I am writing this as a family physician working in the Lower Mainland. I am deeply frustrated with the response of various levels of government and health authorities to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We knew there was community spread of the virus over a week ago. The official message last week was, “There is no evidence of significant community spread.”
The BCCDC is now admitting that it’s out of control and we must stop identifying cases, yet the official message is, “Don’t panic, we have a strong public health system.” That message is being received by the general public as, “Keep calm and carry on.”
We know that our swabs are waiting over a week to be analyzed. We know that we are running low on swabs and personal protective equipment. We know that the more cases we can identify, the better informed we can be about what our response to this pandemic should be. The official message now is, “Don’t swab the people who may have COVID-19 or may be at risk of getting it. Only swab the very ill or hospitalized patients, and health care workers.”
I suppose the statistics will look better if we send in fewer swabs, but at this rate, who will be left to swab us when we get sick? My office is down 40% in physicians due to quarantine. More of my colleagues in the community are away from their offices due to self-isolation. The government needs to better equip us with supplies and services and they need to better equip the general public with real, up-to-date knowledge.
We had our first COVID-19–related death at our hospital. It’s time.
—David Chapman, MBChB
This post has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board.