Home page of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control assessment page, located at covid19.thrive.health (or search BC COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool). (B.C. Ministry of Health)

Coronavirus self-assessment soars in B.C., 1-888-COVID19 line picking up

Test kit distribution sped up as thousands call for information, testing

B.C.’s online self-assessment tool for COVID-19 rose to a million users within days of being launched, and people are starting to use the new toll-free line for non-medical information about the coronavirus outbreak.

The new services are to take some of the load off B.C.’s overburdened 8-1-1 HealthLinkBC line, which has been dealing with up to 4,000 calls per day this week and is struggling to provide advice from nurses on all medical conditions.

The 1-888-COVID19 line (1-888-268-4319) is to provide non-medical information and help people decide if they should seek testing. Health Minister Adrian Dix said by March 18 the new line had received nearly 2,000 calls per day. It also accepts text messages to 604-630-0300.

The B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool, a questionnaire on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website, went from 779,000 visits to one million in a single day this week, Dix said. Located at covid19.thrive.health (or search BC COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool), the web survey steps people through their symptoms, risk factors and travel history, and gives them recommendations.

RELATED: B.C. Transit cancels some routes, eliminates fares

RELATED: Canada-U.S. border expected to close Friday night

Managing demand for COVID-19 testing has also been a struggle, as B.C. ramped up from a few hundred tests per week to what Dix expects will be more than 17,000 in total by Friday. Tests are being limited to people showing symptoms, and existing cases continue to be tested to see when they are no longer shedding virus and can resume normal activities.

For those who need testing, Health Canada has changed regulations to speed up the distribution of two common test kits for COVID-19, with an interim order signed by federal Health Minister Patti Hajdu.

“This interim order may also help ensure Canadian access to other marketed COVID-19 related medical devices to treat, mitigate or prevent COVID-19, as necessary,” Health Canada said in a statement.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SD 51 aims to reach students online, working with families to get access to tech

Teachers have been contacting families directly to talk over students’ needs, outlook for e-education

FortisBC offers 90-day bill deferrals to customers impacted by COVID-19

Customers can apply for the relief program through the utility’s website

Grand Forks halves tax increase amid COVID-19

Council also voted to delay implementing increases to utilities until the fall

Christina Lake, Rock Creek cannabis growers see shared opportunity

Two companies in the Boundary have signed a letter of intent to work together in industry

Grand Forks and Boundary cancellations, changes due to COVID-19

This newspaper’s list of community events, institutions that change or cancel due to pandemic

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Blasting through the West Kootenay

80 years ago; ‘Pretty near all the people from Fruitvale were working on it’

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

Most Read