are asymptomatic will be paid for pre-booked shifts during the isolation period. (CUPE casuals will receive 100% of average earnings over the precending three months of employment.)

Employees covered by a collective agreement may be eligible for Special Leave of up to 2 days. After Special Leave is exhausted (if applicable) employees may use banked overtime and vacation banks.

Non-contract employees may use CTO, banked overtime and vacation banks. Non-contract employees may also be eligible for Personal Leave.  

All employees may access unpaid COVID-19 leave (new leave under the Employment Standards Act) if applicable.

PHSA:
  • FT/PT Reg – Special Leave or Personal Leave if applicable, Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
  • Casual – General Unpaid Leave if applicable (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
BCEHS:  
  • FT/PT Reg – Special Leave if applicable, Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave) 
  • On-Call/Casual - General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOG.  

Special leave collective agreement provisions  

  • HSPBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) “to provide care to an immediate family member who has a serious illness”
    • Employees with a child/family member experiencing symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19 are eligible for up to 2 days of Special Leave. 
  • NBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) “to provide care to an immediate family member who has a serious illness”
    • Employees with a child/family member experiencing symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19 are eligible for up to 2 days of Special Leave.
  • FBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) may be used for a “serious household or domestic emergency including illness in the immediate family of an employee, and when no one at the employee’s home other than the employee can provide care for the ill immediate family member”
    • If there is no one else in the home able to care for the child/family member experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 other than the employee, Special Leave applies.
  • CBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) may be used for a “serious household or domestic emergency including illness in the immediate family of an employee, and when no one at the employee’s home other than the employee can provide care for the ill immediate family member”
    • If there is no one else in the home able to care for the child/family member experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 other than the employee, Special Leave applies.
  • CUPE: Special Leave (up to 2 days) may be used “in the case of illness or hospitalization of a dependent child of an employee, and when no one at the employee’s home other than the employee can provide for the needs of the ill child, the employee shall be entitled, after notifying their supervisor, to use up to a maximum of two days’ paid leave at any one time for this purpose”. 
    • If there is no one else in the home able to care for the child experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 other than the employee, Special Leave applies.
The following guidelines and actions apply for employees who are asymptomatic but unable to attend work due to caring for an asymptomatic child who has been directed to self-isolate or go for testing.

What to do

Consider all possible child care options, similar to if your child was sent home with cold/flu symptoms. Review how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home

If your child has not already been tested for COVID-19, review the BCCDC’s Testing Information.
 
Pending test results, employees do not need to stay home from work if a family member or household contact begins experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and goes for testing.

Public Health will assess and advise if you must self-isolate. Employees should follow the direction provided by Public Health and inform their leader immediately.  For more information, employees may contact the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line.

If self-isolation is required

See the Self-Isolation guidelines and call PEARL at 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
If possible, employees may discuss their eligibility to work from home with their leader (refer to the COVID-19 interim Remote Work Guidelines (PDF)).

Coding/leave type 

Collective agreement provisions apply. Please discuss your eligibility for Unpaid COVID-19 leave with your leader.

If employee has been directed to self-isolate, General Paid Leave applies. Casual employees who are asymptomatic will be paid for pre-booked shifts during the isolation period. (CUPE casuals will receive 100% of average earnings over the precending three months of employment.)

Should a member of the employee’s household, but not the employee, be directed to self-isolate, the employee may use vacation, overtime banks, or an unpaid COVID-19 leave.

Non-contract employees may also use CTO if eligible.   

All employees may access unpaid COVID-19 leave (new leave under the Employment Standards Act) if applicable. 

PHSA:
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave) 
  • Casual – General Unpaid Leave if applicable (Unpaid COVID-19 leave) 
BCEHS:  
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
  • On-Call/Casual - General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOG.
The following guidelines and actions apply for employees who are asymptomatic but have a family member or household contact who has been advised to self-isolate.

What to do

Pending test results, employees do not need to stay home from work if a family member or household contact begins experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and goes for testing.

Employees should continue to self-monitor their health while at work and will be required to follow the procedures outlined in the COVID-19 Becoming Sick Procedures (PDF) to control exposure and transmission.

