[NB: this post was written jointly by all Haida Gwaii Physicians, to share their urgent concerns for the well-being of the people of Haida Gwaii]
As the COVID-19 virus draws closer to our islands, there are some important ways we can work together to reduce the impact on our communities.
If we let the virus spread the way it has in other places, we would expect well over 400 people here to be sick enough to need to be in hospital. We only have 12 acute care beds between the two hospitals, and most of these are already full. Over 20 people could become sick enough to need a ventilator (breathing machine), and we have only two of these on the islands. Also keep in mind that, as our health care resources get diverted to deal with those that get very sick, we will struggle to keep up with the usual health care emergencies (heart attacks, accidents, etc.). This pandemic has consequences for everybody’s health.
However, if we ALL work together, the numbers of people who may get seriously ill will be much less and will be spread out over a longer time. We will then be more able to help those who need it most.
HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP US HELP YOU
This virus spreads wherever people come together, so the most important thing you can do is STAY AT HOME and limit visitors. If you must leave your home for work or essentials, keep your distance from others, ideally beyond 2 meters (6 feet). Wash your hands often and try not to touch your face (and wash your hands or use sanitizer after you do!). Please encourage friends and family to do the same.
1. If you develop a fever, cold symptoms or a cough, use the ONLINE SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL or call the NH COVID-19 Hotline = 1-844-645-7811 to help you decide if you need medical attention.
2. If you need to see a doctor, CALL FIRST, so we can prepare for your visit and not keep you waiting where the virus can be spread to others.
SOUTH END of Haida Gwaii residents = 1-250-559-4900
NORTH END of Haida Gwaii residents = 1-250-626-4702
3. Stay calm and be kind, but do not minimize the seriousness of the situation. Encourage each other (and our elected politicians!) to do the right thing in a timely fashion, and support each other through this crisis – only together can we make a difference and save lives!
We want you to know that all the health care staff of Haida Gwaii are here for you and continue to prepare the best they can for the challenges that lie ahead. We are working hard to adapt to this evolving situation, to get through this in the best way possible. We care deeply for you all and want the best for you and your families.