BC widens testing for Covid-19 by adding five new symptoms

    BCCDC testing far lower than national average.

    Vancouver – As BC approaches wider opening under phase 3, the BC Centre for Disease Control says it has expanded testing to “find new cases and prevent spread of COVID-19 in the community.”

    The widening of testing is achieved by adding new symptoms of Covid-19. People with mild symptoms of these listed symptom can be tested without a doctor’s note.

    “As of June 18, the list of symptoms for COVID-19 was expanded and now includes some less common symptoms. Anyone with symptoms, however, mild, can get tested for COVID-19,” BC CDC stated on a statement on its website.

    The list of individual symptoms is now so wide BC is almost at the edge of universal testing. The strategy changed on June 18 without any announcement by the government but will be likely addressed by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix at Monday’s public briefing.

    BC was already testing members of the public since April 16 for even mild cases of 13 symptoms but now has added five more symptoms.

    Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones. Symptoms include:

    • Fever

    • Chills

    • Cough or worsening of chronic cough

    • Shortness of breath

    • Sore throat 

    • Runny nose

    • Loss of sense of smell or taste

    • Headache

    • Fatigue

    • Diarrhea

    • Loss of appetite

    • Nausea and vomiting 

    • Muscle aches

    While less common, symptoms can also include:

    • Stuffy nose

    • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

    • Dizziness, confusion

    • Abdominal pain

    • Skin rashes or discoloration of fingers or toes.

    “If an individual has no symptoms, they do not require a test. A medical health officer or clinician may also decide whether a person requires testing.”

    A doctor’s note is not required.

    You can simply visit a testing centre such as one located in Burnaby’s Central Park.

    “You can use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need further assessment for COVID-19 testing by a healthcare provider or at a local collection centre. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to,” BC CDC stated.

    “While anyone can get tested, some symptoms can also be signs of other conditions or medical issues and you may need to seek medical care. If you are unsure whether to seek medical care or get tested, contact your health care provider, call 8-1-1 or use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool.”

    You can also call 8-1-1 to find the nearest testing centre.

    Numerous jurisdictions are now testing widely in their communities across Canada. That dragnet testing is encouraged by many scientists as a way to prevent spread by tracking and isolating spreaders who may not be symptomatic yet.

    Alberta and Manitoba as well as Ontario have encouraged anyone who wants to be tested to do so. No symptoms are required.

    Unrestricted testing may come to BC if the government believes it’ll help during the phase 3 opening that is expected this week.

    BC’s infection rates currently are low, with lower hospitalizations and new infections, according a situation report published by the BC CDC. The death toll stands at 168, slightly higher than Alberta’s 152 fatalities.

    The biggest problem BC faces is from infections spreading through elder care facilities such as Holy Family Hospital in Vancouver where 29 residents and staff are infected. Care homes  have generated the highest number of BC’s deaths. As well, a vast majority of deaths in Canada have also come from senior facilities and acute care outbreaks.

    According to John Hopkins University figures Canada has 102,762 infections 8,466 deaths.