BC has continued to do a phenomenal job to keep our curve flat.
Interior Health numbers as of May 21, 2020:
• 183 cases (1 new case)
• 5 active cases
• 178 people recovered
• 2 deaths
Dr. Tam recommended that all Canadians wear masks when out in public unless they can guarantee they can stay two meters apart. Dr. Henry agrees that masks should be worn in certain situations like public transport, small shops or when receiving personal services (nail salons, doctors visits, etc.)
The message is consistent: a mask does not protect the wearer; they can help the person wearing the mask from spreading infected droplets to others. Frequent hand washing and physical distancing are still the best ways to avoid contracting COVID or any other virus. Wearing a mask is an additional layer of protection.
In short: as of May 22, 2020, masks are not mandatory in BC, but certainly recommended. If you are making and selling masks, please spread the word. Buying masks in Creston is another way to support our local businesses or entrepreneurs.
One consideration: Many older adults with hearing impairment rely on lip-reading to understand others. Have patience and speak up if you see this is the case.
Some questions to ask yourself before deciding whether a mask is needed or not:
1. How many people might I be exposed to for this activity? Are any of them or their family members feeling unwell, or have they been traveling somewhere where there is more transmission?
2. How well ventilated is the place we will be at? (Outdoors is best!)
3. How can I protect myself and others during this activity (hand sanitizer, avoid sharing things etc.
4. Do my potential contacts have any conditions that might increase their risk of severe outcomes? Or anyone in their household?
5. Be creative in modifying traditional activities to support the principles of maintaining physical distancing.
We are doing well in Creston with no active cases at present. We have moved to a system where everyone with symptoms can get tested. It took us a while to sort out the details, but if you have any symptoms suspicious for COVID19, you can call the following number to arrange a time to get a test. At present, we are testing approximately 25 people per week.
250 254 2055 (the public health nurses perform testing)
The best chance we have to continue on our trajectory is to test anyone with symptoms, and good quality contact tracing if a positive patient is identified. (For the "contacts" to start an isolation period) Trudeau reports that the federal government had trained federal employees who can make 3,600 contact tracing calls a day, and in addition, Statistics Canada has trained another 1,700 interviewers who can make up to 20,000 calls a day.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced an extension of the closure of the US Canada border for another 30 days. Minister Adrian Dix said he thinks the border closure will continue for a significant period beyond June 21 unless the US makes great strides in its COVID containment efforts.
The medical clinics in Creston are open, but we are still doing the majority of our appointments by either phone or virtually.
The reasons for this is twofold: The clinics are struggling to secure masks to use for our staff. It is not uncommon for a health care provider to use the same mask for a 12-hour shift (or the whole day in the clinic). For this reason, we are limiting in-person appointments to those patients whose medical needs cannot be handled by virtual care. Our focus is on chronic disease management, pelvic, and breast exams(when necessary). For any medical concerns, please arrange a phone consultation with your family physician, and follow directions accordingly. Please wear your cloth mask to your appointment, as we are unable to provide you with a surgical mask.
Our main goal is to keep the clinics safe for all of us- patients and staff. Many medical clinic buildings are small and tight spaces - we are maintaining social distancing by limiting the number of people in the building at any given time.
As always, thank you for your continuous support; not just to the healthcare workers, but all essential workers. In a world where you can be anything - be kind!
Dr. Nerine Kleinhans on behalf of the Creston Valley Physicians and medical staff.