We are all tired of COVID-19 and want nothing more than to move on, and forget about it. Unfortunately, COVID-19 (re)infections are still frequent in BC. The difference now is that we are not hearing about them.
In fact, since April 2nd, BC has been the Canadian province where people are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19. Now is not the time to remove indoor masks protections in spaces where vulnerable British Columbians seek medical care. No one should come to the hospital for one condition and leave with a COVID-19 infection. Or, not leave the hospital, and die from Covid? A recent leak from the Victorian Health Department in Australia suggested a 10% or more mortality for patients who acquired COVID-19 in hospital between January and October 2022. No reason to think this is not happening in BC. It will only get worse with the removal of mask protections in healthcare.
As repeated, time and again by BC’s Provincial Health Officer, the biggest risk factor for severe acute outcomes from COVID-19 is older age. Removing mask protections in congregate living settings, Long Term Care and Assisted Living homes, and revoking the requirements for visitors to be vaccinated and have a negative rapid antigen test, will open the door wide for the virus to come in, and spread once again, among our seniors, and those who care for them.
Living with COVID-19 should not mean dying with, or being disabled by COVID-19. It should mean living safely and responsibly with COVID-19.
Protect our Province BC has provided a draft letter that you can customize to send to your MLA demanding that mask protections be reinstituted in both healthcare facilities, and LTC and Assisted Living homes. In addition, visitors’ vaccination and testing requirements should immediately return to the latter.
You can find your MLA’s contact information using this tool.
Download a PDF of the letter here to print out, sign, and mail to your MLA
click this link to send an email (you will need to type in your MLA’s email address, your name, and your riding)
To: <your MLA>
Subject: Return Mask Protections in BC Healthcare Facilities, Long Term Care and Assisted Living Homes.
I am a resident of ___________________ and I am writing to you as my government representative, one who has both the duty and the responsibility to ensure that conditions that harm the lives and health of their constituents are minimized to the greatest extent possible.
I am writing to ask that you demand that the BC Public Health Officer immediately reinstate mask protections in BC healthcare facilities and in Long Term Care and Assisted Living homes. BC is currently the province with the highest risk for COVID-19 infections. Mask protections were removed, just as BC’s SARS-CoV-2 test positivity rate was rising. Patients who seek medical attention should not expect to be exposed to this virus, let alone infected. The same applies for our seniors who continue to have the highest rate of infections, admissions and deaths from COVID-19 in BC.
As B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner, Kasari Govinder stated: “This week’s removal of masking directives in healthcare settings does not uphold a human rights centered approach to public health.”
The role of BC’s Public Health Officer is to protect the health and wellbeing of all British Columbians, including the most vulnerable. This cannot be achieved by letting SARS-CoV-2 spread freely in healthcare facilities nor in the congregate homes where our elders live.
I look forward to hearing back from you as to when masks protections will be reinstated in healthcare, along with the other protective measures lifted in Long Term Care and Assisted Living homes.