Dear Fellow Sunshine Coast Residents:
The last few weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster. With the holiday season upon us and news of promising vaccines on the horizon, we see a glimmer of hope that life will return to something like normal in the foreseeable future. At the same time, we have had news of two local businesses shutting down after positive case(s) among staff, and the release of preliminary local case numbers for November, with 19 new cases representing a significant jump in cases on the Coast over the past month.
The increased cases are a good reminder that COVID-19 is here and that we must continue to take every precaution to protect our most vulnerable until vaccines and/or effective treatments are available. Please review the most recent Public Health Orders (updated Dec. 7) and make sure that you are familiar with and following them.
This is a time of year when we are used to celebrating and gathering with friends and family, but we must continue to limit our physical, in-person contacts as much as possible. Please avoid indoor and outdoor social gatherings with anyone outside of your immediate household, and please avoid any non-essential travel. The only people who should be in your house this holiday season are the people who live there.
Like you, we can’t wait for this pandemic to be over, and we know how challenging the past few months have been for everyone. However, we are seeing progress in our region as a result of your efforts, and it would be a shame to lose ground at this point. Our community has a lot to be proud of, but it is too early to stop; if we are successful, there is a good chance that we will all be celebrating in style by this time next year!
We continue to receive queries about what to do if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and about when to get tested. When someone tests positive, Public Health does contact tracing to identify all of that person’s contacts from 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms (the asymptomatic infectious phase) to the time the person self-isolated. Public Health then determines whether each contact is high risk or low risk, based on the amount of time spent in close proximity and the nature of the interaction. If you are identified as a high risk contact of someone who tested positive, meaning that you were within six feet of that person for more than 15 minutes, or that person is a member of your household, then you will be contacted by Public Health and advised to self-isolate for 14 days (longer if you develop symptoms). If you are a low-risk contact of someone who tested positive, you will not be contacted by Public Health and will only need to monitor for symptoms. Regardless of whether you are a low-risk or high-risk contact, or whether you have no known exposure to COVID-19, testing is only being done for people who develop symptoms.
We do not recommend testing for school-age children with new brief (less than 24 hours) isolated symptoms (e.g. runny nose/sore throat). If new symptoms arise, or the original symptoms worsen or persist and become associated with a fever, then assessment and testing should be arranged. We would also like to remind everyone that if your child has any new infectious symptoms, they should remain home from school, sports and other activities.
Please continue the basic preventative measures that will help keep infection rates low, protect our most vulnerable, and limit the impact on our hospital and healthcare providers. Until a significant proportion of our community has been vaccinated for COVID-19, these preventive measures are the only and most effective tools we have to prevent viral transmission and protect those around us.
Please keep at least two metres between yourself and anyone outside of your immediate household whenever possible. Wear a mask in public indoor spaces or in situations where it is impossible to maintain social distancing. Wash your hands frequently, and especially after touching any high contact surface. Always wash your hands before and after eating, drinking, or touching your face or mask.
If you do develop cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, please contact the Respiratory Assessment Clinic by phone or text at 604-740-1252, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The clinic remains open seven days a week from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
If 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. This means staying home from work, school, and all other activities 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.
The Sunshine Coast COVID
Physician Task Force
Dr Jennifer Baxter
Dr Ted Krickan
Dr Herman Mentz
Dr Brian Nelson
Dr Daren Spithoff
Sunshine Coast COVID-19 Physician Task Force community update #39
Dear Fellow Sunshine Coast Residents: