Medical staff at Bulkley Valley District Hospital urge people to keep their social bubbles small. (File photo)

Medical staff at Bulkley Valley District Hospital urge people to keep their social bubbles small. (File photo)

Local M.D. urges keeping social bubbles to six

“This situation is happening in our own communities:” Dr. Kate Niethammer

Labour Day weekend was a short two weeks ago. The fears and concerns expressed by Canadian Health leaders are coming to fruition. Over the last week, BC COVID cases are at record highs. This is not something that is only happening in the Lower Mainland, this situation is happening in our own communities, with known cases having steadily increased.

Having local cases of COVID -19 means that everyone needs to reassess their activities and interaction with others. This does not mean that you cannot continue social interaction, but please do it in a safe way. First and foremost, public health officials have asked us to limit our bubbles to six people. It should also be noted that this ideally is the same six people, not six different people on multiple days.

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With the previous guidelines established for the past two months, these rules carried a more relaxed standpoint. However, now that schools and sports having restarted, it is easy to see how that number can very easily be surpassed. Therefore, keep your social circles small, in order to carry on without stricter guidelines being enforced.

It should also be noted that we should still be physical distancing, washing hands, and staying home if sick. Wearing a mask when indoors and physical distancing is not possible, or if indoors with others for prolonged periods of time is still strongly suggested as a practice that can effectively lower the risk of transmission.

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There is no denying that 2020 has not been an easy year thus far. However, it is also not the time to let down our guard. We can make choices now that will determine how we spend the months to come.

I believe we would like to continue to conduct our lives, much like we have in the past months; with a community open and running. The only real difference being smaller social circles and wearing a mask when the occasion calls for it.

Our goal is to better manage the COVID-19 situation from a medical perspective. This, by not overloading our medical system. Smithers does not have an intensive care unit and our nearest designated COVID ward is in Terrace.

Please use emergency medical services for emergencies only. All family doctor offices are still working full time, in varying ratios of in-person visits and virtual visits. If you are sick, or injured, we are here to help you. There is also the Northern Health COVID-19 hotline for questions or to arrange testing at 1-844-645-7811.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Reach out to a friend by phone or computer to check-in. Assess your own wellbeing and please reach out for help if you need it. We’re in this together, and together we will prevail.

Dr. Kate Niethammer