Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry listens during a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry listens during a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck.

‘We need to do more’: Fraser Health doctors send dire letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry

Letter says hospitals soon to be ‘overwhelmed,’ urges closure of all non-essential businesses

Over 200 Fraser Health doctors endorsed a letter sent to the top provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, urging her to take further decisive action on COVID-19. The letter begs the closure of all non-essential businesses and heavier use of social distancing – their words seem to have had some effect.

“We need to act now to prevent a catastrophic number of preventable deaths,” the letter says. “At our current rate of spread, our hospitals will become overwhelmed within a few weeks… We need to do more.”

Today, March 21, coinciding with the daily updates of new COVID-19 cases, Henry announced that all personal-service businesses would have to close, along with the somber news of another 74 cases, and one more death. These businesses include hair salons, and massage and tattoo parlours, among others.

“I know most of these businesses have closed, but it’s come to my attention that there is still confusion out there about whether or not they should be open,” Henry said. “We want to make it very clear that the expectation is that these will be closed.”

The letter cites over 250,000 cases worldwide, with over 11,000 deaths; points to B.C.’s infection trajectory being the same as Italy’s, where 627 recently died in a single day, adding to a total death toll of over 4,000; countries in the European Union seeing cases double every three or four days (the same as B.C.); the closure of all non-essential businesses in Toronto, PEI, California, Illinois and New York City; and South Korea’s success in reducing their infection rate through stricter measures.

“Tragically, Italy has had to choose who can receive intensive medical care based on age and risk profile; please to not force us to implement similar policies here as our hospitals become overrun,” the letter says. “A community lock-down may seem drastic, but experiences throughout the rest of the world clearly how critical it is to act decisively and urgently.”

Fraser Health’s largest hospital, Royal Columbian Hospital, is described as facing shortages in staff and resources.

“Our team of physicians are at Royal Columbian Hospital [are] working tirelessly,” the letter says. “We will lose this battle unless we act immediately… We urge you to implement these measures now that we may have a fighting chance.”

The doctor’s pleas also press for the closure of public parks and beaches, a limitation on hospital visitors and a public awareness campaign about social distancing.

The letter is signed by Dr. Gerald Da Roza, head of medicine at Royal Columbian Hospital.

There are now 424 cases in B.C., and the death toll has reached 10 as per Henry’s announcement today.

RELATED: More than 400 COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths in B.C.

Fraser Health

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

Just Posted

Fraser Health issued an overdose alert on Jan. 21, 2021 after an increase in overdoses over the past week in Chilliwack associated with a “greeny-blue/turquoise down substance.” (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fraser Health issues drug overdose alert in Chilliwack

Alert comes after increase in overdoses associated with ‘greeny-blue/turquoise down substance’

ds
Mission potbellied-pig sanctuary mourns death of beloved old hog named Roscoe

14-year-old, 800-pound pig was ‘quite a character,’ said owner Janice Gillett

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA holds a webinar on Jan. 26 titled Staying Safe Online.
‘Staying Safe Online’ is subject of Fraser Valley webinar

Session on Tuesday, Jan. 26 is hosted by non-profit Circles of Support and Accountability

Competitors make their way through the course at the 2019 Canadian Cross Country Championships, which was hosted by Abbotsford in 2019. (File photo)
Abbotsford to host 2023 Canadian Cross Country Championships

Clearbrook Park last hosted the event in 2019, Ottawa hosting 2021 and 2022 races

A door is boarded up following a fire at Pho Xuan restaurant on Yale Road on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
UPDATE: Early morning fire at vacant Chilliwack restaurant was deliberately set

Fire erupted north of the Yale Road overpass at Pho Xuan, which was permanently closed

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Most Read