B.C. nurses are asking for more stringent social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Canadian Press Photo)

B.C. nurses call for mandatory shutdown of all non-essential workplaces

Open letter to provincial, federal governments says current measures are insufficient

A collective of B.C. nurses are raising alarm bells over what they call an “insufficient and slow response” to the current spread of COVID-19.

Nurses from more than 40 B.C. hospitals signed an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan in which they call for a mandatory shutdown of every non-essential workplace.

“There is no reason whatsoever to think we cannot become another Italy. If nothing changes radically, we are certain to,” reads the letter, dated Monday, March 23.

“The only step that can prevent this is massive social distancing on a scale qualitatively beyond what has been done so far, because what has been done so far is simply not working.”

“To work, social distancing needs to include a mandatory shutdown of every workplace except those deemed essential – such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and health care facilities,” the letter states. “It needs to include a shutdown of every place that can multiply the spread of the virus.”

READ MORE COVID-19 COVERAGE HERE

The nurses also emphasize the need to house the homeless “in a way that disperses them rather than jamming them into shelters that will only accelerate the virus’ spread.”

The letter calls for more government support to make social distancing possible, including financial support for those laid off and guarantees against eviction for renters and homeowners.

“Governments must take every step they can to remove the barriers that force people – especially poor people – to ignore calls to stay at home.”

The letter addresses the rapidly growing number of new cases in B.C. – including an increase from 88 cases on March 15 to 348 on March 20 – a 296 per cent jump. Since then the rate of increase has dipped slightly, with 48 new cases reported on March 23.

The nurses note that trend could represent the beginning of a flattening of “what has been an exponential curve,” but ask governments to “not relax vigilance.”

“We insist – we demand – that you act to implement mandatory social isolation. The measures to date are not working. This is an emergency. We need to act like it’s an emergency.”

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria street nurses ask government to help the homeless in COVID-19 crisis



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


:


CoronavirusHealthcareHospitalsnurse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Call out for local committee members, to help Hope’s economy recover from COVID-19

Stabilizing businesses in the short term, and planning for recovery is the focus for AdvantageHOPE

Organ donation gives Fraser Valley RCMP officer a second chance at life

Cathleen Falebrinza celebrates Green Shirt Day after receiving a double lung transplant in 2016.

Stay off the tracks and stay alert, rail police warn

Last year, seven were killed and 10 seriously injured in rail crossing, trespassing incidents

Open houses discouraged as Chilliwack realtors look for a way forward

March saw strong sales but April likely to see lower numbers

Chilliwack hospital offers thank-you message to community

Chilliwack health-care workers say they have heard everyone’s support throughout COVID-19 pandemic

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read