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

Delta companies asked to contribute through B.C.’s new COVID-19 supply hub

New online hub to co-ordinate, source, expedite supplies and equipment to support front-line workers

Two people fined for trying to re-sell N95 and surgical masks in Delta

Police confiscated over 5,000 masks and are working with Fraser Health to see them put to good use

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

APRIL 4: Two people in Delta fined for trying to re-sell N95 masks

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Insurance shock for B.C. condo owners

Claim-free two-year-old townhouse complex told premium will nearly triple

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read