Doctors are shifting to online appointments to help support social distancing. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Over 700 family doctors in Greater Victoria sign public letter pleading with people to stay home

Physicians shift to a virtual platform to conduct appointments

Family doctors — and their families — across Greater Victoria are pleading with you to stay home.

Dr. Aaron Childs has had to dramatically shift his entire practice to virtual visits, along with almost all of the other family doctors in the region, but his biggest concern is for the state of health care facilities a couple of weeks down the road.

“Right now we’re at the tipping point in the next two weeks, where if we are unable to get the rate of spreading under control there is a risk health care services will be overwhelmed,” he says.

Childs, along with more than 700 other physicians from the Victoria and South Island Division of Family Practice, signed a public letter reminding people of the best practices for social distancing and pleading with them to do their part.

READ ALSO: World COVID-19 updates, 5 p.m., March 24: NY plans for 40,000 in intensive care

The letter asks people to not drop into doctors offices, but to call ahead first and follow the directions of Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer.

“If you do need a face-to-face appointment, you might be asked to wait in your vehicle or an arrangement might be made to see you at a different location. By managing patient flow in this way, you will not put yourself or others at risk of contracting the virus,” reads the letter.

READ ALSO: B.C. COVID-19 tests up to 3,500 a day, care home staffing to change

Social distancing is vital to Childs as his wife, Sonja, deals with very severe asthma and has already been unwell due to influenza. Sonja has been self-isolating for the past 13 days.

“My husband needs to work to take care of you, but he, like many other members of the health care team, have vulnerable members of their family that they come home to,” she says. “I want people to keep their distance, I want them to stay home to keep my husband well so he can take care of other people and so that me and my family stay well.”

As of March 25, there are 659 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 47 of them on the Island.

“Stay home, wash your hands lots and if you do have to go out make sure you’re keeping good social distancing, and when you come back, wash your hands again,” says Childs. “If we can all do our part and make sure we’re not contributing to the problem, and make sure we’re staying home, that is what’s going to give us a fighting chance in this.”

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