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COVID-19: BC NEEDS MORE TESTS

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As residents of the lower mainland keep their eyes glued to the television in hopes of receiving positive updates in relation to this global pandemic, they are disappointed and disheartened by the exponentially increasing infection and death rate of the highly contagious COVID-19. The timeline and increase in numbers are highly reminiscent of the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, which has now amassed to over 59 000 infections and over 5000 deaths. With Canada seeming to follow these footsteps, one must wonder: “What are we doing wrong?” And, “how can we stop the spread of disease?”

To combat COVID-19, the World Health Organization recommends extensive testing, contact tracing, quarantining, isolation, and social/physical distancing. Although many of us have taken it upon ourselves to undertake the latter half, the BC government is only implementing public COVID-19 testing for those with respiratory symptoms who require hospitalization or were in specific locations with a large number of cases. However, this puts the general public at risk as, arguably, testing is the most important factor in countering the virus, with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus claiming, “We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test.” Echoing that statement, Andrea Crisanti, an infectious disease expert working in Italy, says “Test the neighborhood, test the relatives, test the friends, and isolate all positive individuals. If you do it now, you will stop the disease.”

Furthermore, if we are not testing – we cannot be contact tracing. Community transmission cases will not be tracked if we do not know who is sick to begin with, as the majority of those infected show only minor symptoms. Individuals with mild cases are more likely to be the ones that ignore social distancing guidelines. They may be going to work, going on grocery runs, or they may be one of those people we saw on the beaches of Vancouver, blatantly ignoring the appeals of Dr. Bonnie Henry, our provincial health officer. If social distancing rules are not being enforced, then at least rigorous testing should be.

Our current approach of only testing those that require hospitalization or those who were recently in a localized area with a large number of cases is nowhere near as effective as the policies set in other countries. South Korea, for example, has implemented the process of rigorous testing and it has allowed for the rate of infection to decrease. They were the first to incorporate multiple locations for drive through tests, and to date, have tested over 330 000 people, as opposed to Canada’s 88 883 (as of 5pm March 22nd, 2020). As of March 16, 2020, the infection rate in South Korea has been steadily declining, and currently, the fatality rate in South Korea for COVID-19 is 0.7%, which is drastically lower than the global average of 3.4%. It seems intuitive that Canada should start testing to the degree that South Korea is. Despite the BC government’s statement that testing is not necessary unless you’re a critical case, the truth is that we are actually not testing because we do not have the resources.

Therefore, the question becomes: “How come other countries are capable of testing at a much higher rate than we are?” One of the factors that has allowed South Korea to test rigorously is a rapid approval system that was put in place in response to the SARS pandemic that threatened the world in 2002-2003. Although we weren’t as prepared for a pandemic, we do currently have options that could allow us to reach the testing levels of South Korea. Canada could fast track test kits by looking at which tests are being approved in other countries. This could also battle the dilemma of facing limited resources by implementing different types of tests other than the popular nasopharyngeal swab. Many labs are coming out with various versions of rapid testing that detect antibodies via blood sample. These rapid tests allow anywhere from a 10-minute to 3-hour window to give a positive or negative result. Bangladesh and the United States have recently given the approval to use these alternative tests to the nasal swab so they can follow the WHO’s recommendation to “test, test, test.”

It is essential that we as a community come together to put pressure on our representatives to approve and implement rapid test kits so BC can catch up to the rest of the world in fighting this virus. We can contact our representatives, MP’s, and politicians for the safety of everyone in our community, including our grandparents, parents, and our immunocompromised friends. Please take a moment to look at the links below and write your concerns regarding our government’s lack of testing. If we put pressure on our government to fast-track more testing methods, perhaps we could all go back to our daily routines faster, and in the process, save a few lives.

