August 25, 2020
Dear Fellow Sunshine Coast Residents:
Over the last two weeks, we have seen provincial COVID-19 numbers double again,
with an average of over 80 new cases per day. As per the BCCDC , there have been 50
new cases in the North Shore Coast Garibaldi region, which includes the Sunshine
Coast, over the past two weeks. While this does not give us any information about our
local numbers, it is safe to assume that COVID-19 is in our community as well.
Although we have not had a community or health facility outbreak here on the Coast,
we cannot take this for granted. We are only one house party or family gathering away
from the rapidly increasing numbers that we are seeing elsewhere in the province and
around the world, and we must continue to protect ourselves, our families and our
community as best we can.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of maintaining every precaution to prevent
the spread of COVID-19. It starts with our bubbles, the people we have chosen to
interact with in close proximity without masks, social distancing, or other precautions.
Please keep your COVID bubble as small as possible; it should include household
members, and no more than a few close friends. Your bubble should not include
people who are a part of other bubbles, as this expands your bubble to everyone in
those other bubbles. If your bubble includes dozens of people, the risk of a community
outbreak increases, and it becomes very difficult to limit the spread of COVID-19
should anyone in your bubble become infected.
For interactions with people outside of our bubbles, we must do everything we can to
limit the spread of COVID-19. Maintain two meters between yourself and those around
you. Meet up with friends outdoors whenever possible. Wear a mask if you are in a
store or a bus or another place where you can’t maintain social distancing. Wash your
hands frequently, especially after touching surfaces that may have been touched by
others, or before and after touching your face or your mask.
If you are younger and in good health, you are at lowest risk for complications due to
COVID-19, but highest risk for transmitting COVID-19 without even knowing you have
it. Please take every precaution that you can to avoid being THAT person.
We anticipate that the number of new cases in the province will continue to rise over
the next number of weeks and months. Although the majority of current infections are
in people under forty, the more people who are infected, the higher risk there is to our
more vulnerable community members.
If we do have a community outbreak, we are all going to need to step up as a
community to get through this, and we would encourage everyone to think about how
you can help if this happens. This may range from checking in on a friend or neighbour
who is more vulnerable, to helping deliver groceries or other necessities (in a safe
way), to taking on caregiving responsibilities for a close friend or family member. If we
all continue to work together, we will get through this.
If you do develop new cold or flu symptoms (no matter how mild), please stay home
and self-isolate until you have been assessed. Do NOT go to work. Do NOT hit the
drive-through on your way home. Do NOT go shopping (unless it’s online). Do NOT
meet up with others. Do call your family doctor or the Respiratory Assessment Clinic
(Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM) to arrange for further assessment and
testing, if indicated. The Respiratory Assessment Clinic can be reached by phone or
text at 604-740-1252 or by email at email@example.com .
Please note that even if you have a negative swab you should continue to stay home
and self-isolate until your symptoms have resolved. If your symptoms worsen, please
do not hesitate to call the Respiratory Assessment Clinic for further assessment.
We continue to test everyone with possible COVID-19 symptoms, so please do not
hesitate to call if you become ill. 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 is open and safe for anyone with a medical emergency.
With respect to non-emergent non-COVID-19 health issues, all of our family medicine
clinics are currently booking their own patients, as well as people without a local family
doctor. Our local medical clinics remain open Monday to Friday, with the Gibsons
Medical Clinic providing additional hours on Saturday mornings.
In order to provide as safe an environment as possible for both patients and staff, the
majority of medical care will continue to be provided virtually. This is expected to
continue for the foreseeable future. If you have a medical issue that requires a physical
assessment, an in-person appointment will be arranged.
If you are worried that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 after hearing about
an outbreak in an area you have visited recently, the dates and locations of COVID-19
public exposures are online for each Health Region ( Vancouver Coastal Health , Fraser
Health , Interior Health , Vancouver Island Health , Northern Health ).
Health Canada has also created COVID Alert , a new app for iOS and Android that will
notify you if you have been near anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (and
has the app). It is completely anonymous and does not share your location or any
identifying information. It is currently only active in Ontario, but is expected to be
launched Canada-wide soon, so not a bad idea to download the app if you are
interested in having an extra layer of protection.
Please check the Coast Reporter and The Local Weekly for periodic updates on
COVID-19 in our community. As local parks, programs and facilities open up, please
visit the SCRD , the Town of Gibsons , and the District of Sechelt websites for updates.
Keep well, wash your hands, keep your distance or wear a mask, stay local if you
can, 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
Sunshine Coast COVID Physician Task Force Community Update #33
August 25, 2020