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We understand that the quickly evolving COVID-19 situation is a cause of deep concern in our community. As the situation evolves, the District of Tofino will be assessing additional measures and is committed to communicating with the public. The following page includes public health links and resources from Vancouver Island Regional Health Authority, Provincial and Federal Health Ministries and important information on how to stay safe during COVID-19.

On COVID-19 Public Health page you'll find the following information:





This FAQ provides additional Tofino-Specific resources related to Public Health.  If you are unable to locate the information you are looking for here, please navigate to one of the other COVID-19 Information tabs above.

I have COVID-19 symptoms what do I do?

  • Please stay home. Use the online self-assessment tool at, contact 8-1-1, or contact your primary care provider.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be provided with guidance from Island Health’s Public Health team about what to do in your unique situation.
  • When a person tests positive for COVID-19, a public health nurse interviews them to identify people who may have potentially been exposed to the COVID-positive person. This process is known as contact tracing.
  • Public Health will determine which potential contacts need to be notified and inform them of what actions to take.
  • A close contact exposure means face-to-face contact for an extended period of time with a person who is infectious.

Learn more about how contact tracing works:

What happens if someone tests positive in Tofino and their symptoms are more serious?

  • Decisions about patients and their symptoms will be determined by health care professionals.  Patients requiring a higher level of care may be transported to a hospital in a larger centre, such as Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, which has been designated a regional COVID cohort site.

Why isn’t the public notified of positive cases in Tofino?

  •  Contact tracing from Island Health’s Public Health team ensures anyone with a potentially close contact exposure to a confirmed case is followed up with. A close contact exposure means face-to-face contact while a person is infectious for an extended period of time. When public health officials cannot be certain they have reached all those who need to be contacted and there may be a risk to the public, they issue a public notification.
  • Public notifications about exposures can be found here:

Why didn’t my friend/colleague/acquaintance get contacted?

  • As stated above, contact tracing from Island Health’s Public Health team ensures anyone with a potentially close contact exposure to a confirmed case is followed up with. A close contact exposure means face-to-face contact while a person is infectious for an extended period of time. If you have not been deemed a close contact by Public Health, there is no need for you to be contacted. However, everyone should remain vigilant in monitoring themselves for symptoms.

What if I do not have COVID-19 symptoms?

  • If you do not have symptoms, you do not need a test.  Please continue to monitor for symptoms and follow public health guidance regarding handwashing and physical distancing.

I’m worried about COVID-19 and need more guidance.  What can I do?

  • Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available 7:30am-8pm, 7 days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

I’m a visitor and I heard there are cases in Tofino, should I stay or should I go? 

  • This is a personal decision based on your comfort level. If it is determined that there is an ‘outbreak’ in our community, further direction will come from the Medical Health Officer as the situation proceeds and Island Health will communicate appropriate public health safety information.

I have a non-COVID-19 related medical issue.  Should I avoid medical assistance?

  • Please don’t avoid medical care if you need it.  Please seek care for all medically related issues. Health care facilities have stringent measures in place to ensure they are a safe place to seek care.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak that began in December, 2019.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.

However, some people who get COVID-19 become seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. Older people and those with underlying medical conditions are most at risk.

If you have symptoms or are otherwise at risk, use the online self assessment tool to determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.

Support App & Self-Assessment Tool -

What should I do if I have symptoms?

The Province has provided multiple options for community members experiencing symptoms, including:

Where Can I Access Medical Care?

As always, Call 9-1-1 for ANY medical emergency.

How Do I Prepare for a Pandemic?

Be Prepared, Not Scared

Tofitians are used to preparing themselves for emergencies like tsunamis and earthquakes, but in this unprecedented time, how do you prepare yourself for the impacts of Covid-19?

There are practical things you can do to prepare in case you or someone in your household is asked to self-isolate.

Caring for someone with COVID-19? See the Provincial Guide "COVID-19 Pandemic – Be Prepared, Be Well: How to care for yourself and others". 

Make a plan that includes:

  • Essential supplies (a few weeks' worth) on hand so you will not need to leave your home if you become ill.
    • Avoid panic buying. Tofino’s supply chain remains strong, so shopping once a week for necessary items is your best course of action.
    • Renew and refill your prescription medications by calling ahead to local Pharmacies.
  • Alternative arrangements in case you become ill or if you need to care for a sick family member. For example:
    • Have backup childcare in case you or your usual care provider become ill.
    • Stay in contact with loved ones via phone, text, email and social media.
    • Talk to your employer about working from home if possible.
  • Reduce your exposure by avoiding crowded places. For example:
    • Stay home when possible.
    • Elect one person to do grocery shopping for your household.
    • Keep two metres apart when in public.
What is 'Social Distancing'? Does it work?

Social distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. By slowing the spread of the virus, we can prevent our healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed, which may prevent avoidable deaths and allow those who require care to access it.

The province has already implemented some ‘social distancing’ initiatives by issuing orders to close bars and large gatherings, however there are things you can do right now to “flatten the curve” (slow the spread of the virus).

What is Social Distancing?

The best way to slow down the spread of this virus is for everyone — healthy, sick, young, old — to limit social contact as much as possible. This is called social distancing.

  • Social distancing means reducing contact with others.
  • Social distancing means keeping two metres apart when in public.
  • Social distancing means working from home and helping your employees to either stay home or to work from home.

