Image via BC Government Flickr
BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has issued new orders for the next three weeks to help lower the disturbing rise in the number of COVID-19 cases across the province. Numbers have risen as vaccine clinics are rolling out, especially in the younger adult population.
The orders go into effect March 29, 2021 at midnight and will continue to be in effect until April 19, 2021.
Important messages of the orders include:
• No travel between regions or communities, except for essential reasons like medical needs or work• Work from home where possible• No visiting or indoor gatherings of any kind, including for religious / spiritual services, and we should only be indoors with our immediate households• Outdoor gatherings up to a maximum of ten people – the same people only – and continue to physically distance
• No travel between regions or communities, except for essential reasons like medical needs or work
• Work from home where possible
• No visiting or indoor gatherings of any kind, including for religious / spiritual services, and we should only be indoors with our immediate households
• Outdoor gatherings up to a maximum of ten people – the same people only – and continue to physically distance
Although it has been and continues to be challenging, it is necessary for each of us to follow all public health orders. These new public health measures, along with vaccines, will help to flatten the curve and start moving us out of this pandemic. It is equally important that we also continue to follow public health advice to wear masks, to wash hands frequently, and to stay physically distanced - even after getting the vaccine.
FNHA Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nel Wieman, emphasizes how our individual actions will make the difference, “The COVID-19 pandemic has gone on for over a year, and at various times we have been asked to do more in terms of protecting ourselves, our families and communities. This is one of those times. With cases on the rise, especially among younger people, we are imploring you to follow the orders for this three-week 'circuit breaker'. Please spend the upcoming holiday weekend safely. We have flattened the curve before and we can do it again."
The province is also pausing any planned distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine for the next few days. This brand of vaccine has not been used in any BC First Nations clinics run by the FNHA, although some First Nations people may have received the AstraZeneca vaccine through other vaccine programs they may have taken part in through their workplace.
If you have received the AstraZeneca vaccine and have not experienced any symptoms within 20 days, there is no concern. For information you can read the statement by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
At FNHA it is recognized that although these public health orders are necessary to curtail the COVID-19 virus from spreading, it can also make it harder to feel connected to our friends and families. However, working together will make a difference in being able to share time together safely at the end of this three week period.
“I'm asking you to stop what you're doing for the next three weeks so we can make progress with our immunization program," said Dr. Henry. “There is a finish in sight now and we know what we have to do to get there."
For support, individuals, families and communities can access our cultural supports, knowing that First Nations in BC have a long history of resilience. Our respective traditions, culture, languages and practices ground us in the present and keep us well – spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.
For additional information on available mental health and cultural supports please visit: https://www.fnha.ca/Documents/FNHA-COVID-19-Mental-Health-and-Cultural-Supports.pdf.
For other information and services for First Nations people, see www.fnha.ca/coronavirus.