With Island Health setting a new record on Wednesday, Jan. 13 for new COVID-19 cases, officials are reminding people in the region to adhere to protocols.
The Island had been doing well, by and large, since the pandemic arrived in B.C. last March, but there was concern about the potential for increased cases after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. That has played out as the Island hit a high of 34 cases on Wednesday, breaking the previous record of 28, set on Jan. 6.
It is vital that Islanders remain vigilant, said Dr. Shannon Waters, medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region.
“People are getting tired of the measures in place,” Waters acknowledged. “But it’s really important right now, especially with the rising number of cases, that we stay the course.”
Waters reminded people to limit social activity, wash their hands and wear masks when situations call for them, all of which are being done, from her experience.
“We see that being followed well,” she said. “Nearly everyone I see when I go out is wearing a mask.”
Anyone who feels sick should stay home and isolate, and arrange for a COVID test. In most cases, tests can be scheduled for the same day or the next day, and results are returned quickly. Resources are available for those who need to stay home and isolate with COVID.
“We are able to monitor individuals daily and see what support is needed while they are isolating,” Waters said.
Like other health areas across B.C., Island Health is working with its partners to distribute vaccinations to its priority groups, which include rural and remote communities and people in long-term care — “places where there might be more serious outcomes,” Waters said.
Despite the strict measures, people should still take care of their mental and emotional health by going outside and moving their bodies. Social isolation can be addressed to some extent by connecting virtually, but physical exercise has benefits as well.
“With respecting the public health measures, people can still go for a walk,” Waters said. “The outdoors will still be accessible to us.”
Waters also noted, as has been put forward time after time over the last 10 months, that we are all in this together.
“COVID-19 is something affecting all regions of the province, all parts of the world,” she said. “It’s not just about certain population groups. It’s about all of us working together at this time.”