Open Letter To Horgan And Trudeau re slow response of the federal and provincial governments to the current spread of Corona-19.

BC Nurses

March 23, 2020
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau                              Hon. John Horgan
Prime Minister                                             Premier of British Columbia
House of Commons                                    West Annex, Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H6                          Victoria, BC., V8V 1X4                 
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Horgan:
As front line British Columbia nurses, we want to join our voices with the Royal Columbian Hospital doctors in expressing our alarm at the insufficient and slow response of the federal and provincial governments to the current spread of Corona-19.  The doctors’ warning must be heeded – “we need to act now to prevent a catastrophic number of preventable deaths.  At our current rate of spread, our hospitals will be overwhelmed in a few weeks without drastic action.  We must slow the community spread of COVID-19 in B.C….  A community lockdown may seem drastic, but experiences throughout the rest of the world clearly demonstrate how critical it is to act decisively and urgently.”

The measures taken so far have been welcome, but they are not sufficient.  In the last week alone between Monday and Friday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in British Columbia tripled.  On Monday, March 16, there were 103 cases.  By Friday that had risen to 348.  This means that if they continue to grow at the same rate there could be 9,000 in B.C. by April 1.  28,000 by April 8.  84,000 by April 15.  (*)
That is bad enough, but it actually understates the present situation.  The problem is not just that the number of confirmed cases is growing, but the rate at which they are growing is itself increasing.  On March 9 there were 32 confirmed cases in B.C.  Five days later there were 73, an increase of 128%.  On March 15 there were 88 cases.  Five days later there were 348, an increase of 296%. 
Covid-19 in B.C. (and presumably in Canada as a whole) is still spreading exponentially.  There is no reason whatsoever to think we cannot become another Italy.  If nothing changes radically, we are certain to.  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.  It needs to include a shutdown of every place that can multiply the spread of the virus.  We need to apply the same logic requiring the closure of schools to every similar institution.  For example, every construction camp needs to be closed, or we will continue to concentrate thousands of individuals in close quarters, with shared dining halls, bathrooms and bunk facilities, only to have them periodically fly out on leave and disperse across the province every few weeks. 
Social distancing requires that we house the homeless, but in a way that disperses them rather than jamming them into shelters that will only accelerate the virus’ spread.  There are thousands of unoccupied housing units, hotel rooms and motel rooms in the Lower Mainland.  They need to be accessed.
Finally, we need to make social distancing possible.  We need to provide financial supports for everyone who has lost their job.  We need to provide guarantees against eviction for non-payment of rent or mortgages.  We need to ensure guaranteed supplies of food and medication for everyone housebound due to quarantine, voluntary isolation or mandatory social distancing.  We need to resolve the problem of daycare for every class of essential workers (truckers, grocery employees, couriers, firefighters, janitors, healthcare workers) to keep them working.  There needs to be free hotel accommodation for doctors, respiratory therapists, nurses, housekeeping, paramedics, security, kitchen staff  so we don't have to fear we will bring the virus home to our families.  We also need to be guaranteed adequate supplies of PPE – N95s, gowns and gloves – to keep us at work as caregivers, not patients.
Governments must take every step they can to remove the barriers that force people .-- especially poor people -- to ignore calls to stay at home. 
We are all too aware of the risks we are facing, not only to our own health but to our families as well. We will stay at our posts nonetheless.  But 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.
100 Mile House Hospital

Pam Easton RN
Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre

Leah Ganache RN
Thandi Ndhlovu RN
Navneet Josan RN
Janice Chan RN
Assertive Community Treatment Team

Charmaine Chiu RPN BSPN
BC Childrens’ Hospital

Anja Pakendorf RN
BC Women’s Hospital

Kuldeip Chagani RN
Burnaby General Hospital

Annaleah Kralj RN
Glady Parrenas RN
Maria Macapiniac RN
Marylee Chu RN
Rowena Maniti RN
Chilliwack General Hspital

Noel Gadiano RN
Community Nursing Interior Health

Marnie Flynn LPN
Community Transitional Care Team

Jendra Gonzales RN
Comox Valley Hospital

Christine Burr RN
Cowichan District Hospital

Rebeca Easthorn LPN
Dawson Creek and District Hospital

Lexi Sparrow RN
Eagle Park Health Care Facility
Michelle Martinson RN
Eagle Ridge Hospital

