Health & safety

Tips for staying healthy

The current precautions for COVID-19 are the same as for influenza (the flu) and other common respiratory infections.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve.
  • Dispose of tissues appropriately.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

If you have travelled lately or have been in contact with anyone who might have COVID-19 and you have any of the following symptoms, take steps to reduce the risk: fever, sneezing, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing. Seek medical guidance by calling your health care provider or HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 and follow their directions. Stay home if you feel unwell.

How do I know when to get tested for COVID-19? The BC government has developed a self-assessment tool to help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to. If you are concerned about the intensity or duration of your symptoms, please contact your doctor or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1, a free provincial health information and advice phone line.

You can also download some posters to put up in labs or work spaces that don’t already have signage:


FAQs

How do I know when to get tested for COVID-19?

The BC government has developed a self-assessment tool to help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.

If you are concerned about the intensity or duration of your symptoms, please contact your doctor or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1, a free provincial health information and advice phone line.

What can individuals do to prevent this virus from spreading?

At this time, there is no vaccine available yet to protect against this new disease. To help reduce your risk of infection HealthLinkBC advises people should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub to clean your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve.
  • Dispose of tissues appropriately.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

For further information on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit HealthLinkBC or BC Centre for Disease Control.

If I suspect I have the virus, what should I do?

If you have flu-like symptoms and have not been exposed to an affected region, follow normal protocols by staying at home, resting and minimizing your social contact. If your condition worsens, contact your health care provider or HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 for guidance.

If you have flu-like symptoms and have travelled internationally to an affected region, follow normal protocols by staying home and contacting your health care provider or HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1. Faculty and staff should visit their health care provider (family doctor, health care clinic). Students should call the on-campus Health Services or their local healthcare provider to make an appointment. Do not go to Health Services in person to make an appointment.

On March 17, the prime minister advised against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including the USA. In addition, travellers are required to stay away from work or school (self-isolate) for 14 days on their return home. In response, the university is temporarily discontinuing all university-sponsored outbound international travel, effective immediately.

Tell your health care professional:

  • your symptoms
  • where you have been travelling or living
  • if you had direct contact with animals (e.g. if you have visited a live-animal market)
  • if you had close contact with a sick person, especially if they had a fever, cough or difficulty breathing

If you are concerned about the intensity or duration of your symptoms, please contact your doctor or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1, a free provincial health information and advice phone line.

What do I do if one of my family members becomes sick?

Isolate the individual from others as much as possible and follow normal protocols.

When should I self-isolate?

BC's provincial health officer recommends the following:

  • On March 17, the prime minister advised against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including the USA. In addition, returning travellers are required to stay away from work or school (self-isolate) for 14 days on their return home. In response, the university is temporarily discontinuing all university-sponsored outbound international travel, effective immediately.
  • Those 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 with the individual. They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough muscle aches, difficulty breathing).

British Columbians should monitor their health while they are travelling and after they return. If you have any symptoms at all of a cold or influenza, even if they're mild, stay away from others. If you have been to areas where we know there has been transmission of COVID-19, call your health care provider or 8-1-1. Always tell health care providers about recent travel if you become ill after returning to Canada. 

Visit the Government of Canada website for more questions and for the latest  travel alerts

I am an international student. Where can I find information about health insurance?

If you decide to stay in Canada, it is very important to make sure you have adequate health insurance.  The cost of health care in Canada is very high for those without health insurance. All UVic students are required to have comprehensive coverage for the entire duration of their studies. For information about health insurance, contact International Student Services.

Has WorkSafeBC determined if additional precautions are necessary for faculty, librarians and staff?

WorkSafeBC continues to advise employers and workers to follow the recommended personal hygiene practices and to refer to the guidance of public health officials. The university’s response to COVID-19 is consistent with the recommendations from WorkSafeBC. See the latest information from WorkSafeBC.

Is it safe to receive parcels or packages in the mail or by courier?

Both the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization state the risk of spreading coronavirus via packages is low.  For handling packages, routine hygiene practices should be followed including:

  • Regularly clean and disinfect receiving surfaces
  • Dispose of exterior packaging in approved waste or recycling receptacles
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands after handling packages

If you choose to wear gloves when handling packages, ensure you do not touch your face with gloves on, dispose of them in an appropriate waste receptacle, and wash your hands immediately after removing gloves. 

What are the guidelines for those who need to self-isolate?

The BC provincial health officer gives the following advice for people who are self-isolating. If you need to self-isolate you should call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 for additional advice. While self-isolating:

  • Stay in a well-ventilated room, including an open window, if possible. Do not have other people come in the room.
  • Do not attend classes. Limit going in shared spaces. Try to keep a two-meter distance between yourself and others whenever possible.
  • Practice good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene.
  • If possible, have supplies dropped off outside your door to help avoid direct contact, and limit the number of people helping to take care of you.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Regular household cleaning products are effective against most viruses, and you can also use one part bleach to nine parts water as an effective disinfectant.
  • Use dedicated linen and utensils, which can be washed with soap and water and re-used. You do not need to disposed after use.
  • Dispose of any tissues, wipes, masks or gloves in a waste container lined with a plastic bag before disposing with other household waste.
  • Wash your clothes in hot water (between 60-90 °C) and then thoroughly dry them.

Staying in isolation can be difficult and lonely. If you are isolated, keep contact with friends and family through phone or computer.

How do I clean my cell phone?

The Government of Canada recommends cleaning high-touch surfaces frequently in order to reduce the risk of spreading disease and infection. Use a lint-free cloth lightly moistened with warm soapy water to clean the surface of your phone. Ensure moisture doesn’t enter any openings. Cleaning products and disinfectants may scratch your cellphone and can diminish the screen’s protective coating. 

Please check with your phone’s manufacturer for specific instructions on how to clean your particular phone model (e.g. Apple iPhone).

Is there a toll-free number I can call with questions about COVID-19?

The Government of Canada has a website dedicated to COVID-19 updates that includes information about updates, travel advice and pandemic preparedness. The toll-free number is 1-833-784-4397 with interpretation services in multiple languages. You can also email the government at phac.info.aspc@canada.ca.

Do graduate students have access to Telehealth?

Grad students who have a valid BC MSP number are eligible to use telehealth services to talk to a licensed physician online or over the phone. Their appointment with a physician will be covered by MSP. Learn more

Maintaining mental health

Are there any UVic resources to help with anxiety, stress or other mental health issues?

It's normal to feel stressed, sad, confused, scared or angry in a time of uncertainty and unpredictability. If you've noticed an increase in anxiety, be kind to yourself - you are not alone! Counselling Services offers free support to current UVic students over the phone: 250-721-8341. You can also call Multifaith Services: 250-721-8338.

UVic staff and faculty can find support through our employee and family assistance program (EFAP).

Download our handouts for:

Where can I find counselling support?

Students are invited to contact Counselling Services (250-721-8341) to find support options. Explore the Counselling Services website to find more information about wellness resources. UVic staff and faculty can access support through our employee and family assistance program (EFAP).

Other resources:

Proper hand washing

Watch hand-washing steps using the WHO technique

For the latest UVic information, please check this website for updates. If you have further questions not covered by these FAQs, please email .