How high is the risk of contracting the Coronavirus disease, COVID-19, in Vancouver and British Columbia?
Right now, the BC Centre for Disease Control advises that the risk to British Columbians continues to be low. More information and the most up to date information can be found on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
No cases of students, staff or faculty contracting the virus at home or abroad have been reported to the university. In the event of a confirmed case, information would be provided to the public by the relevant health agency, according to their protocols.
Information on the prevention, transmission, symptoms, and treatment of COVID-19 can be found at the Government of Canada website Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
The advice from health agencies is:
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
- If a sink is not available, 60-90% alcohol-based hand rubs (hand sanitizer) can be used to clean hands if they are not visibly soiled. Hand sanitizer has been placed in all classrooms and in each department around the campus. If hands are visibly soiled, you can use an alcohol-based disposable hand wipe to remove the dirt and then use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Do not touch your eyes/nose/mouth with unwashed hands.
- When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow, and then wash your hands.
- Stay home when you are ill to avoid spreading the illness to others.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick with an infection.
UCW has a senior-level committee developing plans and responses to the evolving situation. The university is also working hard to ensure that students, faculty and staff receive reliable and up-to-date information on preventive measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19. We have increased the distribution of hand sanitizers around campus and posted information to remind people of how to reduce the spread of infections.
Should students, faculty, staff or visitors who have travelled to affected areas remain at home for a period of time, after returning to Canada?
It is important for all travellers to monitor their health when they return to Canada. Canada and BC have just announced increased screening for people from Iran. Anyone travelling from Iran will be asked to contact their local public health authority within 24 hours of arrival and to self-isolate at home for 14 days.
UCW Student Services will be reaching out to students arriving for the Spring 2020 term from affected countries with more details about how this could affect their term start and precautions to take.
The Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control advises:
- Students, faculty, staff or visitors returning from Hubei Province, China stay home or self-isolate in their room alone for 14 days after they leave Hubei. They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing).
- Students, faculty, staff or visitors coming from Iran
- Students, faculty, staff or visitors who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing should stay home or self-isolate in their room alone for 14 days after their last encounter. Individuals should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing).
- Students, faculty, staff or visitors who have been in other parts of mainland China (outside Hubei Province) and other parts of the world (Iran, Northern Italy) where cases have been reported should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing) for 14 days after they leave. They do not need to self-isolate.
Those who develop symptoms during the 14-day monitoring period should immediately self-isolate (stay in a room that is not shared with anyone else) and call their health-care provider or the provincial health line 8-1-1 to discuss the need for testing and follow up.
More information on self-isolation is available on the Government of Canada website at: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/2019-novel-coronavirus-information-sheet-travelled-hubei-province-china.html.
Anyone concerned that they, or someone they have been exposed to, may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their health-care provider or call public health at 8-1-1. For more information and the latest updates, visit the BC Center for http://www.bccdc.ca.
University Canada West will take guidance from provincial and federal agencies on any travel restrictions. Students, staff and faculty travelling to China are advised to check the Government of Canada’s travel advice and advisories before travel.
What if a student can’t attend classes due to a travel ban or other reasons related to COVID-19 in their home country?
Students can defer their start of their studies to a later term. Students should work with their agent or Student Recruitment Advisor to request the deferral. The next terms starts in July 2020.
UCW is not distributing masks. Some members of our community may opt to wear masks, and we fully support their right to do so. We ask everyone to be respectful of students, faculty and staff who choose to wear masks.