Dear Fellow Sunshine Coast Residents:
MAY 13 – With the May long weekend approaching, we want to encourage everyone on the Coast to stay local and to follow the current Public Health recommendations to minimize COVID-19 transmission risks. We are making good progress locally and across the province and we need to keep that going if we want to see things open up for the summer!
If you are thinking about visiting the Coast, we would encourage you to stay home until travel within B.C. has been opened up again. Although the current travel restrictions only prohibit travel between three provincial regions, the provincial health orders clearly advise everyone to stay within their local community unless you have an essential reason to travel (opening up your cottage doesn’t count).
The current restrictions are expected to remain in place until at least May 24, so please take these recommendations seriously and delay your plans until we are all cleared to travel. We do look forward to welcoming visitors again soon, but we would really appreciate it if you could wait until we are ready, willing and able to do so safely.
We are happy to report that our local COVID-19 infection numbers have dropped since our last update, with a decrease down to less than one positive test per day over the past week. While this is positive news, COVID-19 is still here on the Coast and we need to exercise every precaution to keep those numbers moving in the right direction.
On the vaccine front, we continue to make solid progress, with immunization clinics running multiple days per week. Over 17,000 people on the Sunshine Coast have now received their first immunization dose, and everyone 30 years and older (born in 1991 or earlier) can now book in for their vaccinations.
All adults over 18 are now eligible to register with the booking system. Please make sure to register at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca if you have not already done so. This will ensure that you will be notified as soon as you are eligible to do so.
As pregnant people have been found to be more susceptible to COVID-19 infection, all pregnant people ages 16 and up are now eligible to book for a vaccine. If you are pregnant and born in 2005 or earlier, please call the booking/registration line at 1-833-838-2323 and self-identify as a pregnant person.
If you are an Indigenous person born in 2003 or earlier (age 18 and older) and have not yet registered, please do so right away to ensure that you receive your vaccine in a timely manner. This also applies for anyone aged 16 to 74 who meets the criteria for being Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. If you have not received an invitation letter, please call 1-877-587-5767 to determine whether you are eligible. If unsuccessful through this route, please contact your family doctor. If you do not meet criteria, you will have to go by your age cohort.
If you received your first vaccine dose before April 6 and have not registered through the current booking system, please register now to ensure that you are notified when it is time for your second dose. You can register online at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca, by phone at 1-833-838-2323, or in person at any Service BC location.
It remains essential that we identify new infections as soon as possible, even for people who have been vaccinated. Please stay home if you develop even mild symptoms. Please arrange for testing right away if you have one of the key COVID-19 symptoms: fever, chills, new cough (or worsening of a chronic cough), difficulty breathing, or loss of sense of taste or smell. You should also get tested if you have two or more of the following symptoms for more than 24 hours: a sore throat, headache, extreme fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, and muscle aches.
The Respiratory Assessment Clinic remains open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you meet criteria for testing, please contact the Respiratory Assessment Clinic at 604-740-1252, or at email@example.com. You will only be tested if you have symptoms or Public Health has advised you to get tested.
While you are awaiting assessment or test results, you must self-isolate at home, ideally in a separate space where you can limit contact with other members of your household. You must continue to self-isolate until you have tested negative and your symptoms have resolved. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will have to continue self-isolating until you are cleared by Public Health. If you test negative, but continue to have ongoing or worsening symptoms, please contact the Respiratory Assessment Clinic to determine whether further testing is indicated.
Please remember that if you are a close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted directly by Public Health. A close contact is someone who spent a prolonged period of time in close unprotected contact with a person who tests positive. If you are not regarded as a close contact, you will not be contacted, but should continue to monitor closely for the above symptoms.
If you have more severe symptoms and believe you may need to be admitted to hospital, please go to the Sechelt Hospital Emergency Department. If you need an ambulance, please call 911. Please remember that the Emergency Department remains open and safe for anyone with a medical emergency.
Keep well and please keep doing everything you can to keep our community safe!
The Sunshine Coast COVID Physician Task Force
Dr Jennifer Baxter
Dr Ted Krickan
Dr Herman Mentz
Dr Brian Nelson
Dr Daren Spithoff