Masks are now mandatory in public places in B.C. under new provincial public gathering restrictions. (Claire Palmer photo)

Masks are now mandatory in public places in B.C. under new provincial public gathering restrictions. (Claire Palmer photo)

Physicians of Golden support mask mandate

Dr. Larsen Soles says that there is still time to get the rising numbers under control

The Physicians of Golden support the new provincial health order that makes masks mandatory in public places, with Dr. Trina Larsen Soles stating she would have liked to have seen it sooner.

“Everyone has their threshold for what they’ll put up with and the ministry wanted people to consider the evidence do the right thing,” said Larsen Soles.

“Not enough people were choosing to do the right thing, some of that wasn’t deliberate.

“No one goes out with the purpose of spreading the virus and it’s really hard to change human behaviour and habits.”

She says there’s still time to turn things around and for B.C. to get the virus under control.

“I think it’s important to emphasize if we do this now we can turn it around still. We don’t want to overwhelm our rescues,” said Larsen Soles.

“We’re really worried about hospital resources, accessing care for the sickest patients is going to be a challenge, so we would rather just way overreact and shut it down and not have to send anyone else to Kelowna or elsewhere.”

Golden has one regular ventilator and one transport, while Cranbrook has up to eight ICU beds for the entire valley, according to Larsen Soles.

She says the new restrictions come as a result of contact tracing being overwhelmed with the two week window giving public health officials a chance to catch up and notify any exposures.

She’s optimistic about the new restrictions helping break the rapid spread of the virus, similarly to what happened in Kelowna over Canada Day.

She emphasized in order to disrupt the Canada Day outbreak, restrictions were imposed for two incubation periods totalling four weeks, so there is a possibility the current orders will be extended through to Dec. 21.

“When they shut it down in Kelowna, it completely derailed the outbreak and stopped the spread and they could resume their summer,” said Larsen Soles.

“It’s possible but you have to have everybody on board and doing it.”

Larsen Soles added while there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic about an incoming vaccine, it’s still going to be a long haul before herd immunity is achieved.

She said measures must still be taken now to ensure that the virus doesn’t get out of control.

“It’s going to be challenging to roll out, as we’ve seen with our flu shots this year,” she said.

“I do think it’s promising. The studies look good, all our eggs aren’t in one basket.

But it’ll be spring when we’ll start to see this rolling out en masse.”

In response to those who don’t agree with the new restrictions, Larsen Soles says it’s important to consider your sources when receiving information on the pandemic.

She recommends the BC Centre for Disease Control as a reliable source.

She discourages people from putting their trust in Facebook or Twitter, among other social media sources.

“Social media is a bad place for pandemic advice and we see a lot of spill over with conspiracy theories,” said Larsen Soles.

“I’ve found that with anyone with a firm belief about something like this, you’re not going to change their mind.”