By Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association
We all continue to follow the daily updates from the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry and the Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, and hope for good news. So far, physical distancing seems to be working in our Health Authority and in BC as a whole. The increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 has not been as rapid or as extensive as it might have been, and this is undoubtedly due to the extensive measures in place to stop the spread between individuals and within the community. The challenge will be to continue to physically distance, practice excellent hand hygiene, and avoid touching our faces in the days, weeks and months ahead.
We need to remember that the virus does not move, but rather people move the virus. This means that staying at home in our community is very important as a way to stop transmission. If you need to travel to a different community, you should be following all of the recommended precautions strictly. Similarly, if you know of people who are coming to visit here, for example those who have a second home on Salt Spring, please ask them to be extremely cautious so as not to bring the virus to our Island. Our local hospital is part of the Island wide system of care with plans for the care of patients with COVID-19 but our local resources are limited and can easily be exceeded. We do not have an intensive care unit (ICU) and patients requiring ICU care need to be transported off island – a challenge due to limited transportation resources.
Many community members are asking if they should be wearing masks and gloves. We recommend that individuals follow our public health specialists’ advice. Masks have not been proven to be effective at preventing community spread as they primarily reduce the spread of droplets into the air from infected individuals. They do not prevent the most common route of transmission, which is by touching surfaces on which infected droplets have come to rest, and then touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes). Hand washing is still the best protection, whether one wears gloves or not.
Islanders have risen to the occasion by staying home, physically distancing themselves, and following the advice and directions from Dr. Henry and Mr. Dix. We know this is hard on people and on island businesses. However, we all have a key role in keeping ourselves and each other healthy and safe.