Sunshine Coast COVID Physician Task Force Community Update 27 (May 19)

Dear Fellow Sunshine Coast Residents:

We hope you all enjoyed the glorious long weekend weather! Days like these make it hard to imagine that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, even as our lives have been impacted in so many ways. As of today, we start to take our first baby steps back towards more normal routines, while holding our collective breath and hoping that we will not see a resurgence of COVID-19.

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The biggest key to our success over the past two months has been our community; we have all taken the steps needed to protect ourselves and our most vulnerable, and we have found so many creative ways of moving forward and supporting each other. We will need to be just as committed and creative over the next few months to continue our success.

The other big key to restarting B.C. successfully over the next number of months is being able to identify new COVID-19 infections as quickly as possible. This will allow us to trace and isolate contacts and prevent community spread and large outbreaks. Testing will continue to be available for everyone who develops potential COVID-19 symptoms, so please continue to contact your family doctor or the Respiratory Assessment Clinic if you develop even mild cold or flu symptoms.

Over the past two months, we have seen over a thousand patients (virtually and in-person) through the Respiratory Assessment Clinic and tested more than a third of them. Some we have had to send on to the Emergency Department and a few people did test positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, we have not identified any new COVID-19 cases on the Coast recently, even with more widespread testing becoming available.

That being said, the Respiratory Assessment Clinic has remained busy, and with our province starting to open back up, the risk for new infections and potential spread of COVID-19 remains. Please remain careful and vigilant and continue to practise social distancing measures. It is important to remember that it will be weeks before we see the effects of opening up, so we need to approach this in a stepwise fashion.

This coming week, as we start to think about reopening schools in the near future, we are also thinking about the well-being of our children, teens and young adults. All of us have been experiencing the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our younger Coasters are no exception. There will be a virtual Town Hall for local families to discuss medical and mental health questions with a panel of professionals from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, May 21. Please register on the SD46 website if you are interested. 

For those of us who are a bit farther away from our youthful days (even if we remain young at heart), the last few weeks have prompted many of us to reflect on our wishes about life support and our goals of care should we become critically ill. If you are thinking about developing an Advance Care Plan, please join Dr. Carmen Goojha and Joan Hibbard for a Facebook Live discussion on Tuesday, May 19 at 7 p.m.

If you haven’t already done so, please fill out the BCCDC COVID-19 Survey before May 31. This is a chance to share your COVID-19 experience and sign up for possible future blood testing as well as future detection and tracing tools.

If you develop possible COVID-19 symptoms, please contact your family doctor or call or text the Respiratory Assessment Clinic (RAC) at 604-740-1252 or email coastrespclinic@gmail.com. The RAC is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is intended for people living or staying on the Sunshine Coast.

Please check the Coast Reporter and the Local Weekly websites regularly for updates on COVID-19 in our community, and tune in daily on Eastlink Community TV at 5:30, 7:30 and 10 p.m. As local parks, programs and facilities begin to open up, please visit the SCRD and the District of Sechelt websites for updates.

Keep well, wash your hands, keep your distance, and please keep doing everything you can to keep our community safe! 

Sincerely, The Sunshine Coast COVID Physician Task Force 

Dr. Jennifer Baxter 

Dr. Ted Krickan 

Dr. Herman Mentz 

Dr. Brian Nelson 

Dr. Daren Spithoff

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