Base Surgeon Update COVID-19

COVID-19 Infections still remain rare and less likely than our run of the mill Colds and Flus.
At present, there has been 1 case of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island tied to international travel.
Possible military COVID-19 cases or Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) given their symptoms and travel risk have been tested and all of these cases have been negative thus far on the island.

All members without symptoms do not need to contact or see anyone through health services.  Current government of BC direction for anyone returning from international travel is to self-isolate for 14 days.  This is to be arranged with your CoC.  Only members with symptoms need to be seen by Health Services and considered for testing.

If you feel unwell/sick with a fever, cough, sore throat,  or mild respiratory infection

  1. Stay at home, drink fluids, take over the counter medications to help with your symptoms limit your social contacts outside of your home and rest up.
  2. Contact your Chain of Command to discuss 2 days of sick leave or alternate work arrangements until you are fully recovered and can come back to work.

When to engage Health Services

  1. If you have travelled internationally or had close contact with a known COVID-19 infected person in the 14 days prior to becoming ill, do not go to work. For military members proceed to CFHSC(P) sick parade starting at 0730hrs to be seen in the designated respiratory screening clinic (access off main entrance by the flag pole)
  2. At the clinic you will be screened and assessed in a structured and thorough way by our team.
  3. If you are low risk (majority) you will be provided counselling on how to limit infectious risk, self-monitoring parameters and over the counter medications to help with your symptoms +/- sick leave as indicated
  4. If you meet criteria for COVID-19 testing; you may be swabbed.  We follow provincial guidelines for COVID testing.  At present >98% of swabbed individuals are negative and have a cold or other self-resolving respiratory illness.  Home self–isolation of the tested member and close contacts is indicated and will be prescribed.  A guidance handout will be provided for CoC on the various levels of self-isolation and the specific workplace considerations associated (like close contact isolation)
  5. If your swab comes back positive, your self-isolation/sick leave will be extended under the direction of BC Public Health.
  6. After hours all people in BC (military or civilian) can get information from BC Centre for Disease Control or by calling Healthlink BC 811.

If, at any point, your symptoms become severe (such as persistent shortness of breath) proceed to a hospital for evaluation.  Call 911 if it is an emergency.

Our Fleet CFHS providers are ready to respond to an infectious risk on Ship in a similar manner.

As a reminder hand sanitizer, masks and cleaning products are general supply items and CFHS cannot issue units these items while still providing the necessary health services to ill members.

COVID cases are increasing and will affect more CAF members, but the vast majority of these illnesses are expected to be mild and self-resolving.  The substantial measures being implemented are to protect the most vulnerable patients in our population including the elderly.  Thank you for your proactive and collective efforts in minimizing the COVID-19 risk for yourself and those around you.

Wash your hands frequently.
Stay home when you are sick.
Come for medical evaluation if you are getting worse or concerned.

Shawn Benninger

Maj Shawn J. Benninger
BScN, MD, CCFP, Dip Sport Med
ADMO, Flight Surg, Sub Med

Filed Under: Featured

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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