Pictured above — back row, left to right: Ineke Rhebergen, Levi Leyenhorst, Jelisa Paridaen, Kayla Pannell, Sophia Bianchi. Front row, left to right: Shana Lindsay, Laura Reyburn, Steph Sobczak, Katie Hoffman, Melissa Ackison
Cranbrook’s front line health care workers are encouraging local residents to continue practicing social distancing and stay at home to help flatten the curve of this pandemic.
The goal of this is to prevent a surge in patients with COVID-19 needing care.
This echoes the message from Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer who is urging British Columbians to stay home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
“Staying away from others is the only way to keep people from getting the disease since we know that COVID-19 can be spread by people who have no symptoms,” said Dr. Sophia Bianchi, ER Physician at East Kootenay Regional Hospital. “Some people could get seriously ill from this virus and if a large number of people become ill at the same time our health care resources could potentially be overwhelmed as we are seeing in other places.”
Dr. Bianchi suggests staying home except for essential errands such as grocery shopping once per week. She also recommends avoiding public places, staying at least two metres apart from other people if you go out for a walk, and visiting with friends virtually instead of in person.
“Our community has been so supportive and we thank everyone for doing their part to slow the spread of this virus despite the hardships it is causing,” Dr. Bianchi said.
The hospital staff are grateful for the donations already received from the community. The safety goggles worn by the nurses, doctors and allied health staff pictured above were donated by Chris Caron of Finning Canada who also donated a number of gloves and N95 masks to the ER department.
The hospital has also received a number of donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the College of the Rockies, Home Depot, Monarch, Bavarian Home Hardware and Kimberley Building Supplies, Canadian Tire and Cloverdale paint.
With the COVID-19 pandemic creating an increased demand for PPE worldwide many hospitals are urgently trying to increase their supply so that their front line workers can be adequately protected. One of the most critical pieces of protective equipment is a special type of disposable mask called an N95 mask; these masks filter out the virus and help prevent the wearer from being exposed.
N95 masks are also worn by carpenters and construction workers to filter out hazardous particles in the air. If any local businesses or individuals have supplies of PPE including N95 masks, gloves, goggles, face shields or surgical masks that they can donate please visit www.maskaherobc.ca for contact information.