Our COVID-19 Policies and Responses | Learn More

Our Response to COVID-19

Updated June 20, 2022

At Sunshine Coast Health Centre (SCHC) and Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic (GSWC), our primary focus has always been and continues to be the health and well-being of our clients, staff, and their families. With the recent impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on a global scale, we recognize that it remains a primary focus for all of us.

As it pertains to COVID-19, we are taking appropriate health measures and following orders and recommendations from experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), World Health Agency of Canada (WHO), and our local health authorities. 

We have gone beyond standard protocols to ensure the necessary screening and prevention measures are in place so that our facilities are as safe as possible from coronavirus COVID-19 exposure. We continue to support our clients in-house and alumni at home wholeheartedly in their recovery. With the changes we made, there has been minimal interruption in daily operations, and admission of new clients to our residential programs will continue as planned with additional requirements and restrictions.

As an accreditated and licensed facility, we continue to work with our local health authority to ensure the superior Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures are in place. We follow best practices and continuously monitor them for updates. Our IPAC officers have appropriately prepared all staff on updated preventative measures for COVID-19 specific to their department as well as provided education and training on a company-wide level. A COVID-19 Response Team and Immediate Response Plan is in place in the event a positive test is received at SCHC or GSWC.

If you are looking for information on admission into our women’s programs at Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic, see our Short Process page.

Pre-admission Screening of New Clients

Prior to admission into SCHC or GSWC, we complete a specific COVID-19 pre-screening tool for new clients. We want to ensure that all clients being admitted to our facilities are screened for symptoms of coronavirus infection that could put not only our treatment community at risk, but also our small rural community in Powell River, BC.

  • Due to travel requirements, all clients travelling to SCHC by air are required to provide proof of vaccination.
  • Clients are encouraged to be fully vaccinated prior to arriving to SCHC. Staff will support client in receiving vaccination while at SCHC if desired.
  • All new admissions are pre-screened over the phone prior to admission on site.
  • Clients are encouraged to travel by vehicle to our facilities. We have arranged for Sober Coaches to transport clients to our facilities if needed for both BC and Alberta.
  • Clients will spend one night in our medical unit in a private room and perform COVID-19 testing. The next day, they will be shown to their room in the main residence unless additional withdrawal management is needed. New clients are required to wear a mask and properly social distance until test results come back.

Visitors, Family Weekends, and Alumni Support Meetings

Family Weekends and alumni support meetings still remain on online platforms. Family and alumni phone support will continue.

  • Onsite SMART meetings are now open to alumni. All alumni must complete a Visiting Alumni Agreement and Rapid Screening each time they come on site. Attendance to offsite meetings continues to be postponed. Additional group activities have been added to the schedule to address this sudden discrepancy.
  • Visitation available for family members or alumni (currently on hold).
  • Clients may go on day or weekend passes with family members if they meet all eligibility requirements (currently on hold).
  • Bi-weekly virtual sessions for family members are offered by Family Counsellor.
  • Virtual and some in-person meetings are being offered by our coaches and counsellors across Canada in place of the weekly alumni support meetings.

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene has always been important to us as a residential facility for individuals with varying health issues, of whom many are immunocompromised. Now with COVID-19, our dedication to proper hand hygiene practices is even more noticeable. We’ve taken the following measures to ensure that hand-hygiene best practices are adopted by everyone in our facilities.

  • All patients and staff are asked to use hand sanitizer immediately when they enter SCHC or GSWC.
  • Extra posted and virtual signage has been added throughout our facilities to remind and encourage both clients and staff to practice frequent and effective hand hygiene.
  • Increased the number of hand-hygiene stations in all of our facilities and buildings. Introduction of exterior hand-hygiene stations at all building entrances.
  • Increased frequency of hand-hygiene audits for staff and clients.
  • Provided education (or re-education) regarding hand hygiene to all clients and staff.

Client Health

We have a full medical team available to care for our clients’ health and are taking the following additional precautions.

  • Social distancing measures implemented in all common and shared areas with physical and virtual signage reminding clients of social distancing.
  • All clients wear medical face masks when outside of their bedroom or in vehicles.
  • All semi-private rooms have been changed to private rooms.
  • Daily health surveillance by our medical team allows for immediate care if a client is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or any other illness.
  • Group sessions are being held in the largest available rooms or outside to allow for appropriate social distancing.
  • Yoga, meditation, group fitness, and other group activities take place indoors or outdoors with appropriate social distancing and occupancy limits.
  • Clients are now able to go on offsite outings to low populated areas or in privately-booked local businesses. Masks are worn by staff and clients in vehicles going to offsite locations.
  • Client trips for essential goods have been re-instated in small groups of clients. Masks are encouraged when visiting these establishments.
  • All vehicles used for client travel are fully cleaned and sanitized after each trip.
  • Limits to number of clients in the pool, gym, and sauna at one time.

Dining & Meals

We’ve taken the following precautionary measures related to dining and meals to protect our clients.

  • Creating additional dining spaces to reduce client proximity during meal times. Staff provided alternative spaces for mealtimes and breaks.
  • Clients residing in our medical unit receive delivered meals and are provided snacks and drinks in a private kitchen separate from the rest of the facility.
  • Staff restricted from accessing dining areas to limit spread of infection from local community sources.

Facility Cleanliness

We have a team of highly skilled environmental services staff who keep our facilities clean and surfaces free of germs.

  • Extra cleaning shifts have been added to the schedule to ensure that all high-touch surfaces are cleaned frequently throughout the day.
  • We have increased how often we deep clean our facilities and have been distributing additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and antiviral products in all of our treatment facilities.
  • Ozone Sanitization implemented into our deep clean process and during room cleans between clients.
  • All office space decor and layout has been changed to allow for effective deep cleaning.
  • UV lighting and purification in HVAC system to destroy micro-organisms and contaminants.

Staff Precautions

We’ve recently taken the following precautionary measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection while staff is not at SCHC or GSWC to minimize the risk of coronavirus exposure in our treatment facilities.

  • All staff must be screened and have their temperature taken upon arrival for their shift.
  • All staff continue to wear medical face masks while working in facility spaces and vehicles with staff or clients.
  • Separate client and staff washroom facilities to limit spread of infection from local community sources.
  • All staff is required to immediately stop at a hand wash station as soon as they enter SCHC or GSWC.
  • Staff capable of working from home still continue to do so.
  • Coronavirus/COVID-19 information sessions and information packages provided to all staff.
  • Scheduled work travel and conferences postponed until further notice. Virtual conference participation taking place.
  • Staff returning from travel to both high-risk and non-high-risk countries must self-isolate for 14 days.
  • All staff is instructed to stay home if they or a family member have any symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19.
  • Staff is requested to socially isolate and distance themselves and their families as best possible.


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