If you are ill or feel like you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please call:
- Government of Canada Information Line: 1-833-784-4397
- HealthLink BC: 8-1-1
- NH COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line: 1-844-645-7811
CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Program: The CDC has information about the vaccine itself as well as how it will be distributed throughout the province.
BC Recovery Benefit: The Province has announced a one-time tax-free payment to eligible British Columbian's. Applications to access this fund will be open December 18th, and you must apply to access this fund. Eligibility is based on net income from your 2019 tax return.
Local Health Area Data: The BCCDC has added an up-to-date data by local health authority which provides COVID-19 cases for the most recent 7-day Sunday-Saturday period. To view this map, scroll down to the orange colored map labelled "Cases by Local Health Area".
Phases of Testing: the BCCDC has information about the four current phases of COVID-19 testing occuring in BC.
Information Sheet for Citizens and Residents Returning Home to Haida Gwaii: The Council of the Haida Nation released an information sheets for citizens and residents who plan to return home to Haida Gwaii. This sheet includes timeline information about Haida Gwaii's unique approach to preventing teh spread of COVID-19 as well as information about the current restrictions to non-resident travel.
Medical Assured Loading on BC Ferries: Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is using extraordinary powers under the state of provincial emergency to ensure BC Ferries can implement all procedures necessary to provide priority medical-assured loading on the first available vessel for any individual, their vehicle and an escort, as part of the Province's continued COVID-19 pandemic response.
Provincial Health Orders: This link will take you to the Province of British Columbia's COVID-19 update page. This page has the most up-to-date health orders and guidelines given by Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry.
BC Centre for Disease Control The BCCDC has many resources on their website that provide information on COVID-19 including information on how it spreads, how to prevent spread, symptoms, testing, common questions, those most at risk, and information on mental well-being during this time.
Northern Health: this link will take you to the page with health information and updates specific to the Northern Health service area.
HealthLink BC: This website provides 24/7 information and health advice.
The Government of Canada: This website has information and assistance for health, travel, and financial aid.
World Health Organization (WHO): This website will take you to the homepage of the WHO which has global updates and information on COVID-19.
Travel Restrictions: The Government of Canada provides information on current travel restrictions as well as information for those who are travelling.
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan provides a list of programs that the Government of Canada is taking to provide immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 24 weeks to eligible workers who have stopped working or whose work hours have been reduced due to COVID-19.
B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to people whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19.
Government of Canada COVID-19 App: This app works with smartphones to alert users of possible COVID-19 exposures and provides information for how to proceed if you believe you have been exposed.
Renters, Homeowners and People Experiencing Homelessness
Funding for housing supports are increased to ensure people can maintain their housing in the event of job or income loss.
- B.C. has halted all new and active evictions, except under exceptional circumstances
- Annual rent increases are frozen
- A temporary rent supplement is available
- Eligible households with dependents can receive up to $500 per month
- Eligible households without dependents can receive up to $300 per month
- The supplement is paid directly to landlords
- Applications for the supplement are open on the BC Housing website
B.C. Student Loans
Starting March 30, 2020, B.C. student loan payments are automatically frozen for six months.
- BC Hydro rates have been reduced by 1%, effective April 1, 2020
- BC Hydro residential customers who have lost their job or are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 will receive a bill credit of three times their average monthly bill
- This credit does not have to be paid back
- Eligible customers can apply for bill relief until June 30, 2020
- Small businesses in BC Hydro’s small general service rate category forced to close due to COVID-19 can have their power bills forgiven for electricity used between April and June 2020, with no repayment required
- Small businesses can apply starting the week of April 14, 2020 and have until June 30, 2020 to complete the application
- Residential and commercial customers can defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty through the COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program
- Customers experiencing job loss, illness or lost wages due to COVID-19 can access grants up to $600 to pay their hydro bills through the Customer Crisis Fund
- Customers on a monthly payment plan who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19 may defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty
- Residential FortisBC customers can sign up for the COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fundto automatically have their bills deferred from April 1 to June 30, 2020
- A repayment schedule, free of interest or additional fees, will be set up and payments can be spread over a full year
- For small businesses that have been forced to close, FortisBC will issue bill credits to offset any charges to their account while they have been unable to continue operating their business as usual
- Businesses that are still open, but facing a slowdown in revenue, will not receive bill credits but can also receive bill deferral for the same 90-day period
Mental Health and Addiction
Rehab4Addiction has a guide for better mental health during the pandemic.
The Palm Beach Institute has information and tips for helping those with substance addicition in COVID-19 social distancing times.
The Abbeycare Foundation has a guide for making decisions about choosing the right kind of treatment for addiction.
Northern Health Bulletin: Received a COVID-19 test result? What to Expect:
The recent surge in lab-confirmed COVID 19 cases in the Northern Health region is putting pressure on public health case and contact management (contact tracing) resources.
The number of new people testing positive for the virus is impacting public health‘s ability to quickly contact people who have tested positive. There is currently a backlog of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, but have not yet been contacted by public health.
Northern Health is deploying additional staff to its case and contact management teams, and making other necessary changes to how cases are notified, monitored, and cleared from self-isolation, to clear the backlog and speed up the process in the weeks and months ahead.
Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will receive a call as soon as possible from Public Health – this will not change. Northern BC residents who receive a message with a COVID-19 positive test result, should self-isolate immediately, along with those in their household; Public Health will be in contact with you. Rapid options for receiving COVID-19 test results (text or SMS) mean results may come well before a call from public health – which could take up to 4-5 days. We are working to reduce this time frame with additional staffing, and shifting the focus of detailed contact tracing.
Currently, contact tracing includes public health identifying and directly notifying all close contacts of every confirmed case. NH is shifting to gathering information on, and notifying, close contacts only in certain situations (including health care workers, including those in long-term care; cases related to industrial projects, and in First Nations communities, and; those that are part of a known cluster or outbreak). This will ensure public health can respond quickly to developing clusters of cases or potential outbreaks for those that are most vulnerable.
Rates of COVID-19 activity in the North during this second wave mean that all residents, whether or not they are known close contacts of a lab-confirmed COVID case, are at similar risk. For this reason, everyone should be following public health advice and orders, closely self monitoring for symptoms, and seeking testing if symptoms develop.
Public health will be also be reducing the frequency of calls to people in self isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, and not all people who are self-isolating will receive daily monitoring calls. Individuals may instead receive regular calls from their primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner), or get support by contacting the NH Online (Virtual) Clinic 1-844-645-7811. Public Health will continue to call all COVID-19 positive individuals at the end of their isolation period, to release them from the requirement to self-isolate.
Be kind, be calm, be safe.
We understand that this process may leave some individuals feeling uneasy or frustrated. For more information for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, and their close contacts, please visit this page on the Northern Health website.
As always, Northern BC encourages everyone to adhere to current Provincial guidelines and restrictions. If you are experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms, we continue to ask that you self-isolate, and contact your primary care provider or the NH COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line at 1-844-645-7811.