Our COVID-19 Policies and Responses | Learn More

Our Response to COVID-19

Updated June 20, 2022

At Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic (GSWC) and Sunshine Coast Health Centre (SCHC), the health and well-being of our clients, staff, and their families continues to be our primary focus during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Since Phase 1 of COVID-19 in our province, British Columbia, in 2020, we’ve been taking appropriate health measures and following 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 continue to go beyond our 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.

We have developed protocols and plans for varying stages of public health orders for COVID-19 in BC to ensure there are minimal interruptions to the therapeutic schedule and daily operations. These protocols allow for admission of new clients to our residential programs to continue, but with additional requirements and restrictions.

As accredited and licensed facilities, we continue to work with our local health authority to ensure 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 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 men’s programs at Sunshine Coast Health Centre (SCHC), see our Short Process page.

Pre-admission Screening of New Clients

Prior to admission into 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.

  • Clients are encouraged to be fully vaccinated prior to arriving to GSWC. Staff will support client in receiving vaccination while at GSWC if desired.
  • All new admissions are pre-screened over the phone prior to admission on site.
  • Clients are encouraged to travel by car to our facilities. We have arranged for Sober Coaches to transport clients to our facilities if needed for both BC and Alberta.
  • New clients to GSWC will remain in their own private suite with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room until testing is complete. Clients may access common areas at Tidemark Residences while wearing a mask and properly social distancing.
  • New clients may access daytime programming at our Cliffside Building once testing is complete and clear.
  • Restrictive measures and additional quarantine requirements have been put in place for clients arriving by air.

Visitors, Family Weekends, and Alumni Support Meetings

Family Weekends and alumni support meetings continue to operate online. Family and alumni phone support continues.

  • 1-on-1 phone and virtual sessions are being offered to family members by our Family Counsellor in place of Family Weekend.
  • 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 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 and mask use.
  • All clients wear medical face masks when outside of their suite or in vehicles.
  • 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.
  • Group fitness classes take place inside or outside with appropriate social distancing.
  • Yoga and meditation classes take place inside or outside with appropriate social distancing.
  • Clients are now able to go on offsite outings to low-populated public areas or privately-booked local businesses. Clients and staff are encouraged to wear masks when in these establishments.
  • Client trips for essential goods have been re-instated. Clients and staff are encouraged to wear masks when in these establishments.
  • Clients in isolation due to testing positive for COVID-19 are provided with virtual access to 1:1 sessions, group therapy, and other group sessions and workshops. Tablets are provided to clients in isolation who need devices for virtual access.
  • All vehicles used for client travel are fully cleaned and sanitized after each trip.

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.
  • New bistro area created to ensure social distancing during meal times at Residences.
  • 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.

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 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.
  • Coronavirus/COVID-19 information sessions and information packages provided to all staff.
  • 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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