B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks on pandemic response at the B.C. legislature, May 6, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. begins broad COVID-19 survey, with option for antibody testing

Database of health, work impacts to guide public health

The B.C. Centre for Disease control has launched an online survey to measure the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s work, health and habits, and the level of “community immunity” to the novel coronavirus.

The survey launch comes as Health Canada has approved an antibody test to measure the immunity of people who have recovered from COVID-19, some of whom may not know they were exposed.

“This is a collaboration with all of our medical health officers, our public health officers around the province, the provincial health services authority, as well as my office,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in her daily update May 12. “And the information we gather will help inform the decisions we make in the weeks and months ahead.”

The survey is anonymous, using the University of B.C. secure research tool used in medical studies. It offers participants options to sign up for antibody testing using LIAISON, a test method now approved by Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Any B.C. resident aged 18 or older can take the COVID-19 survey, with the option of doing so anonymously or providing a B.C. medical ID number confidentially for follow-up and possible antibody testing. It takes about 15 minutes to complete, and is open until May 31.

“The B.C. Population Health Survey has been developed as a result of the continuing global spread of COVID-19, which will require ongoing public health surveillance and response activities in the coming months of 2020,” the BCCDC says on its website. “The unintended impacts on the social, economic, physical health, mental wellness and resiliency of communities are not well understood.”

The survey ends with an option to join the COVID-19 Community Immunity Assessment by providing a blood sample to labs testing for the virus, which are adding antibody testing now that a test has been approved by Health Canada.

Participants can also sign up for the COVID-19 Early Warning Network, allowing them to notify public health officials of symptoms they experience, to more quickly identify regions of B.C. where public health measures can be taken to control future waves of infection.

RELATED: Health Canada approves test for COVID-19 antibodies

RELATED: B.C. records just 7 new cases as reopening inches closer

RELATED: ‘Community immunity’ testing uses B.C. patients

Questions include age, gender, B.C. community of residence, and whether you have been “sick with a new or worsening cough and/or a fever” since January 2020. The survey also asks if participants received the seasonal influenza vaccine that was available this past fall and winter, and if they have been in close contact with anyone who has been diagnosed positive for COVID-19.

It asks if participants have been tested one or more times for the novel coronavirus, or have travelled outside B.C. since Jan. 1. Participants are asked if they are health care or other essential workers, including grocery store employees, transit drivers, law enforcement, first responders or social workers who serve the public or patients directly.

It surveys use of common preventive actions such as frequent hand washing, making only essential trips outside of the home, working from home or wearing a mask. It also asks where you get your information on COVID-19, including newspapers, radio and TV, the BCCDC and other provincial health websites, family doctor or the 8-1-1 health information line, social media and friends and family.

There are questions about exercise, sleep, food and alcohol consumption, chronic health conditions, disabilities, smoking and perceived changes in anxiety, depression or irritability since the pandemic began.

The survey also asks if participants have had difficulty getting health care, or have avoided seeking health care, and if they are interested in remote health care using video or phone calls.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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