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

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay, Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules for 60 days starting Saturday, April 4

Suspect arrested after allegedly setting house fire in Cedar

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road on Thursday

CVRD cancels all recreation and theatre programs through end of April

Community centre and recreation programs cancelled through end of April

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Ongoing list of Ladysmith COVID-19 cancellations and closures

Everything in Ladysmith that has been impacted by COVID-19

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Most Read