 

City of Surrey

COVID-19@surrey.ca

 

Mayor Doug McCallum:

Phone: (604) 591-4126

Email: mayor@surrey.ca

 

Member of Parliament for Surrey-Newton

Sukh Dhaliwal

Phone: (604) 598-2200

sukh.dhaliwal@parl.gc.ca

 

Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre

Randeep Sarai

Phone: (604) 589-2441

Randeep.sarai@parl.gc.ca

 

 

 

 

RESOURCES:

-CDC Testing Procedures: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/testing-isolation?fbclid=IwAR2Nx80aPMlsDwWO7JROWcW_QIL-AkC45JXDe84g-RlhtaqRROVApcv26xQ

-Stats: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/case-counts-press-statements?fbclid=IwAR2fjHRDBPVz3wZb0eRtpRwaFfClJYp1g0sJx3VA9x56oIy0jdUTXSnnwYc

-Advice from Italy: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/coronavirus-canada-testing-symptoms-italy-1.5504780?fbclid=IwAR1KQnrI1iqTEzvJHZ_9RXGTocq9L6B8goH-8rJb1DGr8pAxGtFKsWU4fTM

-Key is to Test:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-51916707/who-head-our-key-message-is-test-test-test?fbclid=IwAR00o0V8rNCJ3MoJY1r43969XxL5N348LeExPwfTEuuYWcMziFIrD5zIHGw

-Opinion Piece – Vancouver: https://www.squamishchief.com/pandemic-widespread-in-vancouver-as-testing-capacity-fails-needs-b-c-doctor-1.24100643?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&fbclid=IwAR3TPXHhVPVzZRUAy6f9yBbxQN6SuLE0btM0NsvrxBTBLf5awje0F1yzt8s

-South Korea Testing: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51970379

-Status Quo due to Testing Shortage: https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/don-t-have-the-capacity-to-do-that-many-swabs-top-doctor-defends-covid-19-testing-1.4861872

-Testing for Health Care Workers: https://bccatholic.ca/news/catholic-van/vancouver-s-first-drive-through-covid-19-test-site-opens-for-health-care-workers?fbclid=IwAR1W3YXndsq_R27ctXtC_e9Dw9uQUDCM1L_HSC8eO14o0EezWssQEdwK1a4

-Bill Gates take on testing: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/world/covid-19-bill-gates-says-countries-that-test-for-coronavirus-will-bounce-back-in-weeks/article31106514.ece?fbclid=IwAR1NQ1foMtQ_WHTM9H47zkzWZDe9u0-8hyYuDgWpaLxmBCcH8M-kqbPf2Kk

-South Korea’s success: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/20/south-korea-rapid-intrusive-measures-covid-19?fbclid=IwAR27BRIg8y-HcUCw919cw1ECwz7AuNznE4HQoHBk3Nq9PNZ00rMwU2TBQCc

-Importance of testing mild symptoms: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00822-x?fbclid=IwAR2nQfu–ydCElzcEE6FiJaDf6kcD11zD7zts6iJuUItfbdLkuo1GLmDte4

-Rapid Testing: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200318005814/en/?fbclid=IwAR2IvC8Bw7yOOWln7-kieXOtiTOLu5OrRqUFC19iPPD_8lQhQExqB_kdbHk

-Bangladesh Rapid Tests: https://www.medicaldevice-network.com/news/bangladesh-low-cost-covid-19-test/

-Low Resources: https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/health-officials-explain-why-not-everyone-can-get-swabbed-for-covid-19-right-now-1.4855979?fbclid=IwAR3bGXY9SQ6sn_x44V3DJiG4Nvq1nuOVdyIUHSf_cbyKIkV0noYxAw-_4P4

-Coronavirus in South Korea: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51836898?fbclid=IwAR0OYngfTviBJ20Fs44bSbO531FSD5c6vDaARmx72JMJSdlU7z6OskheY9Y

-Why we aren’t testing: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/covid-testing-shortages-1.5503926?fbclid=IwAR12wq6MhFqcEd8Z_-IhGDY9d8P6YCHLCv1gtqS3bWgj0Ziernc0WcsEOHM

-South Korea Infection Rate: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/south-korea/?fbclid=IwAR3Bo70u4-SPt9jKkrJtqiyd3j4G6L–cyGF0ou_cEDsyeyx-0LOyujB-Y8

This article was submitted by a reader from the Surrey Community. You can submit your own community story, press release, event or public notice directly to our Community Board today! We also have advertising and promotional options for businesses.

Community Board

Startup Program by X-Byte Enterprise Solutions in CANADA

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X-Byte is launching its super-exclusive StartUp Accelerator program to help and guide all the aspiring business owners out there to scale their operations and grow their venture in 2021.

It’s a one-of-a-kind supercharger program conceived and developed by X-Byte Enterprise Solutions to boost the nation’s entrepreneurial spirit. We are open to up to 25 startups to teach, guide, assist, mentor and share everything we know about running a successful business in this current day and age. Our Program walks every selected entrepreneurial candidate through the following essential modules.

 

Get in touch with us for your specific business requirements.

 

 | Visit us: https://www.xbytesolutions.com/startup-accelerator-program.php

 

| Phone: +1 (832) 251 7311

 

 | Email: sales@xbytesolutions.com

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Community Board

Citizen driven initiative to crowdsource, compile, and share COVID-19 data on exposure events in your community at businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants, and malls.

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COVID Reported (www.covidreported.com) provides daily updates regarding potential exposures in your community at businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, salons, and malls. We combine all available exposure data into one centralized database, empowering you to keep you and your family safe by providing you with a more complete picture of COVID-19 activity in your community. We take the potentially lifesaving data, analyze it, map it, and send critical alerts in situations when a business has more than 3 exposure events within a 60-day period or when we notice other patterns in specific geographical locations which may pose a potential exposure risk to you and your family. 𝐏𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 “𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞” 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐅𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐩𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐝𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐮𝐩𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬.

We also rely on people like you to help crowdsource data on exposure events that may not be well publicized. When you send us a tip, we verify the information and share this critical data with the COVID Reported community, all while keeping your identity private. With your help, we can prevent the spread of COVID-19, keep families safe, prevent deaths, and help ease restrictions. And unlike COVID alert apps which only provide notifications after a potential exposure, COVID Reported can also help protect you from being exposed in the first place.

Are you aware of a COVID-19 exposure event at a grocery store, restaurant, coffee shop, salon, or mall? If so, please contact us.

𝐓𝐨 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐦𝐢𝐭 𝐚 𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐈𝐃-𝟏𝟗 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐩, 𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐮𝐬 𝐚 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐅𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐝𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐬 𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐥𝐮𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠:

1) The name and address of the business, when the infected employee was working at the business, and when and where the exposure information was posted.

2) Any supporting documents you have such as a news story, an email from the businesses confirming the exposure event, or a Facebook/Instagram/Twitter post from the business which confirms the exposure.

Why did we start COVID Reported? We are a father and son team that started this project in order to provide as much information as we can to help keep you, your family, and our communities safe. We are in much more deadly wave of COVID-19 and the most recent scientific evidence shows that those who are infected with COVID-19 yet are asymptomatic can still experience lifelong health complications such as serious lung damage. Our motto sums up our mission, share the info, see the info, stop the spread.

https://www.citynews1130.com/…/white-rock-father-son…/

https://globalnews.ca/…/online-initiative-encourages…

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Community Board

Kisaan Ekta Collective Supports Punjabi Farmers Protesting in India

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“In light of Punjabi Farmers protesting in India, media blackouts, and misalignment, we are committed to a call to action to keeping ourselves and each other informed on what’s really going on.” Kisaan Ekta Collective is a group of individuals from Vancouver, BC and Toronto, ON who are synthesizing information on the issue to transparently inform + urge a call to action to continue keeping each other informed. Visit kisaanekta.co for more information on the matter, ways to help, educational resources and artistic expressions on the matter.

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Community Board

As Flu Shots Remain Scarce, Two Flu Vaccination Clinics in Surrey Have Hundreds of Appointments Available

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Amid reports of family doctors and pharmacies running out of vaccines, and of patients’ flu vaccine appointments being canceled, two mass flu immunization clinics in Surrey are open and welcoming patients.

