oneVCH COVID-19 Bulletin
May 22, 2020
Bulletins are also available on the COVID-19 section of our VCH staff intranet.
If you receive a media inquiry or see media at any of our locations, please contact our Public Affairs team. Our media line is 604-202-2012 or email
  • 18 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C.
  • Total of 2,507 laboratory confirmed cases in the province. 
    • Vancouver Coastal Health: 888
    • Fraser: 1,236  
    • Interior Health: 194
    • Vancouver island: 127
    • Northern Health: 62
  • 41 hospitalized 
  • 8 currently admitted to ICU
  • 2,042 have fully recovered
  • 155 confirmed deaths
Click here to see more updates on the BC COVID-19 Dashboard

Use of non-medical masks in managing community transmission of COVID-19

There has been a great deal of attention paid – and rightly so – to the use of medical masks and other PPE in healthcare settings in recent months. But there has been increasing talk about the use of non-medical face coverings, often made of cloth, in public settings, such as on transit.
This week, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has recommended wearing homemade non-medical masks or face coverings in the community when it is not possible to consistently maintain a two-metre physical distance from others, particularly in crowded public settings. However, PHAC has indicated local public health officials should make their own recommendations based on a number of factors, including the rates of COVID-19 infection and transmission in their community, so recommendations may vary from location to location.
In the Vancouver Coastal Health region, we currently have very low rates of community transmission of COVID-19 and have managed to flatten the curve better than many other jurisdictions in Canada. Because of that, we are telling the public that they may choose to wear a non-medical mask when in public, but we are not recommending it.
The most important thing is that you do not come to work or go into a public setting if you are sick, whether or not you are wearing a mask, even if it is medical grade. Stay home, unless you must attend a medical appointment or go for COVID-19 testing.
Keep in mind that non-medical masks may prevent you from exposing others to your own droplets, but will not necessarily decrease your own risk of infection. Any mask will have minimal effect as a protective measure if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing.

Please read the full memo here.

From Dr. Patricia Daly, Chief Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health
Q&A: Non-medical masks 

When should I consider wearing a non-medical face mask?

In public settings where it is difficult to keep a safe physical distance for an extended period of time, such as taking transit, you may consider the use of a cloth face mask or covering, but it is not required. Non-medical masks may prevent you from exposing others to your own droplets, but will not necessarily decrease your own risk of infection. Any non-medical mask will have minimal effect as a protective measure if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing, and could offer a false sense of security.

I work in a VCH office or other workplace where I do not have direct contact with patients, should I wear a non-medical face mask while on the job? What about in non-clinical areas such as staff rooms?

Wearing a mask in an office environment is not recommended or necessary when other infection prevention and control measures are in place. For Vancouver Coastal Health workplaces, Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) provides this guidance and safety plans are being created for each workplace in accordance to WorkSafeBC’s latest guidelines. Also keep in mind: Never wear a non-medical mask into a patient-care setting, and please don’t take medical masks home for your personal use. These masks are an essential part of PPE protocols and supplies are limited. 

Downtown Eastside COVID-19 testing site is moving

As of Monday, May 25, VCH’s DTES COVID-19 testing site, previously at 611 Powell Street, will be moving to a new location at 429 Alexander StreetVancouver. The new location will continue to offer testing and all the same services on a walk-in basis to serve those within our vulnerable DTES population presenting with COVID-19 symptoms. More details available here.

New Address:               429 Alexander Street                                   
Hours:                            Monday to Friday
                                       10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.)
Phone:                            778-886-4081
Richmond Palliative Care Unit provides exceptional patient care during pandemic

At the beginning of the pandemic, Richmond Hospital's Palliative Care Unit — home to some of VCH's most vulnerable patients — was temporarily moved to accommodate COVID-19 surge and capacity planning. While the team has now returned to their original location, they demonstrated incredible flexibility and dedication in providing exceptional care to their patients throughout it all.

We reached out to Lara Musa, Patient Care Coordinator and Educator in the Palliative Care Unit, to learn more about her experience during the pandemic.

Read the full story here.

PPE portraits: How a Vancouver art project is honouring front-line workers

Check out this CTV Vancouver story on an artist and occupational therapist who created a series of portraits honouring frontline health-care workers wearing there PPE — and see if you can spot your Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care colleagues!
Broadway shuttle & TransLink services return to regular schedule

As we begin to restart our services, VCH remains committed to providing safe and convenient commuting options and supports for staff. 

Shuttle services - In order to ease the pressure for VGH staff riding the #99 bus during the morning commute, the inter-hospital shuttle will run until the end of June between the Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain and VGH​

TransLink - has returned to regular scheduled services and implemented changes to ensure physical distancing is respected. They have enhanced cleaning practices to help prevent the spread of infection. Read the latest updates here.

