Statement: Furstenau and B.C. Children’s Hospital surgeon respond to Health Minister Adrian Dix’s update on the respiratory illnesses season

November 16, 2022

VICTORIA B.C. – B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau has responded to Health Minister Adrian Dix’s update on the respiratory illnesses season:

“After two and a half challenging years, parents are now facing the terrifying prospect of not being able to access healthcare for their sick kids,” Furstenau said. We are all exhausted, we all want the pandemic to be behind us, but when it comes to children we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect them.

“We know that masks help both with preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Kids and teachers are used to wearing them. If there is even a small chance we can stop the scary situation in Ontario from playing out here, we should take it. 

“At this stage in the pandemic, public health measures are a political decision and I urge our incoming Premier to recognize the urgency of this situation and reinstate a mask mandate in indoor public spaces to protect our kids.” 

Please see quote from nonpartisan subject matter expert Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi below.

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Quote from nonpartisan healthcare expert

“The convergence of multiple respiratory pathogens and altered population immunity has resulted in a significant increase in viral infections in children across Canada. British Columbia is not exempt. This is resulting in more sick kids. Some need to stay home from school, adding to parental pressures, some require medical attention, and some require hospital admission. The added stressors of the unsolved primary care crisis and hospital staffing shortages, has created a undeniable storm. 

“Pediatric hospital emergency room and inpatient capacity is precarious. Elective surgery is being postponed. We must do whatever is necessary now to change the trajectory. Requiring, not suggesting, masking in indoor public settings, schools, and on mass transit and deploying effective technologies to improve indoor air quality are necessary public health measures essential to protect our children and help those that care for them.”

 - Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi, Clinical Professor of Surgery at UBC School of Medicine, Pediatric Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon (former chief) at B.C. Children’s Hospital

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