Covid 19 Updates, Information, and Resources

For current Covid-19 recommendations & prohibitions in BC, please read the current BC ordinance here.

Below is information about Covid-19, including changes we’ve made to our clinic as a result of Coronavirus, changes made at VGH, current best practice guidelines, and additional resources. We will try to keep this page as up-to-date as we can. As always, the health and safety of our clients is at the top of our minds as we contemplate best practice during this time.

Our clinic:

  • Per current BC medical directive, you must wear a medical mask (blue/white surgical mask) during clinic visits.  If you do not have a medical mask, we will supply you with one. Please store it in a paper bag and bring it to each clinic visit to reduce waste.  
  • At this point, we are pleased to be able to welcome partners back into our clinic. We ask that you do not bring children unless you cannot find child care. Please note we currently have no children’s toys or books at the clinic.
  • We can now offer all our visits as in-person visits. However, if you would be more comfortable reducing the number of in-person visits or shortening the in-person component of each visit, we are happy to accommodate you via zoom or Telehealth. Please let our MOAs Julia & Hatice know if this is your preference.

Births at VGH

For the health and safety of all hospital patients, VGH L&D has instituted the following changes:

  • Only 2 support people are allowed to attend each labouring person. Both support people must be wearing a medical mask at all times. 
  • No friends and family are allowed in the waiting area on L&D.
  • Only 1 support person is allowed on Mother-Babe, and it must be the same person for the duration of the postpartum hospital stay.
  • No visitors are allowed on Mother-Babe. Only parents are allowed into the NICU.

Home Birth

  • We ask you to limit the amount of support persons at home to two, and we ask that all support people remain masked. 

Please consider ways in which you can decrease the likelihood that you and your supports will be exposed to COVID-19 and other viruses. You are strongly encouraged to practice self isolation for the 2 weeks before your due date. Your partner / support person is encouraged to minimize their exposure to others in the community and their workplace.

Covid Vaccines while pregnant or breast/chestfeeding

  • As of May 3rd, pregnant individuals are able to book COVID vaccinations (Moderna or Pfizer) should they wish to do so.
    If you would like to book a COVID vaccine, please register online or call 1-833-838-2323 and press 2, then tell the person you speak to that you are pregnant. 
  •  If you are in your first trimester, you might consider delaying the vaccine until after 14 weeks for vaccination because one side effect of the vaccine can be  fever, and we know fever can cause problems for developing embryos. However, fever is more likely following the 2nd vaccine dose. If you do develop a fever at any gestation after receiving COVID vaccine, we recommend taking 500-1000mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 6 hours until the fever goes away.
  • If possible, it is best to avoid any other vaccinations for two weeks before or after the Covid-19 vaccine.  (The TDaP vaccine is generally recommended in the early third trimester; currently there are no Pertussis outbreaks in BC, so pregnant people might want to prioritize the Covid vaccine over TDaP should the timing overlap.)
  • The BCCDC has a new patient resource re: receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in pregnancy or while breast/chestfeeding. You can access it here. Current recommendations from The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) & The Society for Fetal Maternal Medicine (SMFM) are to offer every qualifying pregnant or breast/chestfeeding person the Covid-19 vaccine, encouraging them to weigh risks and benefits and recognizing that this is an informed choice decision. SMFM has a terrific information sheet here, and the SOGC statement is here. There’s another very thorough decision aid here, which was developed by US doctors at Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts.The SOGC has lots of information about Covid-19 vaccination in pregnancy here.We are also happy to discuss this further with you.

 

General Pregnancy, L&D, and Postpartum Guidelines regarding Covid-19

 

  • Pregnancy
  • The majority of pregnant people who contract Covid-19 have a mild course of illness. However, pregnant people are at increased risk for both contracting C-19 and experiencing more severe illness.
  • Covid-19 transmission to the baby in pregnancy seems unlikely. There have been a few case reports of possible transmission in pregnancy. Again, there is very limited data.
  • To date, there is currently no conclusive data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to COVID-19.

 

  • Postpartum
  • There is no evidence that the virus has been found in the breast milk of people infected with Covid-19. In the light of the current evidence, it is advised that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breastmilk.
  • Canadian pediatric policies support keeping mom & babe together, even in situations where the birthing person has tested positive for Covid-19 or is symptomatic. All babies born to COVID-19 positive mothers should have appropriate close monitoring and early involvement of neonatal care, where necessary. Babies born to people testing positive for COVID-19 will need follow-up and ongoing check-ups after discharge from the hospital.  A mother with confirmed Covid-19 or who is symptomatic with flu like symptoms should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to the infant, including washing hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while breastfeeding.

 

Other tips and information:

  • Wondering if you need to swab or self-isolate for Covid-19? Take the Covid-19 Self-Assessment Tool (We suggest downloading the free app for your phone.)
  • If you have any symptoms of Covid-19 including fever >38c, chills, coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of sense of smell or taste, headache,  muscle ache, and/or GI symptoms do not come to clinic but instead please call Island Health Call Centre at 1-844-901-8442 (Monday-Sunday 8:30am-4:30 pm), where you will be triaged to a testing centre. Current BC guidelines support testing anyone with symptoms, even mild symptoms. Anyone who is symptomatic & needing urgent obstetrical assessment will be assessed at VGH.
  • As a reminder, the best way to protect ourselves and our community from Covid-19 are really simple:
  • Hand-washing – Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after touching your face, before eating, and after using the washroom. This is the best way to prevent transmission of any virus. If a sink is not available, the next best option is hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol content.
  • Avoid touching your face if possible. COVID-19 and other viruses are spread through coughing and sneezing, but also by touching surfaces that the virus is living on and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. 
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose immediately.  Alternatively, folks can cough or sneeze into their sleeve.
  • Physical Distancing—As much as reasonably possible, keep two arms-lengths (one yours, one the other person) apart from others.

 

Thank you for your understanding during this time. We recognize that this is a changing situation, and our guidelines may change to reflect best practice recommendations as they continue to evolve. Please do not hesitate to call our office at 250-590-7605 if you have any concerns.

“Be kind, be calm, be safe.”
–Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry