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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

Rally Against Police Murder July 4 Surrey BC

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Vigil for Ejaz Choudry and Rally Against Police Murder 
MOVED TO JULY 4
We demand and public inquiry into how Police Murder are handled. 

The Al-jamia Mosque in Vancouver and Coalition Against Bigotry will hold a prayer vigil on Friday June 26th at the Al-Jamia Mosque at 655 West 8th Ave during at
during Friday Juma prayers at 1 pm to mourn the murdered of Choudry, a 62 year old South Asian man struggling with his mental health by the police in Malton Ontario on Saturday June 20th.

Because it a 50 person limit in the Mosque, people can join and online solidarity prayer vigil on Facebook. Please can pray in their own way and time or have a moment of silence to think about the tragic murder of Ejaz Choudry.

Then join West Coast Cop Watch and Coalition Against Bigotry-Pacific for a Rally and March Against Police murder and abuse on July 1st at 1 pm at the Central City Mall where the Independent Investigation Office of BC is located, to protest the lack of police responsibly and accountability of the murder and abuse by the police. We demand a public inquiry into how police murders and handled in BC. We want to remember Chantel Moore, Ejaz Choudry Kyaw Din, Tony Du, Navarone Woods and many others, mostly Indigenous, Black and People of Colour who have been murdered or abused by the police.

Kyaw Din, who also struggled with his mental health like Ejaz Choudry was also murdered by the RCMP in Coquitlam last year in his home. The Din family held a rally outside the IIO office and Surrey City Centre in February demanding answers from the IIO. They don’t even know the name of the police officer who killed their brother. We also remember Tony Du who was murdered by the Vancouver Police, a Vietnamese, Chinese man also struggling with his Mental health. The police officer who shot Du did hot get charged with murder.

We also Navarone Woods, a Gitxsan indigenous man murdered by the Skytrain Police. The Coroners Jury and also asked for better mental health support during police incidents.

We ask people to wear masks and keep 2 meters distance. We will march to the RCMP E Division Headquarters and then end with a potluck physical distance picnic in Green Timbers Urban Forest.

We acknowledge that this event is being organised on the occupied, traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples – specifically the Musquem, Squamish, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo, Stolo, Musqueam, Katzie and Qayqayt Nations.

For more information, contact Imtiaz Popat at 604 396-2072

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Community Board

Local Innovation Combats Overdose Crisis

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OVERDOSE INTERVENTION APP: New Digital Technology Released to Address the Overdose Crisis

Today, Oxus Machine Works Limited (OMW Ltd)., a local health technology firm that specializes in innovations for diverse communities, announced that they are releasing the Overdose Intervention App (ODi) to combat the ongoing Public Health Emergency and the staggering rise of overdose deaths during COVID-19.

Of this innovation and its impact, Upkar Singh Tatlay (Managing Director) of the tech firm Oxus Machine Works said, “This vital tool engages the entire community in ensuring we are prepared for any circumstance that involves an overdose emergency. Often the onus is on the user themselves but by placing this digital asset in everyone’s hands we are making sure that this a community-wide response and we are all empowered to act.  In addition, communities that are most directly impacted by this health crisis such as South Asians are often left out of consideration when it comes to programming, technology, and content. ODi ensures that the unique needs of BIPOC communities are met through the delivery of linguistic and culturally appropriate content.”

The deployment of the Overdose Intervention App will happen through a network of peers with lived-experience along with the ongoing work of outreach events that are held every week. Media and key stakeholders are encouraged to attend to see proactive steps taking place to address the overdose crisis.

Overdose Intervention App: The Overdose Intervention App (ODi) allows users of different communities and language backgrounds to rapidly respond to an overdose emergency with resources and guidance that is suitable to their needs. This app includes an innate 9-1-1 calling feature, techniques to identify a suspected overdose, steps to administer naloxone, and sequential guidance on emergency first aid response. The Overdose Intervention App allows everyone to access linguistic and culturally relevant resources to offset the dangers of an overdose for free on both Android and Apple devices.

