The medical staff of Smithers want to thank everyone for their efforts during this ongoing pandemic. You may not feel that you are doing anything to help fight this, but if you have been staying at home, only doing activities with members of your household, minimizing your times to the store and washing your hands, YOU HAVE BEEN DOING THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN FIGHTING THIS PANDEMIC. The community is the first line of defence against the spread of COVID-19.
We also want to thank the businesses who have done their part in fighting the spread, by either making the difficult decision to close, putting markers up for social distancing, providing hand sanitizer and all the other creative ideas. Some have been holding or donating supplies the hospital may need.
We cannot stress the importance of continuing these efforts and not starting to make exceptions. We realize that it has been a long three weeks of struggles and change already, but continuing this is essential to minimizing the impact of COVID in our community. If you follow the data on case reports you will see that the numbers are rising in Northern Health, that means Smithers is, and will continue to be, at risk. As of today, there are no known COVID positive admissions to Bulkley Valley District Hospital, but that does not mean there are not people isolating at home with COVID-19. So please continue to stay home.
You may have also noticed people in the community and staff at certain stores wearing face masks. If you have had the need to go the hospital or to your doctors office, you would have noticed that everyone is wearing masks. There is increasing evidence that people infected with COVID-19 can spread the virus before there are any symptoms.
The Ministry of Health has not recommended everyone wearing masks when out of their homes yet, nor are we. However, these recommendations may change and you have the choice to wear one if you please. We would ask you to not use disposable surgical masks if you have no symptoms or it has not been recommended to you. Please save these for the health care workers.
There is a large community of seamstresses that have been sewing fabric masks as a back up plan should they be deemed appropriate. One of the reasons of not recommending masks to the public is that there may be a false sense of security. We must stress that wearing a mask does not allow you to relax the efforts of social distancing and staying at home.
If you are feeling unsafe in your house or find that your mood has been suffering with this change please reach out to your doctor, we are continuing to book regular appointments and speak with you over the phone and get you the help needed.
Again THANK YOU for your continued efforts!
Justin Flynn, Darren Jakubec and Kate Niethammer on behalf of the Bulkley Valley medical community.