Dear Fellow Sunshine Coast Residents:
We continue to receive encouraging news regarding COVID-19 infections in British Columbia, with Dr. Henry confirming today that the number of hospitalizations dropped over the weekend. Please remember that this is a reflection of how effective our social-distancing measures were two weeks ago and that we must continue to practise social distancing if we are going to successfully limit COVID-19 on the Sunshine Coast.
It will be another few weeks before we know how successful our current measures are, and likely much longer than that before social-distancing measures can be lifted. Please continue to do everything you can to protect our most vulnerable!
As noted in previous Community Updates, we cannot comment on current COVID-19 cases on the Coast due to Public Health policy, but we should all continue to act as though it is here and spreading.
Please stay home outside of medical emergencies, work, and necessary tasks such as grocery shopping or picking up essential supplies or medications. Whenever possible, order online or by phone and arrange for delivery.
If you do have to go out in public, make sure to maintain at least two metres (6.5 feet) between yourself and anyone around you, wash your hands any time you touch a surface that may have been touched by someone else, and avoid touching your face unless you have just washed your hands (don’t forget to wash your hands after touching your face as well).
Canada’s top public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, is now suggesting that wearing a homemade mask while out in public may have some benefit as well. This is in recognition of increasing evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by people who are asymptomatic or are infected but have not yet developed symptoms.
If you decide to wear a homemade mask, remember that you must still be vigilant about all the other measures noted above. Make sure you wash your hands before touching your face or mask, and make sure to replace your mask immediately should it become wet or soiled.
One other exception to staying at home is getting outside for fresh air and exercise. This is vitally important for everyone to maintain physical and mental well-being, as long as we maintain social distancing and avoid gatherings of more than five people.
For some tips on staying active during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.transportationchoices.ca
We also want to remind everyone that all of our medical clinics on the Coast remain open and that virtual or phone appointments can be made for regular medical issues. If you need to be examined in person, arrangements will be made through your doctor’s office. If you live or are staying on the Sunshine Coast, but do not have a family doctor, please call your nearest medical clinic to book a virtual or online appointment.
We also want to reassure everyone that our Emergency Department and our hospital continue to care for everyone needing assessment or hospitalization, so if you have an acute medical issue that requires immediate assessment, please do not hesitate to come in.
Please join Doctors Rahul Gupta, Lisa Kitt and Marius Welgemoed at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7 for an online interactive panel session on “Cultivating Our Collective Resilience” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit www.sechelthospitalfoundation.org for more information about these weekly sessions.
Please remember that returning travellers must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of return, and everyone with even mild cold or flu symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms (with or without a travel history). Self-isolation guidelines are available at: www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/self-isolation
If you develop more severe cold or flu-like symptoms and feel you need to see a doctor, please call or text our new Respiratory Assessment Clinic at 604-740-1252 or email email@example.com . If your symptoms are severe enough to require an ambulance to get to hospital, call 911.
The Respiratory Assessment Clinic is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This clinic is by appointment only for people living or staying on the Sunshine Coast.
Please note that the Sunshine Coast Community Task Force coordinated by the District of Sechelt now has their website up and running. If you are interested in finding out more or getting involved, please visit https://scctaskforce.com/
Please check the Coast Reporter and The Local websites regularly for updates on COVID-19 in our community, and tune in daily on Eastlink Community TV at 5:30, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Also stay tuned to Coast FM for breaking news on COVID-19. The SCRD and the Town of Sechelt are also putting out regular COVID-19 emergency updates with community-specific information on local government services.
Keep well, wash your hands, keep your distance, and stay at home unless you have a medical emergency or another essential task!
Sincerely, The Sunshine Coast COVID Physician Task Force
Dr. Jennifer Baxter
Dr. Ted Krickan
Dr. Herman Mentz
Dr. Brian Nelson
Dr. Daren Spithoff