Health care workers are on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19. (Black Press file)

Urgent letter about COVID-19 goes out to the communities of the Eastern Fraser Valley

‘What the public does now will impact the health of British Columbians in the weeks and months ahead’

It’s an urgent letter to the people of Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope and beyond imploring all to stay home and two metres apart from other people.

The letter was signed by dozens of community leaders to make it crystal clear that physicians and nurse practitioners and other health care providers of local communities are on the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19.

“This crisis is unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetime,” reads the March 24 missive. “We are working to be there for our patients and their families.

“Our providers cannot do this alone. What the public does now will impact the health of British Columbians in the weeks and months ahead. Lives depend on your actions now. Our province is in a state of emergency.”

Here is word from the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry explaining what has to be done:

• Stay home unless absolutely necessary. This means no dinner parties. Grocery shopping once a week. No sports, even outside. Have coffee with a friend online.

•Keep two metres or six feet away from everyone if you must go out. That’s about the width of a car or the length of two arms stretched out.

• Wash your hands frequently.

•Tell your loved ones to do the same.

“This is especially important for young people,” continues the letter. “We sometimes see you out in the park. You can get sick from this virus. More importantly, you can be carriers and cause a lot of harm to your parents, elders, grandparents, and other loved ones.

“Spend time only with those you live in the same house with.

“There are many people in our communities who are over 65 with health conditions. This puts them at increased risk of complications and death from COVID-19, as we have already seen this week in B.C.

“In this unprecedented time, we are working hard and the community can help by choosing to stay home, social distance in efforts to reduce transmission. The time is now. We can’t wait one more hour or one more day.

“We can do this, but we can’t wait one more hour or one more day. Let’s save lives, together.”

The letter was signed by the following on behalf of our communities and the more than 116,000 people that they serve:

Chilliwack Division of Family Practice: Dr. Josh Greggain (Board Chair), Dr. Allison Salter (Recruitment and Retention Lead), and Katrina Bepple (Executive Director)

Fraser Health: Petra Pardy (Executive Director of Health Services Chilliwack, Hope & Agassiz), Catherine Wiebe, (Director of Clinical Operations) and Dr. Alex Choi (Medical Health Officer), Carolyne Neufeld (Executive Director, Aboriginal Health).

City of Chilliwack: Mayor Ken Popove

District of Kent: Mayor Sylvia Pranger

District of Hope: Mayor Peter Robb

Harrison Hot Springs: Mayor Leo Facio

Stó:lō Service Agency: Kelowa Edel (Health Director)

Seabird Island: Heather McDonald (Health Director)

First Nations Health Authority: Michelle DeGroot (Executive Director) and Desiree Baker (Regional Planner)

Chilliwack Community Services Diane Janzen (Executive Director) and Helen Edwards (Deputy Executive Director)

School District 33: Rohan Arul (Interim Superintendent)

School District 78: Karen Nelson (Superintendent) and Kevin Bird (Assistant Superintendent)

Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce: Leanna Kemp (Executive Director)

The Chilliwack Progress: Tara Hiebert (Publisher), Jennifer Feinberg and Jessica Peters (Reporters)

The Hope Standard & The Agassiz Harrison Observer: Carly Ferguson (Publisher) 89.5 The Drive: Sadie (Morning Show Host).

READ MORE: Stringent measures coming if recs ignored

READ MORE: Applauding health workers from the porch at 7 p.m.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
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