Local family doctors are pleading with you to self-isolate and maintain social distance. Now.

Monday, March 23, 2020 – Victoria – More than 700 family doctors from the Victoria and the South Island Divisions of Family Practice are pleading with the public to maintain social distance and help flatten the COVID-19 curve, in an urgent public letter:

Dear Patients:

Our Provincial Health Officer, Dr Bonnie Henry, has been very clear in her direction on COVID-19. And your local family doctors stand behind Dr. Henry’s direction on how to prevent further spread of COVID-19. The time is now. You, our patients, must self-isolate and maintain social distance in accordance with her orders. What you do today will impact the health and perhaps the fate of British Columbians in the next weeks and months.

As physicians, we are united with Dr. Henry: self-isolation and maintaining social distance will save lives. While we recognize that you may feel overwhelmed or concerned, it is extremely important that we all take this action now.

If you believe you have COVID 19 please follow the instructions in this self-assessment tool: https://covid19.thrive.health.

Your doctors must move to more virtual care

The rapid spread of this virus has also meant that your family doctor must change how he or she sees patients. We want you to know we are developing solutions so that we can continue to look after your needs as patients in this special situation: Firstly, many family doctors have begun to conduct their daily appointments by phone or through a virtual platform. This allows you to maintain the connection with your physician without seeing them. It may take some adjustments as we learn new work-flows and overcome technical challenges. We appreciate your patience as we work out the “bugs” in this new era of virtual care.

Secondly, we are developing innovations to assess those patients who must be examined without inadvertently transmitting the virus to you, your doctor, their staff, or to other patients. These solutions will require a little more time to organize, however, planning is well underway.

Do not drop in

Further, please do not “drop in” to your doctor’s office. Instead, phone the office first. Your appointment might be possible over the phone or virtually. 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.

Let’s end the spread: follow the directions

Finally, we believe that every single person on Vancouver Island has a role to play, every day, in ending the spread of this virus. Again, please follow the direction of the public health officer with social distance and self-isolation and frequent hand washing. It is especially important that young people avoid congregating and socializing. It is possible to have the disease with minimal symptoms, and spread it to your friends, your parents and your grandparents.

Please join us today in following the direction of our Provincial Health Officer to ensure the health and future of British Columbians.

Drs Vanessa Young and Jane McGregor
On behalf of the 245 South Island family physicians

Drs Katharine McKeen, Tim Troughton and Kathy Dabrus
On behalf of the 500 urban Greater Victoria family physicians

About the Victoria and South Island Divisions of Family Practice

The Victoria and South Island Division of Family Practice are two of 35 divisions in British Columbia that make up the Divisions of Family Practice, an initiative of the General Practice Services Committee, a partnership between the Province of B.C. and Doctors of B.C.Together, we represent around 745 family physician members that provide primary care services in Greater Victoria and the South Island. More: www.divisionsbc.ca/victoria;