(Black Press Media file photo)

(Black Press Media file photo)

OPINION: Island Health doctors call on residents to ‘double down’ to slow spread of COVID-19

Positive cases increasing at a rate that causes concern for health officers

By Dr. Richard Stanwick, Dr. Charmaine Enns, Dr. Dee Hoyano, Dr. Murray Fyfe, Dr. Shannon Waters and Dr. Sandra Allison,

Island Health medical health officers

Now is the time to double down on our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We have watched the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks on the Lower Mainland over the past weeks. Until recently, the number of positive cases throughout Island Health remained relatively low. This was not by luck. It was the result of hard work by people in communities across our region who took their responsibility to prevent the spread of this virus very seriously, supported by Island Health’s staff working to control COVID-19.

To everyone who has taken their responsibilities seriously to protect themselves, their loved ones, and our health-care system, we thank you.

The number of positive cases across Island Health are increasing, and increasing at a rate that causes us great concern. In the last two weeks, we saw 117 new cases, compared to 24 new cases in the previous two weeks. We must turn this trend around.

READ MORE: At least 66 of the Island’s fall COVID-19 cases were people who travelled

Some of the recent Island Health cases came from Halloween parties and other group social gatherings. People at these events acquired the virus and subsequently spread it to others – in their families, with their friends, and in the workplace.

With the growth in cases, we cannot be more clear in our ask of you – to take action now. We need you to increase your vigilance and do not let down your guard. We can bend the curve down again by staying home when we are sick, sticking to our safe six, staying 2m/6ft apart from others, washing our hands frequently and wearing a mask when we cannot observe physical distancing of 2m/6ft.

Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, put new orders and recommendations in place that further limit social gathering by people within Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health. She has asked all residents of B.C. not to travel unless it is essential. Please stay in your home communities.

Since the beginning of September to the first week of November, 86 of the 133 cases in Island Health arose from travel – either islanders going somewhere or travelers coming here. The travel ranged from overseas, other parts of Canada, to the Lower Mainland. Further, these individuals passed the virus on to 11 others who in turn infected four more people. Some of this travel was deemed essential but not all.

READ MORE: B.C. premier calls for national COVID-19 travel restrictions

Now is not the time to travel outside of the Island Health region unless it’s essential, and it’s not the time to invite friends and family from outside of our region to visit or stay with us. Please stay close to home. It is easy to think we will not be the ones who transmit COVID-19 to others when we come back to the island, but the fact is, it could be any one of us who unknowingly acquires and spreads COVID-19 infection.

We know people need to find ways to stay connected. While we need to limit our social interactions so we can keep our schools and workplaces open – and keep each other safe in our homes and in our community – it is important that we do what we can to support each other. These are challenging times, particularly for those who may live alone. Please reach out to your friends and your loved ones who may be at risk. Let them know they are not alone and find ways stay connected to them virtually.

Now is the time to ask yourself the difficult questions. What is truly essential travel? Is now the time to sit inside with a friend or is it better to grab a coffee and go for a walk outside? Will taking a pass on the games night this weekend be a big deal?

We have flattened our curve, we can do it again, by all of us doing our part and taking the actions we know will keep us safe in the coming weeks and months.

Our sincere appreciation for everything you are doing to protect yourselves and your communities. We will get through this together by working together and doing what is necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In health,

Island Health Medical Health Officers

Dr. Richard Stanwick

Dr. Charmaine Enns

Dr. Dee Hoyano

Dr. Murray Fyfe

Dr. Shannon Waters

Dr. Sandra Allison

READ MORE: B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 11 deaths, 717 new COVID cases

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

CoronavirusIsland Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The new council for Hupacasath First Nation. From left to right: Councillor Ricky-Lee Watts, Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder, Councillor Jolleen Dick and Councillor Warren Lauder. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Hupacasath First Nation chooses new chief councillor, council

First change of leadership in a decade for Vancouver Island nation

A trailer with fire damage is taped off by the Port Alberni Fire Department at the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Fire knocked down at Wintergreen Apartments trailer

City is concerned about zoning, building code and fire code infractions surrounding the trailers

File photo of Gord Johns during World Oceans Day.
Courtenay-Alberni MP outlines priorities for federal budget

Universal pharmacare, affordable housing and Pacific wild salmon are some of the… Continue reading

Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Lukas Jirousek pokes the puck away from Grizzlies forward Henri Schreifels during a game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Sunday, April 11, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Career night for Castagna can’t lift Alberni Valley Bulldogs past Victoria

Back-and-forth affair between Bulldogs and Grizzlies ends 7-5 for visiting team

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read