Two physicians at work at Bulkley Valley District Hospital. (Contributed photo)

“Opening up” does not mean business as usual

Smithers MDs are ready for a cautious loosening of COVID-19 restrictions

Across Canada, and around the world, there are talks of opening the economy again. What does that mean? If you follow the news at all, you will realize that it means something different almost everywhere and depends on location.

Here in B.C., there has been a four-phased plan rolled out for businesses opening up. If you look around our community, you will see that things are starting to happen. Some non-essential stores are open, following strict adherence to the limit of customers in shops at a time, along with other safety measures, which are all to help flatten the spread of Covid-19.

Seasonal workers and tourists are also starting to come to town, which has been deemed OK, and an important part of our economy. All people are still expected to follow the guidelines set forth by Public Health, and everyone involved has worked incredibly hard to problem-solve the best way forward.

The Chief Health Officer of B.C., Dr Bonnie Henry is still stressing that “opening up” does not mean business as usual. She stated that gatherings of two to six people are ok with physical distancing, no large gatherings or holiday as usual plans.

READ MORE: Under mounting pressure, Henry says reopening B.C. will happen ‘safely, slowly, methodically’

The plan to open up is fluid, it will be a moving target that is constantly changing. Opening up again does not mean the virus is gone and it will most likely be around for quite some time. Time will tell.

For the medical community, opening up does mean that our ICUs will have more space for critical services.

For the general public it means a limited amount of extra freedom. We must, however, maintain vigilance in combating COVID-19 and maintain social distancing as much as possible. I know that this is not the news you may want to hear, but social distancing has been the number one element in combating the spread of this potentially deadly disease.

We are all changing our plans, and social distancing is often not the fun option, especially with temperatures warming up and more favourable weather in the forecast, but it is the most important and safest option.

In the severe form of COVID-19 the only treatment is breathing support, which means a bed in an ICU. When these beds are full, the medical system cannot appropriately treat the sickest patients and in the worst-case scenario people die because they could not receive adequate care.

READ MORE: COVID-19: B.C. begins calling back scheduled surgery patients

An increase in COVID-19 patients will result in the system being quickly overloaded. Therefore, regardless of changes in our social process, we must still be careful of our daily choices to limit any potential spread of the virus.

There is also conflicting advice depending on where you look. However, one thing to keep in mind is that every group has different priorities. Please remember that politicians are not doctors. Businesses are not doctors. Also, most doctors are not infectious disease or public health specialists.

At this critical time, it is the public health and infection specialists that we must listen to—they are the experts. The loosening of rules has the potential to create risky confidence, which easily can be breached, leading us backward in our progress.

We must be careful. The health care system has one priority, which is to keep people safe, so people must stay cautious, to help the overall well-being of everyone inclusively. We want the best for everyone.

British Columbia (and Smithers) has done incredibly well in flattening the curve thus far, and our cases have been minimized for the time being. We are ready to move cautiously forward. With that in mind, we will start to see a shift in day-to-day life.

Tourism will slowly return, shopping may slightly increase, and other activities may also become more noticeable. Through it all, we must continue to follow the advice that has worked, stay at home as much as possible, stay two metres apart (6 ft), don’t touch your face, and wear a mask if you cannot avoid close contact with others or are in contact with people vulnerable to infections.

Everyone will have different comfort levels with this reopening, please remember to stay safe and be kind. We truly are all in this together.



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hamhuis hangs up his skates

The Nashville Predators defenceman and Smithereen spent 16 years in the NHL

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

Community engagement process launched to implement northern B.C. First Nation’s rights and title

Cyclist dead following Hwy 16 collision with pickup

The cyclist was a 41-year-old man from Smithers

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

External community engagement process launched to help implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title

Smithers contractor refurbishes sailboat for Northwest Passage adventure

Ron Smith, who has been working on the “Obsession” for 12 years, will put her in the water this week

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

B.C.’s fuel suppliers to publish prices to provide accountability: minister

Bruce Ralston says move will ensure industry publicly accountable for unexplained prices increases

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Most Read