(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

Chemainus Fire Department members ventilate smoke at the former Kinney Clothing Co. location after a call Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Andrea Rondeau)
Fire crews ventilate smoke at former Kinney Clothing Co. location

Industrial floor sander dust collection bag overheats

The Chemainus Theatre Festival’s Playbill Dining Room reopened to host small musical performances. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus Theatre receives Island Coastal Economic Trust funding

Project will involve recording and live-streaming Playbill Presents series content

Beautiful morning with the sun peaking through, as viewed from Thetis Island. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)
November characterized by a record high, no snow and plenty of rain in Chemainus region

Temperature almost hits the 20 degree Celsius mark on Nov. 4

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
CVRD considers options for fireworks after receiving complaints

District only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

Chemainus author Robyn Gerland. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Gerland shares personal story of the season

Chemainus author’s offering features in Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas publication

12-year-old Ella Smiley captured some video of orcas on a sea lion hunt on Nov. 28 at Kitty Coleman Park, just north of Courtenay. Photo by Ella Smiley
VIDEO: Orcas hunt sea lion near Vancouver Island shoreline

Twelve-year-old Ella Smiley, of Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings, caught up with a… Continue reading

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

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

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

(Needpix.com)
Fraudsters projected to use pet scams to gouge over $3M from customers: BBB

The pandemic heavily contributed to the number of puppy scams

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former B.C. pro hockey player frustrated with COVID-deniers after horrific bout with virus

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

An air ambulance leaves West Coast General Hospital for a trauma centre at 9:50 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12 after a Port Alberni youth was injured in an accident on the Somass River. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO
COVID-19 outbreaks at pair of Vancouver Island Hospitals

Saanich Peninsula Hospital in Saanichton and West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni affected

Most Read