Good morning Creston,
Recently, rumours about a COVID-19 outbreak has made the rounds on social media. Many of you have found these rumors convincing, and I’m hoping that this post will help clear up any confusion.
As of 8am, August 6th, 2020, not one seasonal worker in Creston has tested positive for COVID-19. The farmers, the Town of Creston and Fields Forward are doing a phenomenal job keeping not only the workers but also the citizens of Creston safe.
There have been COVID-19 positive cases in Creston in the past six months, but these will only be made public IF Public Health does not feel confident that they reached all the contacts to ensure a sufficient quarantine period.
An outbreak is declared by the health region when a certain number of people who share a common space are diagnosed with COVID-19 within a 14-day period. In some places, it only takes a single person getting COVID-19 for an outbreak to be declared. This is true for places where people are more likely to get very sick OR there are people at high risk of passing it on to people who might get very sick, such as in long-term care facilities or farms. Usually, a Medical Health Officer will declare an outbreak so that specific actions can be taken to prevent further spread of the disease.
As you know, COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms. We often admit patients to the hospital with Influenza or pneumonia, with an added diagnosis of “query COVID-19”. This is to ensure the safety of the staff and to wear extra protection until we receive the test result. To date, we have not had any positive cases in our hospital.
Thank you for each one of your contributions to these wonderful Creston statistics: for washing your hands and maintaining a safe space between you and your neighbour. The mask debate is too much to tackle today, but don’t forget the basics.
If you choose to wear a mask, do so, especially if you can’t maintain a safe distance from others (for example, the busy times in the grocery stores, etc.), but know that it’s not a replacement for hand hygiene.
Medical masks: use only for one trip and discard. Cloth masks: wash after each use.
AND PLEASE DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE TO ADJUST YOUR MASK. This defeats the purpose.
If you choose not to wear a mask, be even more careful in situations where you might encounter a crowd. Wash your hands religiously and maintain a safe distance. Whether you choose to wear a mask or not, don’t leave your house if you feel unwell.
A recent study of 620 000 Canadians found that the more a person relies on social media to learn about COVID-19, the more likely they are to be exposed to misinformation and to believe it, and to disregard physical distancing and other public health guidelines. 16% of Canadians use social media as their primary source of information on the virus.
We are doing so well in the Kootenay’s, despite visitors and the influx of seasonal workers. Wearing a mask is not about your right to be free - it’s about keeping the people that you care about safe and healthy.
COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon. Dr. Tam says that even a vaccine might not be the silver bullet we are all hoping for. The one way to stay ahead of the game, and keep our curve in Creston FLAT, is to ensure testing. Unless we test everyone with symptoms, we can’t keep their contacts safe (contact tracing).
If you experience symptoms of cough, fever, sneezing, loss of smell, or shortness of breath, please call this number to get tested: 250 254 2055.
Save this number in your phone and share it with your friends.
On average, we test between 15 and 30 people per week. Ideally, especially as we enter fall, we would like to see this number doubled. The thought of testing can be intimidating. Please share this video with your children before school starts.
We are all getting tired of being part of a major historical event, but, honestly, what a privilege it is to have been able to stay warm at home, read, work, be educated, create, talk to our loved ones, enjoy the beach, river, water- and skatepark and have food on our tables during this global pandemic. Now, more than ever before, take care of yourself and be kind to each other.
Dr. Nerine Kleinhans, Chief of Staff, Creston.