Written by Dr. Aamir Bharmal, Medical Health Officer, Population and Public Health

As of Dec. 1 all employees who have not received a flu shot and reported it must wear a mask in all patient care areas. Confused about what counts as a patient care area? Read on to find out.

It’s time to keep calm and wear a mask in patient care areas if you have not received a flu shot.

Our Influenza Control Program Policy went into effect on Monday, December 1. This policy requires all staff, physicians, dentists, midwives, nurse practitioners, volunteers, students, contractors and visitors to be vaccinated against influenza or wear a surgical procedure mask when in a patient care area during flu season, starting December 1.

Managers are now following up with employees who have not yet reported or reported that they will be masking to ensure that surgical procedure masks are being worn appropriately in patient care areas.

Confused about what counts as a patient care area under the policy?

A patient care area is defined more broadly than you might think. It is considered to be any location within a health care facility, including contracted facilities, hallways and lobbies, which are accessible to patients, residents or clients who are there to access care or services. It also includes any other location where care is provided, such as home and community care locations, including a client’s home. If you have not received and reported your flu shot, you must wear a mask in all of these areas.

It does not include locations such as administrative areas or private offices, which are not generally accessed by patients, residents or clients. You are not required to mask in these areas.

Not sure how to wear a mask properly? Watch this video for mask-wearing tips.

Haven’t reported yet? Here’s what to do.

  1. Wear a mask. If you have not reported, or have reported that you will be wearing a mask this flu season, you need to wear a mask now, and continue to wear a mask for the remainder of the season in all patient care areas, or until you report your flu shot.
  2. Get your flu shot. You can still get your flu shot from your family doctor, pharmacy or walk-in clinic. Remember to bring your BC Care Card if you go to a pharmacy or walk-in clinic.
  3. Report your decision. Once you have received your flu shot (regardless of where you received it) or have chosen to decline vaccination and wear a mask for the duration of the flu season, you need to report it. Here’s how:
How do I report?
You are a: Report your flu shot or decision to mask to:
Employee Influenzareporting.org
Physician/ Medical Staff Medicalstaffhealth.phsa.ca
Volunteer Volunteer manager or coordinator
Contractor Supervisor or manager
Student Instructor

Visit our Fraser Health influenza page and FH Pulse influenza page for more information or email your questions to influenzaquestions@fraserhealth.ca.

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