A letter from Bella Coola doctors on COVID-19: ‘All our lives depend on your actions now’

“None of us are invincible; we can all get it and spread it without even knowing.”

  • Mar. 26, 2020 2:50 p.m.

Dear Community of Bella Coola

As doctors working in the valley we want to personally let you know how we are preparing for the battle against Covid-19. It has not struck us yet.

This is possibly due to the fact that we are a remote, small community, but we also think it’s because you have all embraced social distancing recommendations so well.

IT’S 1 PERSON, 3 TO 6 FEET AWAY FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES.

LET’S KEEP IT THIS WAY. THE TIME IS NOW, NOT TOMORROW.

What you are doing by following the rules and making sacrifices will decide the health of our valley and all British Columbians in the weeks ahead. All our lives depend on your actions now, don’t wait until tomorrow.

An Emergency Operations Committee that includes your doctors, all community partners, and our community members, who gained experience during previous natural disasters, meets regularly to plan our response to the virus.

We will post news and advice everywhere we can, we will not withhold anything from you, but we also ask you not to post rumors and information that does not align with current recommendations. It just scares people and makes us all feel insecure and unsafe.

If the virus gets here you should know that most people will just experience minor cold or flu symptoms, but you can give it to others for 14 days.

Older people – those over 60 – and those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung disease are at highest risk of severe complications and might not survive. Please isolate from your elders if you develop any cold or flu symptoms.

None of us are invincible; we can all get it and spread it without even knowing.

The British Columbia hospital system and Bella Coola can only cope up to a point. We don’t know at which point we could be overrun with Covid-19 patients and not be able to manage the usual emergencies for people of all ages. The only way to prevent that is to follow the rules of 1 person, 3-6 feet away for as long as it takes.

The hospital is open as always, but operating under strict rules. PHONE FIRST IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS. If you have mild symptoms of a viral infection that can be managed at home you will not be admitted, but you will be supported with whatever we can do to help make your illness more bearable.

Prevention and preparation is all we have right now. Let’s keep that going and our valley free from Covid-19.

We are here for you as always.

Sincerely,

Drs. Jeff Peimer, Erika Cheng, Amber Bacenas, Julia Low Ah Kee & Christopher Stephenson.

Bella Coola Medical Clinic: 250 799 5342

Bella Coola General Hospital: 250 799 5311

We humbly acknowledge that we live and work within sovereign Nuxalk territory.

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