Lissett Tschenscher LPN
Terry Wong RN
Fraser Health Authority

Felice Suva RPN
Kathryn Harris RN
Glenwood Lodge

Jezel Gadiano RN
Healthlink BC/811

Julie Raustad RN
Carrie Wells RN
Hilltop House

Danika Semeniuk LPN
Home Health Service Line

Sandra Cyr RN
Interior Health Community Care

Melodie Schlamp RN
Kelowna General Hospital

Laura Gallacher RN
Collyne Zahorodniuk RN
Tammy Anderson RN
Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

Lisa Keech RN
Ladysmith Community Health Centre

Louise Gilfoy RN
Lions Gate Hospital

Sheila Hardy RN
Sukhi Rai RN
Laurie Halfpenny RN
Parisa Zamani RN
Sam Sobolewski RN
Lou Alcruz RN
Angela Ireton RN
Ryan MacDonald RN
Ivan Iarov RN
Allyson Helgason RN
Mission Memorial Hospital

Joanna Pryor RN
Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

Mark Hernandez BSPN RPN PLN
Jeff Miguez RN
Whitney Nelson RN
Chantal Crowder RPN
Ann Burlington RN
Katie Backstrom RN BSN
Leane Rear RN
Newton Community Dialysis Centre

Racel Yngreso RN
North Shore Community Health

Eva Jirika RN
Cathy Hodgins RN
June McAdam RN
Oceanside Urgent Care Centre

Cindy Godmaire RN
Peace Arch Hospital

Cecilia Villanueva RN
Powell River General Hospital

Heather Woods LPN
Laurie Vallance RN
Richmond General Hospital

Anthony Malig RN
Jenny Wan-Chin To RN
Maggie Tsui RN
Ridge Meadows Hospital

Camille Nicholson RN
Royal Columbian Hospital

Christina Gower RN
Bal Chahal RN
Harpreet Bal RN
Tiffany Yee RN
Sherri Pel RN
Joel Baughman RN
Maria Proulx RN
Royal Jubilee Hospital

Rachel Blakely RN BSN
Sarah Johnston RN
Royal Inland Hospital

Leah Pooler RN
Lauren Marinella RN
Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Claire Brooks RN
St. Paul’s Hospital

Nicole Moffat RN
Nicole Wong RPN
Maria Lenardon RN
Binhui Luo RN
Surrey Memorial Hospital
Krishna Mondala RN
Cecile Giusta RN PCC
Wendy Dickinson RN
Deni Handy LPN
Linda Zaron RN
Kirandeep Brar RN
Liat Ronen RN
Allyson Rahman LPN
Thornebridge Gardens

Johanne Young LPN
UBC Hospital

Giliana dos Reis RN
University Hospital of Northern BC

Kyle Bergen LPN
Deandra Cormier RN
Vancouver General Hospital

Lori Dupuis RN BSN
Andrea Noronha RN
Sophie Pelletier RN
Nazanin Barati RN
Kathy Treherne RN
Ladan Bayani-Mehrabadi RN
Will Offley RN
Lieza Phan RN
Arlene Aspinall RN
Charing Ho RN
Karen Schmidt RN
Christina Casey RN
Kim Klassen RN
Mark Galloway RN
Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Michele Dyke RN
Victoria General Hospital

Lisa Isacson RN
Adam Beattie New grad
Nicole Csonka RN
Alicia Lansdowne RN
Danielle Garden RPN
Janet Walter RN BSN
Sabrina Levac RN
Imtiaz Joorawon RN
Kulwant Dhaliwal RN
Talia Rattan RN
Sara Weinkam RN
Patricia Sproul RN
Ashley Mai RN
Doris Adgerra RN
Achharjit Cheema RN
Tania Rodriguez RN
cc. Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia Chief Medical Health Officer
      Dr. Gerald Da Roza, Head of Medicine, Royal Columbian Hospital
(*) This open letter was composed before the March 21-23 new case numbers in B.C. were available.  On Thursday March 19 there were 40 new cases.  On Friday March 20, a jump of 85% in one day.  On Saturday however the rate of increase slowed , with 74 new cases.  Sunday saw 76, today 48.  If this trend continues it may well represent the beginning of a flattening of what has been until now an exponential curve,  Let us all hope that is the case, but not relax vigilance.