As of April 14, 2020, there are 1517 cases of COVID 19 in B.C., which included 141 cases in the Interior.
The graph by the BCCDC shows a definite decline in the number of new cases.
Today, I want to highlight two points:
1. What does success looks like?
Success is staying in the epidemic control scenario. This means we are aiming for the lowest possible infection rate to minimize illness and death and to shorten the period of intense disease transmission in Canada. We recognize that even if we are successful, continued public health measures will be required over time to manage future waves, including:• Physical distancing• Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette• Restrictions on international and domestic travel• Case detection and isolation• Quarantine of contacts and incoming travellersSuccess is also preparedness of our health system, working together with provinces and territories:- Equipping hospitals to provide care for more severe cases (including masks/gloves/gowns- Increasing bed and clinic capacity for COVID-19 patients (we are maintaining our goal of 50% inpatient capacity in Creston). In other words: We can’t call what we’ve achieved so far, a “success.” We are simply seeing that our efforts of physical distancing, are paying off.2. In recent news from the Ministry, we heard that laboratory testing capacity has increased in B.C., and any physicians can order a test for COVID-19 based on their clinical judgment. The focus is still on health care workers, hospitalized patients and any potential “cluster” outbreaks, but we can now use our judgement in ordering tests. This change could mean that the number of positive cases rises. Other factors are the potential chances of Easter travellers introducing the virus to our area (we’ll know in the next two weeks), and the prospect of seasonal workers on our farms in the months to come.Health Canada today announced the approval of a rapid Spartan test for COVID-19. This is a point of care test that can deliver results in an hour. B.C. has a different rapid test they plan to deploy to communities where transport of specimens is an issue. At some places in northern B.C., it currently takes 7-9 days to get a result. In Creston, we have to transport our samples to Kelowna. Results are usually available within 48 - 72 hrs. Spartan is a Canadian company, and all their units are sold within Canada, but everything they have manufactured, has sold out.East Kootenay Regional Hospital has been validated as a testing site, but they have very limited testing capacity, mostly due to limited availability of testing kits.In Dr. Bonnie Henry’s statement today, she reiterated that “B.C.’s COVID-19 response is about ensuring our firewall is strong, putting out any hot spots that emerge and doing all we can to support British Columbians during this pandemic.
“Physical distancing does not mean being alone or without help. From the outset, we have said it is critically important to ensure there are also strong social connections in place.
A special note was made of the fourth anniversary of the Drug Overdose Emergency declaration. “We want all people who are living with addiction and other major health issues to know that you are not forgotten but are top-of-mind. There is help for those who need it.
“There have been incredible sacrifices made, and we want you to know that what you are doing matters today. Your efforts make a difference in our shared well-being.
“To the many public servants who have stepped up to assist returning travellers at our land and air borders; to our health-care workers who are caring for us; to our teachers and educational assistants working in new ways to educate our children; to all British Columbians; and to the many other essential service workers who are helping British Columbians get through this, day by day, thank you for doing your part.”
Can you get COVID from being on a running trail and someone huffs and puffs past you? Very unlikely. It’s not easy to transmit the virus when you are outside. As always, don’t use any public spaces if you are sick. To be safe, keep your two-meter distance from co-runners and hikers.To all our restaurants, thank you for staying open and offering take-outs. Supporting a different restaurant each week is one of our family’s highlights.
Dr. Nerine Kleinhans on behalf of the Creston Valley Physicians and Medical Staff.