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How Vancouver Island officials are handling COVID
Caught in the middle
I am one of the lucky ones when it comes to Covid. I am financially okay and I don’t have to worry about parents in longterm care, children or grandchildren. However, I am 65.
I have followed Dr. Henry and Minister Dix since the beginning of Covid and generally think they have done a good job protecting British Columbians, up until now.
They misjudged the variant threat and were opening things up when they should have been shutting them down.
They’ve also done a poor job with the AstraZeneca vaccine. They tell us it is not very effective for older people and decide to run a parallel program using the vaccine for younger people. Europe pauses using the vaccine because of blood clots; we are told the vaccine is fine. A week later the vaccine is put on pause due to blood clots and now is considered unsafe for younger people. However, today it was rolled out in the Lower Mainland for people 55-65.
My biggest concern now, as a 65 year old, is being caught in the middle of a poorly managed vaccine rollout and forced to take a potentially inferior vaccine. No Canadian, young or old should be put in this position. We are a wealthy country and should all be given the best vaccine in a timely manner.
Right now I am feeling the least optimistic about the pandemic when I should be feeling the most optimistic. The only good thing is that I live on the Island. In a utopia I would like to close the Island to essential traffic only.
Politicians and health officials are only human
As a female of 74 years old, I wish our politicians and health workers were magicians, clairvoyants, and could perform spells of magic. But they aren't. Sadly, they are only extraordinary human beings giving all they've got to juggle health, illness, their own lives, keeping businesses alive, and criticism at bay.
It's so easy to be angry and blame, pontificate and criticize. And although everyone wishes it were over, nobody wants it more than our leaders and health people.
Look deep inside, people. What are you doing to be a part of the solution?
Vancouver Island could have been a safe zone
As an Island resident watching the pandemic unfurl, I wish to reiterate what most of us have been saying since the outset: the Island was a perfect place to stop COVID-19 and its variants from spreading right at the beginning.
Living on an island is, in itself, to be somewhat isolated. Ferries, flights and any travel to and from the Island should, and could have been halted, in time to stop this virus from infesting our small communities, in its tracks. Instead we have another profound case of ‘too little, too late’.
So, how do I feel about the restrictions? Ambivalent, would be my answer. We were not offered safe and mindful decision-making at the first sign of trouble. I now watch the ups and downs of these on-and-off restrictions with a wry sense of...’whatever’ and absolutely no sense of safety.
Much like a person falling from the window of a burning building, I somehow don’t expect to land softly.
Travellers inflicting Canada with costs
While Canada talks a good game of quarantine for travellers and proof of testing for Covid before flying, the penalties for having broken Canada’s health laws are nowhere to be found alongside the deliberate transgressions.
Recent news stories detail a number of intentional deceptions to circumvent the law through fake Covid test results. No statistics on accumulated fines. The costs of this is borne by Canadians in both money and health - potentially death for many otherwise innocent Canadians.
Multiple flights arriving in Canada from foreign destinations reveal dozens of flight exposures. Predominant among the originating cities are Delhi and Mexico City; each with over 2 dozen infected flights in this new year alone, with multiple US-origin and a smaller number of European flights arriving with detected Covid cases aboard.
Clearly the penalties the prevention and control measures are inadequate - or at least not sufficiently bothersome to airlines - for them to enforce a sufficient regimen of detection of passengers presenting themselves at check-in.
Mandatory, supervised hotel quarantine, with costs placed on the carriers would go a long way to stop these infractions. The rapid growth of variants, both B1.1.7 and South African with their highly transmissible characteristics are going to mix with the lax practices of Canadians and propel us into another cycle of death and illness, widespread vaccinations not withstanding.
I am disturbed by the number of flights that arrive on our island with passengers who have COVID symptoms. I thought everyone getting on a plane was supposed to be tested or at least have their temperature taken—even those traveling from one province to another. Why are passengers getting on planes heading to Vancouver Island not being screened? The same with the ferry service.
More testing for visitors
I don't understand why testing is not used more. For instance, hotel bookings on Vancouver Island could require a negative test.
I've always felt that non-essential travel to the Island should be banned, at least for 2 weeks to control rising numbers.
I feel the economy and tourism is more important than our health. Rules for gatherings are random and arbitrary. For those of us isolating in place for over a year, it's very frustrating.
Restrictions long overdue
I think the restrictions are long over due and wonder how many people will die or have long lasting health problems because we waited so long. I also think there should be more emphasis on fines and charges for people not following the rules.
What took so long to have elementary children wear masks and why only grade four and up? I feel for the teachers who are risking their lives—if having all school children wear masks reduces even one teacher getting COVID, risking death or long term health conditions it is worth it. Of course there will be some who can't but that is the exception. I see toddlers wearing masks all the time. The safety of the majority is paramount.
I know people are working very hard to get the population safe and appreciate the hours and hours of planning. Thank you to our public and private sector workers and to our politicians. Thank you to those who follow the rules and shame on those who do not.
Officials too cautious in imposing restrictions
My sense is that from the outset, both the federal government and the province have been much too cautious about imposing restrictions, in particular about travel and mask-wearing.
Vancouver Island is an island like New Zealand, and we have seen what decisive measures have accomplished there.
This pandemic is a crisis of enormous proportions. In a crisis, firm, fast action is required. Our politicians have been far too wishy-washy in response.
The new restrictions are overdue. They should never have been lifted in the first place, when the pandemic was clearly not under control.
S. Ann McBride