British Columbia’s public health guidelines protect vulnerable seniors – Trail Daily Times

British Columbia is currently experiencing a fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic fueled by the highly transmissible variant Omicron.

In response, public health officials have taken several new steps to mitigate the potential of this wave to overtake our healthcare system.

These public health restrictions limit the possibilities of transmission and significant outbreaks, speed up the vaccine booster schedule, and expand the provincial testing strategy to include additional use of rapid antigen testing to supplement the use of PCR testing.

Together, these measures, along with the use of masks and the BC Vaccine Card, will hopefully reduce the severity of Wave 5.

I ask all British Columbians to continue to follow public health guidelines to protect our vulnerable seniors.

While COVID-19 can cause serious illness and death at any age, people aged 70 and over in British Columbia have been disproportionately affected.

Since the start of the pandemic, people aged 70 and over who contracted COVID-19 were 22 times more likely to die than younger people, and those aged 80 and over were 44 times more likely to die .

Frail elderly people living in long-term care suffered significantly during the first two waves of the virus pandemic and visitation restrictions.

In response, measures to protect our seniors in long-term care were put in place, including mandatory vaccinations for staff and visitors, and reminders for residents and staff.

The province has also expanded its rapid testing program for long-term care staff and visitors, providing an extra layer of protection for seniors and their loved ones.

In order to protect the elderly in our communities, as the majority of people aged 70 and over still live in their own homes, we must limit our exposure to others and keep our circles restricted during this current wave.

In order to allow older people in the community to have safe contact with their loved ones, rapid antigenic tests should be available for home use to protect this vulnerable population.

Today, I am calling on the provincial government to make rapid antigenic tests (RAT) available in the community, so that individuals can test themselves before visiting relatives who are elderly and most at risk of disease. serious.

Additionally, I also call on all members of the public who have secured their own supply of RAT to put it to good use and prioritize the use of testing for visits with the elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable loved ones.

I also ask that the government, in conjunction with its accelerated recall program, reduce the current requirement of a minimum of six months between an individual’s second dose and their third dose / booster.

This change reflects the current reality in British Columbia as we face a pandemic with the highly transmissible variant Omicron.

In the meantime, I strongly encourage everyone to reserve their third dose / booster as soon as possible. More than ever, this third blow is crucial in our management of the pandemic.

And for those who have not yet been vaccinated, I implore you to do so immediately.

Vaccines protect not only you, but also those around you and our communities in general.

The past two years have been tough for everyone, but British Columbians have shown they will do whatever it takes to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community.

Every day I hear stories of people helping the elderly, like shopping for groceries or medicine and checking in with a friendly chat. To everyone who has lent a hand in this pandemic, I say a heartfelt thank you.

As we approach the end of another difficult year, I join so many others in warmly thanking our healthcare workers.

Every frontline worker has my sincere gratitude.

While it is not the holiday season we all hoped for, if we follow public health guidelines we can find a way to safely spend time with some of our loved ones.

My best wishes for the end of the year holidays to all.

Isobel Mackenzie,

British Columbia Seniors Advocate

BC Health COVID-19 Letter to the Editor Seniors

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