Dr. Rebecca Janssen. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Rebecca Janssen. (Submitted photo)

Letter: Assume COVID is in your community; Act accordingly

Chief of Staff at St. John Hospital writes letter to residents of the Omineca region

Dear Residents of the Omineca Region,

I wanted to address recent information that has circulated on the Internet/Facebook last week regarding COVID in our area. This information was shared by patients themselves, as well as others in the communities of Fort St James and Vanderhoof. I’m sure there are many people wondering why this information is not coming directly from Northern Health.

As you may be aware, British Columbia’s public health services made the decision at the beginning of this pandemic not to share information about COVID in specific communities, but rather by Health Authority. This decision was reached because of fears that communities and individual patients would experience negative fallout and ostracization if this information was shared. What’s more, individual patients with COVID are still entitled to the same confidentiality as all patients in Canada. We have seen in other communities that when this confidentiality was breached, the COVID patients did suffer many negative consequences.

I can appreciate how frustrating it is to only be given limited information from your Health Authority about the exact location of COVID outbreaks locally. I’m sorry for that frustration. However, new cases in BC and in Northern Health are rising. We are seeing the second wave.

Assume COVID is in your community. Act accordingly. Dr Bonnie Henry has asked us to once again limit our social circle to 6 people. Wear masks to protect others if you have to go out in public. Look after your neighbours and vulnerable people by helping them to access the things that they need while avoiding crowds.

I can share with you that we have been very fortunate in the Omineca Region so far. Our facilities have had months to prepare, plan and modify how we deliver care, in order to make health services as safe as possible. Our hospital staff are well trained and well versed in our COVID protocols. I believe that we are ready for whatever comes our way.

I can appreciate how tired everyone is of hearing about COVID. But we are also entering a critical window where it is more important than even to make safe choices and be responsible members of our community. Please listen to Public Health officials. Remember that Facebook is not a reputable news source. Be assured that we are ready for COVID locally in our health facilities. “Be calm, be kind, be safe”

By Dr Rebecca Janssen, MD CCFP

Chief of Staff

St John Hospital


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Head-on collision Jan. 14 claims one life west of Fort St. James

Jenkins said alcohol, as well as road surface conditions, have been ruled out as factors

Nechako River, Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Officials keeping close tabs on Nechako River after ice jam causes area flooding

District of Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen, though, said water levels have gone down, for now

Vanderhoof home sees water from the Nechako move up into the yard, and within hours, water was seen up to the deck. Ken Young, Vanderhoof councillor posted this photo on social media.
Mayor concerned about ice jams in the Nechako river

“We have never lived with a frozen river at this magnitude during our time in council,” mayor said.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read