What it’s not:

  • Having your friends over for dinner or for coffee is not social distancing.
  • Arranging play dates for your children is also not social distancing.
  • Visiting friends or family in long-term care homes or hospital is not social distancing.
  • Stopping at a grocery store to stock up after travel is not social distancing.
Why can't the District declare a Local State of Emergency?

On March 27th, 2020, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General issued a series of orders under the Emergency Program Act. These orders relate to actions that the Provincial government is taking to ensure a coordinated response to COVID-19 across BC, instead of a ‘patchwork’ of local bylaws, states of emergency, and decisions.  

All local states of emergency declared by local governments, other than the city of Vancouver, have been suspended. The District of Tofino is not permitted to declare a State of Local Emergency, and is thus not able to use the powers of the Emergency Program Act.

This means that the District cannot control or prohibit travel to or from our community.

See the full Provincial Government Release from March 27, 2020.


What Should I do in an Emergency?

In the event of an emergency, the most immediate danger should be addressed first.  

Locally Generated Tsunami:

For a local tsunami event, STRONG SHAKING IS THE WARNING. If you are in the inundation zone and feel an earthquake making it difficult to stand, "Drop, Cover, and Hold On", then evacuate to higher ground immediately.

A local tsunami can reach the shoreline in minutes and may not allow for an official warning to take place. In this case natural warning signs may be your only warning to take action, such as:

  • the strong shaking from the earthquake
  • a rapid and unexpected receding ocean below the expected low tide, or
  • a loud roar-like sound

To be clear, immediate life-safety is the priority when an earthquake is felt and/or the other natural warning signs of a tsunami are observed.

Self-directed evacutaion for a felt earthquake takes priority over a COVID-19 self-isolation / quarantine order.

Distant Earthquake/Tsunami: 

In the event of a Distant Earthquake the District of Tofino may receive a warning from the National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) or Emergency Management BC (EMBC).

In advance of a Distant Tsunami Warning, we recommend taking the following steps:

  • Talk to your friends and neighbours about what kind of physical distancing steps you can take to keep each other safe during an evacuation.  Some people will have transportation and mobility issues that will affect their ability to evacuate. 

  • Consider homes of friends or family that are above the inundation zone that you could evacuate to, and how to do so safely and with physical distancing (staying in separate rooms, maintaining distance between families). 

  • If you don’t have access to a safe, indoor space above the inundation zone, evacuate to high ground and be prepared to shelter in place in your vehicle.  

  • The Community Hall and top of Industrial Way are both designated high ground muster points. However, don’t get out of your vehicle, and be prepared to shelter in place by having plenty of fuel, your grab-and-go bag with extra supplies of food and water, warm clothing and blankets, and any specific items you may need (hand sanitizer, medications, mobility aids, pet food, etc.)  

  • If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or think you have the virus, evacuate above inundation zone and be prepared to self-isolate in your vehicle. 

  • Further instructions will be provided over social media, the local radio at 90.1 FM, the Voyent Alert system, or email. 


Learn the difference between a local and a distant tsunami at  

During an emergency event, the District of Tofino will make every effort to broadcast official tsunami alerts and information by email, telephone, and text message via the Voyent Alert! system, as well as by social media, outdoor sirens, radio and/or door-to-door contact if possible.  If you haven’t already, signup for emergency notifications now:

For resources on household emergency plans, how to build an emergency kit, evacuation maps, and more please visit:  

Where Can I Find Food Resources?

COVID-19 Provincial and Federal Health Updates

BC COVID-19 Dashboard

BC CDC Find information about COVID-19, how to protect yourself, your family and your community and what to do if you suspect you have the virus.

Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available 7:30am-8pm, 7 days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

BC COVID-19 UpdateFind BC's Response to COVID-19 including: financial tools, news, public health orders, next steps and other government services.

Government of Canada COVID-19 - Latest updates, precautionary measures and travel advice.

Island HealthFind information about COVID-19, links to the COVID-19 BC Support App and information specific to our health region.

What is the District of Tofino doing?

The District’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) began operating on March 6th, meaning that trained District staff  and agency representatives actively planned for upcoming challenges, response and recovery.

Although no longer operating an EOC, the District of Tofino continues to actively monitor information provided by Federal and Provincial agencies with regards to the spread and severity of COVID-19 and is now in the "transitional Phase" of our COVID-19 Recovery Action Plan. 

Right now, the District is focused on the following main goals:

  • Ensuring continuity of essential District services;
  • Promoting awareness and information to the public;
  • Taking precautions for safe and healthy workplaces;
  • Liaising with and supporting lead agencies; and
  • Planning for resiliency and recovery.


What should the public be doing? 

  • Stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
  • Wash your hands, maintain physical distance, follow public health orders and advice.
  • Stay informed with official sources of information such as the BCCDC, Provincial Health Officer, and District of Tofino.

We would like to thank everyone for taking steps to keep yourselves, your families, and our community safe. We know that this involves making difficult decisions about staying home, physically distancing from those you care about, as well as making very difficult business decisions.


Elyse Goatcher-Bergmann
Manager of Corporate Services
District of Tofino

*** Important Health Message***

Do you need help?  Reach out to someone for help if you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or struggling.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you are in an emergency.
Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) if you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be.
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