Web:  www.stopoverdoseapp.com

Facebook: @stopoverdoseapp

Instagram: @stopoverdoseapp

Twitter: @stopoverdose2

 

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The Witch of British Columbia, Canada | Stand-Up Comedy by Madhav Mehandru

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This video is about last year when 3 Stand-up comedians from Punjab had a stand-up comedy show in British Columbia [Victoria], Canada on 1st August 2019. How I and other Stand-up comedians Raj and Akshay from Kapurthala [Punjab] tackled difficulties of first time going in Canada and performing on a big stage in victoria [British Columbia], Canada. As a Punjabi, we were very excited to visit Canada and performed there and it was a rollercoaster ride from landing in Canada and meeting difficulties from time to time. First, we had difficulty in understanding English than when I met a witch in Victoria [British Columbia] and how we tacked that witch then our show organizer refused to pay. This video covers our days in Canada from 31 July to 3rd August and finally arriving home in Kapurthala, Punjab on 4th August.

Follow me on social media Profiles :- Instagram:@madhav.live/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/comiccc/

By Madhav Mehandru

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DIVERSEcity CEO Neelam Sahota talks about supporting mothers at home and in the workplace for Mother’s Day

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On Mother’s Day this year, let’s take time to not only celebrate mothers, but really acknowledge them. See them. Not just the smile on their lips, but the worry in their eyes. The exhaustion on their faces. The load on their shoulders.

The COVID-19 global crisis has highlighted the emotional, often invisible, workload that mothers carry. It has also increased that workload.

As we self-isolate in our homes, mothers are carrying the burden of homeschooling, often while working full-time jobs from home, in addition to the cooking, cleaning, shopping and so on.

Many are also still working outside the home, as leaders on health care’s frontlines, or working in essential or service industries, helping us all safely access groceries and essentials during this crisis. We are also seeing amazing women leaders rise up to battle this crisis at the policy level.

For all of them, traditional lines of work and home are being blurred, and it’s important we don’t dismiss or ignore the pressure mothers may be under now — and as we rebuild our workplaces after COVID-19.

As a mother myself, I remember the challenges of building a career in a traditional workplace when my kids were young. When I took on the role of CEO at DIVERSEcity with three children under the age of 12, I was fortunate to have a strong support network. But I still had to make accommodations and choose priorities for myself as a professional versus a mother. During this crisis, I can only imagine the strain working mothers of young children are currently under.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission says that COVID-19 is “having a disproportionate impact on women. Social and economic barriers have been amplified for racialized women, Indigenous women, migrant women, women with low income, single mothers and other women. They are at greater risk of job loss, poverty, food insecurity, loss of housing and domestic violence.”

The Commission recommends taking a feminist approach to re-establishing our workplaces. Canadian Women’s Foundation calls for us to invest in diverse women’s leadership opportunities and empower girls, asking us to imagine what women could achieve if we supported them to the fullest.

Flexible workplaces need to be more of the norm

As a leader of a social services organization, I want all my employees, especially mothers, to feel supported during this crisis. As we all continue to work from home, providing services to our clients through phone and virtual options, I want them to know we see them, we appreciate them and we will give them the flexibility they need not just during COVID-19, but as part of our permanent organizational culture. I would not be in my role today if I did not have flexibility in my career along the way. This is my commitment to working mothers in our organization. You don’t have to choose between being a mother and being a professional. Organizational cultures like DIVERSEcity’s need to be the equalizer and more of the norm in our workplaces today.

As for what’s next? Let’s use the lessons from this crisis to reimagine the 21st century workplace more thoughtfully. Let’s all be more flexible and more authentic to who we are and what we need as professionals, as parents, as humans.

To all the mothers holding things together for their families in these challenging times, have a happy Mother’s Day.

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Seeking Yoga Instructors interested in giving classes outdoors in parks

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Hi There!

Just wondering if there are any Yoga  Instructors interested in giving outdoor classes at Bakerview Park in South Surrey? It is an awesome, well tended park with lots of space for social distancing. Since Community Centers are closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future, activities like this would be great and popular, I bet. Specially with the weather getting nicer everyday. Anyone?

Contact authorannicklemay@icloud.com if interested.

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