The clinics, which opened on November 2 and will run through December (or until supplies run out) are open to all Surrey and North Delta residents.

Jointly operated by Fraser Health and the Surrey-North Delta Division of family practice, these clinics have the capacity to provide thousands of flu vaccines, depending on demand and availability, and they are far from fully booked.

“We designed these clinics with the understanding that the demand for flu vaccines this year would be much higher than in previous years,” says Tomas Reyes, Executive Director of the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family practice. “Now that supplies have become scarce in our communities, we want to encourage anyone in Surrey and North Delta who still needs a flu shot to book an appointment – this is what these clinics were designed for.”

Those wishing to receive a vaccine will have to be free of any COVID-19 symptoms, and screening will be conducted at the vaccination sites before each appointment. Appointments can be booked online at https://surreynorthdeltaflushot.secureform.ca, where patients will also be able to select the time and location of their appointment.

Spots are expected to fill quickly, so organizers recommend booking as soon as possible.

About the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice

Established in 2010, the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice is comprised of nearly 400 physicians at various career stages, 40 resident doctors and 200 Medical Office Assistants from across Surrey and North Delta.

The Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice brings together family doctors to enhance the delivery of health care services in the community. It is a member-driven non-profit society, created by and for doctors, who understand the needs and realities of serving a community as large and diverse as Surrey and North Delta. The Division is funded by the Government of BC and Doctors of BC.

More information about the SNDFP can be found here: https://www.divisionsbc.ca/surrey-north-delta

About Fraser Health

Fraser Health is responsible for the delivery of hospital and community-based health services to over 1.8 million people in 20 diverse communities from Burnaby to Fraser Canyon on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples.

Their team of nearly 40,000 staff, medical staff and volunteers is dedicated to serving patients, families and communities to deliver on our vision: Better health, best in health care.

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Community Board

Two Immunization Clinics Opened This Week in Surrey

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On November 2, two large immunization clinics offering accessible flu vaccines opened in Surrey. Jointly operated by Fraser Health and the Surrey-North Delta Division of family practice, these clinics will provide flu vaccines to the Surrey-North Delta community, during the upcoming two to three months they will be in operation.

The clinics will be operating in two locations – at the Newton Urgent Primary Care Centre and at the Axis Primary Care Clinic in Cloverdale and will offer vaccination services by appointment only.

The two organizations have worked together to implement these clinics in a very short amount of time in order to meet increased community demand.  These clinics are available in addition to the traditional channels of pharmacies and family physicians providing flu vaccines to their patients.

The clinics will be open to everyone and will accommodate individuals struggling with barriers to access, such as low-income individuals and those without a family physician.

Those wishing to receive a vaccine will have to be free of any COVID-19 symptoms, and screening will be conducted at the vaccination sites before each appointment. Appointments can be booked online at https://surreynorthdeltaflushot.secureform.ca, where patients will also be able to select the time and location of their appointment.

Spots are expected to fill quickly, so organizers recommend booking as soon as possible.

About the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice

Established in 2010, the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice is comprised of nearly 400 physicians at various career stages, 40 resident doctors and 200 Medical Office Assistants from across Surrey and North Delta.

The Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice brings together family doctors to enhance the delivery of health care services in the community. It is a member-driven non-profit society, created by and for doctors, who understand the needs and realities of serving a community as large and diverse as Surrey and North Delta. The Division is funded by the Government of BC and Doctors of BC.

More information about the SNDFP can be found here: https://www.divisionsbc.ca/surrey-north-delta

About Fraser Health

Fraser Health is responsible for the delivery of hospital and community-based health services to over 1.8 million people in 20 diverse communities from Burnaby to Fraser Canyon on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples.

Their team of nearly 40,000 staff, medical staff and volunteers is dedicated to serving patients, families and communities to deliver on our vision: Better health, best in health care.

Continue Reading
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