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Vancouver Island chief medical health officer feeling ‘anxious’ as daily COVID-19 cases increase

We’ve been doing well on Vancouver Island to contain the virus, but a recent spike in cases is leaving health officials a little nervous.

The island’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick hosted a Zoom session on Wednesday to chat with the media about the concerns and progress around the virus. 

Stanwick said lately they’ve been seeing an uptick in cases in places like Duncan, the Cowichan Valley, and soon to be coming in Victoria, which he is starting to worry about.

“There’s a new phrase that’s been identified in the medical literature. It’s called ‘COVIDsomnia’. Which is that COVID is keeping you up at night or that you’re dreaming of COVID. I can say with the change in the last three weeks of adding 500 cases to our counts I have more reason to be thinking about this in the middle of the night.”

“We just cannot underestimate the ability for this virus, if given the opportunity to spread. We are as concerned at this point in time as we are on the south island as we are on the central island,” explained Dr. Stanwick. 

An overview of the cases on Central Vancouver Island, provided by Island Health

He added that a lot of the newly reported cases are coming from community transmission, which means those in your immediate contact list, such and family and friends. 

During the call, Dr. Stanwick also said Island Health currently has over 700 people in isolation as a result of its detailed contract tracing process.

He stressed that this means now more than ever we need to continue to follow the guidelines set out by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, like washing our hands, wearing masks, and staying home when we’re sick. 

While he spoke with the media about the growing concern of new cases, he used the time to also share Island Health’s frustration with the lack of vaccines rolling in.

“To see the international squabbling that’s been played out, and people on a countrywide basis hoarding vaccines is really playing chaos with our abilities to tell people when they will be receiving the vaccine,” Stanwick explained. 

“We have to ration it right now to only those who are dealing with Covid cases in either the ICU, the likelihood of seeing people in emergency or specific covid units, and it’s gotten to the point where we may even have to ration it to hospitals that only have COVID units.”

Dr. Stanwick said that 24,065 people have received vaccinations within the Vancouver Island Health region so far. 

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