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

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in West Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

Residents experiencing homelessness back outdoors as temporary winter shelters close

Kelowna’s homeless are going back to Recreation Avenue

COVID-19: Social media use goes up as country stays indoors

Overall messaging is up more than 50 per cent over the last month

Brushfire reported along Okanagan Rail Trail in Kelowna

The bushfire reportedly occurred just before 1 p.m on Wednesday afternoon

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix had sharp words for those arriving from overseas abiding by federal law

Summerland’s April 1 snow measurements above normal

Measurements taken at Summerland Reservoir and Isintok Lake

Gray: Answering constituents questions on COVID-19

MP for Kelowna-Lake Country Tracy Gray’s latest column

Okanagan Skaha School Board does not anticipate closures

School district budget tight as a result of declining enrolment

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

EDITORIAL: Are you a virus jerk? Take our short quiz to find out

Are you a virus jerk? Take this short quiz to learn the… Continue reading

Demand doubles at Revelstoke food bank

Community Connections concerned whether they can meet increasing need

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Most Read