Hundreds of Vancouver Island doctors renew call for COVID-19 self-isolation

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Nearly 750 family doctors across Victoria and the South Island are calling on the community to urgently follow the province’s health orders, like practicing physical distancing and staying at home in self-isolation.

In total, 745 family physicians from the Victoria and the South Island Divisions of Family Practice are “pleading” with islanders to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“The time is now. You, our patients, must self-isolate and maintain social distance in accordance with [the provincial health officer’s] orders,” reads a letter representing the 745 doctors.

“What you do today will impact the health and perhaps the fate of British Columbians in the next weeks and months.”

“Self-isolation and maintaining social distance will save lives,” reads the letter.

Meanwhile, the collection of South Island doctors say they are looking into ways to continue practicing medicine safely during the ongoing pandemic.

The group says that doctors are transitioning to remote healthcare methods, like taking daily appointments over the phone or through virtual platforms.

“It may take some adjustments as we learn new workflows and overcome technical challenges,” says the group.

Additionally, island doctors say they are looking into how to safely conduct in-person appointments that may be necessary. While no policies were announced in Monday’s letter, the group says that “planning is well underway.”

Meanwhile, the group of 745 physicians is asking that residents avoid dropping in at doctors’ offices in person. Anyone seeking an appointment should first call their doctor’s office to arrange a meeting.

If possible, physicians will try to schedule a phone or virtual appointment to help avoid the spread of COVID-19.

“Our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has been very clear in her direction on COVID-19,” says the group. “And your local family doctors stand behind Dr. Henry’s direction on how to prevent further spread of COVID-19.”

Earlier this week, doctors in the mid-island echoed the need for the community to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

A senior infectious disease doctor in Nanaimo took to social media to warn residents of the dangers and seriousness of COVID-19.

“[Self-isolation and physical distancing] is just as, if not more important, than the work we will do as health care providers to treat people,” said Dr. David Forrest.

The Nanaimo doctor said that if the spread of COVID-19 was not reduced, “My ugly mug may be the last face you see and it may be to tell you, ‘I’m sorry, but there is no life-support left for you.’”

Should police have the authority to arrest those who violate quarantine restrictions?

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