By PETER MILOBAR
MLA, Kamloops-North Thompson
LAST WEDNESDAY, British Columbia declared a provincial state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19, or coronavirus, is developing at a rapid pace. We have seen the terrible toll it has taken in China, Iran, Italy and many other countries.
New preventative and containment measures are being taken by both the provincial and federal governments to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and ensure public safety.
I have great faith in our health services to do everything in their power to keep us all as safe as possible. They are doing their best and I extend my deepest gratitude to every healthcare worker in this province and around the world for their tireless efforts.
Our greatest chance to overcome COVID-19 is for us to all do our part to prevent the spread of the virus so that our health workers can focus their resources on the most serious cases.
Our primary goal right now is to “flatten the curve,” or prevent a massive spike in cases from overloading our hospitals and healthcare system. The best way to achieve this is for us to all practice social distancing and self isolation. Avoid any non-essential travel or outings, wash your hands as frequently as possible, and stay at home if you are sick.
In times like these, we need to remember not only to look after ourselves but to also look out for each other. Never forget that we are all in this together — the steps that we take in the coming weeks are designed not only to protect ourselves, but our whole community, especially those most vulnerable.
This includes checking up on each other and maintaining open communication. Social isolation can have a negative psychological impact, so it is key that we all take the time to call up friends and relatives, especially the elderly.
When you do need to go out for groceries and supplies, it is important to remember the difference between panic and preparedness. There is no need to hoard items, as Canada is making every effort to keep our trade and commerce open.
Hoarding does little to protect your family but can severely impact others in our communities. If everyone maintains a community spirit and ensures there is enough to go around, shelves can remain stocked and people won’t have to worry about not having enough toilet paper or other essentials.
I would also like to thank Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry as well as Minister of Health Adrian Dix for their efforts to keep British Columbians as up to date as possible on the latest developments of COVID-19.
Knowledge is power and if every British Columbian keeps informed and follows the instructions of Dr. Henry and her staff, we can continue to respond appropriately to this ever-developing health crisis.
You can learn more about the latest updates to COVID-19 and how to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe by visiting the website of the B.C. Center for Disease Control.
If we all do our part, we will get through this, together.
Peter Milobar is the MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson.