COVID Testing and Return to Work for Health Care Workers

Posted on: February 1, 2023

Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Reka Gustafson and Chief Medical Health Executive Dr. Ben Williams are providing some clarification around COVID testing and return to work guidance for Island Health staff and medical staff.

The five day isolation period for health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 remains provincial policy.  However, it is important to remember that the majority health care workers with respiratory symptoms do NOT need to test for COVID-19, and can return to work when their fever is resolved and they feel well enough to work.  

Testing is recommended for health care workers who are themselves at risk of severe disease and would be eligible for treatment, who are pregnant or who are hospitalized.  Please read:  When to get a COVID-19 test (  Otherwise, COVID testing for HCW is not recommended

Staff who do test positive for COVID-19 may be able to return to work before five days if their fever is resolved, they feel well enough to work and their manager or medical staff leader has determined they are required for safe operation of the service.  They should continue to adhere to recommended infection control precautions while at work. 

​Dr. Ben Williams,
VP, Medicine, Quality, Research & Chief Medical Executive


Dr. Reka Gustafson,
VP, Population and Public Health & Chief Medical Health Officer