If transit service changes are affecting your ability to get to work, please let them know: send feedback to Translink.

Thank you for your continued hard work and commitment during this critical time. For more information and the latest transportation staff supports, visit the parking and transportation intranet page. For additional support, please contact VCH’s Healthy Transportation Lead at

Reminder: Password required for all new and recurring Zoom meetings

Beginning May 26, 2020, a password will be required for all new and recurring Zoom meetings. Meetings and webinars booked before May 26, 2020, will not require a password.

What you need to do
If you have set up recurring meetings or webinars, you will need to edit the meeting to include a password befoer May 26, 2020. This will ensure minimal disruptions to your meetings. Setting up a meeting password requires:
  • Editing your existing meetings to include a password
  • Informing your meeting participants of the password
To set up a password for your upcoming or recurring meeting refer to the Setting Passwords User Guide.

Support and resources
User guides have been updated with instructions on how to set meeting and webinar passwords. For the most current information and security tips for staff and physicians, please visit:
A user guide for patients and clients that outlines how to join a meeting by computer or mobile device can also be found on the VCH website.
Frontline staff thank Richmond RCMP

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health care professionals have been so humbled by the cheers and support during the 7 p.m. cheer. Richmond’s Community Health Access Centre (CHAC) wanted to pay this forward by thanking another community partner who has been instrumental during this pandemic: the Richmond RCMP.
“Our team wanted to give back: front line to the front line. They recognize that there are many partners in the community supporting our clients, caregivers and community to stay safe. The RCMP often walking into unknown and uncontrolled situations more than any of us in the frontline – putting themselves at the very front of the line every day. We thank the RCMP for their community support and partnership.  They have continued to support the community as they always have – professional, responsive and unwavering. No one organization can support a community on their own; it has taken a community of partners.” – Carin Plischke, Director, Home Health, Home Support, and CHAC.
The team put together the following video to demonstrate their appreciate and thanks:
More coping ideas from VCH employees

We have seen lots of examples of the power of music during this pandemic – and now we have an example of the power of dance from one of our primary care teams in Vancouver Community. Kelvin Bei, Nurse Practitioner from Raven Song’s Yellow Team, has shared that he and his teammates have embraced the power of dance by creating three-minute dance parties every day at 3 p.m. They let the pros guide them by tuning into a dance video and following along together at a safe physical distance.

Kelvin writes, “We have been having a blast laughing at ourselves and our silliness – all of which has helped to lift our spirits and boost our morale.”

Thank you for sharing these. Please send any other examples of care-mongering or coping tips to and we will continue to broadly share your highlights through this bulletin. Take a moment to let us know your inspiring and fun ways to keep caring and connected – it may be just what someone needs to get through their day!

For suggestions or feedback on Caring for our Community & Caring for Ourselves, please contact the People+Culture team at

To contact Employee Wellness/EFAP, please visit or email us at To get started with one of our services, please fill out this form.
The unsung 

Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin and an antiseptic. – John Henry

No one would argue that nurses and other direct-care providers have been heroes in this pandemic. They are a blessing beyond words. There are, however, some unsung heroes in our midst. Actually many. Today, I would like to thank two groups in particular.

I had a meeting today that reminded me of the incredible Herculean effort that has been made by our top leaders over the past two months. My eyes misted over more than once as I listened to some of what has transpired. We really could not be in better hands. We have been guided by persons of great intelligence, but also great heart! I believe they have saved many lives. To do this they worked longer hours than I had even imagined. They truly gave of themselves – their all. I offer them my deepest gratitude for their service and am very proud to be part of the same healing community as them.

I also had a meeting with our cleaner the other day. We often chat briefly, and every time I see him I think, he and his colleagues are also life savers. Long before the pandemic, I knew that the largest percentage of deaths in hospitals used to be infections. I am not sure of current stats, but their role in keeping us free of bugs is obviously of incredible significance and during a pandemic their importance is astronomical. Not only do they keep us safe, but they often have a friendly smile to lift our spirits and are very helpful. To them also, I offer them my deepest gratitude for their service. I am very proud to be part of the same healing community as them.

I suspect you are feeling the same gratitude as I am. If you are, permit me to encourage you to express it to the cleaners and to our leaders. Expressing gratitude is good for the soul – your soul and the soul of the one you are thanking. There is something holy about being in touch with that part of our self. It reminds us of how precious our unity and our teamwork really is. No one is expendable or insignificant. If we only knew the stories – so many stories which would cause us to say, Thank you – from the bottom of my heart.

Gratitude is the heart’s memory. – French proverb

Written by Doug Longstaffe, Profession Leader, Spiritual Care & Multifaith Services
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