Public Health will assess and advise if an employee living with the now positive household contact must self-isolate. If advised to self-isolate, employees must inform their leader immediately.

If self-isolation is required: 

See the Self-Isolation guidelines and call PEARL at 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
If the family member/household contact goes for testing and is positive, please refer to "Family member or household contact is positive for COVID-19" on this page.

When to return to work

If possible, employees may discuss their eligibility to work from home during self-isolation with their leader (refer to the COVID-19 interim Remote Work Guidelines (PDF)).

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

Employees who are unsure about returning to work can call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line.

Coding/leave type 

Collective agreement provisions apply. Please discuss your eligibility for Unpaid COVID-19 leave with your leader.

If employee has been directed to self-isolate, General Paid Leave applies. Casual employees who are asymptomatic will be paid for pre-booked shifts during the isolation period. (CUPE casuals will receive 100% of average earnings over the precending three months of employment.)

Should a member of the employee’s household, but not the employee, be directed to self-isolate, the employee may use vacation, overtime banks, or an unpaid COVID-19 leave.

Non-contract employees may also use CTO if eligible.   

All employees may access unpaid COVID-19 leave (new leave under the Employment Standards Act) if applicable.

PHSA:
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave) 
  • Casual – General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave) if applicable 
BCEHS:  
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
  • On-Call/Casual - General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOG.
The following guidelines and actions apply for employees who are asymptomatic but have a family member or household contact who has tested positive for COVID-19.

What to do: 

Employees who are living with a family member or household contact who has tested positive should follow the direction provided by Public Health. Public Health will assess and advise if the employee living with the now positive household contact) must self-isolate.

For more information, employees may call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line

If self-isolation is required: 

See the Self-Isolation guidelines and call PEARL at 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
Remember to keep your manager informed regarding your return-to-work status.

Employees caring for a family member with COVID-19 should review the how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home webpage.

When to return to work 

If possible, employees may discuss their eligibility to work from home during self-isolation with their leader (refer to the COVID-19 interim Remote Work Guidelines (PDF)). 

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

Employees who are unsure about returning to work can call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line.

Coding/leave 

Collective agreement provisions apply. Please discuss your eligibility for Special Leave, Personal Leave and Unpaid COVID-19 leave with your leader and refer to the information below.

If employee has been directed to self-isolate, General Paid Leave applies. Casual employees who are asymptomatic will be paid for pre-booked shifts during the isolation period. (CUPE casuals will receive 100% of average earnings over the preceding three months of employment.)

Employees covered by a collective agreement may be eligible for Special Leave of up to 2 days. After Special Leave is exhausted (if applicable) employees may use banked overtime and vacation banks.

Non-contract employees may use CTO, banked overtime and vacation banks. Non-contract employees may also be eligible for Personal Leave.  

All employees may access unpaid COVID-19 leave (new leave under the Employment Standards Act) if applicable.

Code/leave type 

If you are asymptomatic you (self-serve employees), or your scheduler/timekeeper, should code your time as follows.

PHSA:
  • FT/PT Reg – Special Leave or Personal Leave if applicable, Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave) 
  • Casual – General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave) if applicable
BCEHS:  
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave) 
  • On-Call/Casual - General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOG.  

Collective Agreement provisions 

  • HSPBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) “to provide care to an immediate family member who has a serious illness”
    • Employees with a child/family member experiencing symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19 are eligible for up to 2 days of Special Leave.
  • NBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) “to provide care to an immediate family member who has a serious illness”
    • Employees with a child/family member experiencing symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19 are eligible for up to 2 days of Special Leave.
  • FBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) may be used for a “serious household or domestic emergency including illness in the immediate family of an employee, and when no one at the employee’s home other than the employee can provide care for the ill immediate family member”
    • If there is no one else in the home able to care for the child/family member experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 other than the employee, Special Leave applies.
  • CBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) may be used for a “serious household or domestic emergency including illness in the immediate family of an employee, and when no one at the employee’s home other than the employee can provide care for the ill immediate family member”
    • If there is no one else in the home able to care for the child/family member experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 other than the employee, Special Leave applies.
SOURCE: Exposure & Illness ( )
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