BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, the MLA for Cowichan Valley, and a physician at BC Children’s hospital are urging the provincial government to bring back the mask mandate to protect children.
Furstenau and Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi, made the call at a joint news conference in Victoria.
Furstenau says “we know that masks help both with preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Kids and teachers are used to wearing them. Kids and teachers are used to wearing them,” and we should take precautions to prevent the situation now playing out in Ontario.
Dr, Gandhi, Clinical Professor of Surgery at UBC School of Medicine, Pediatric Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon at BC Children’s Hospital, says requiring masks in “indoor public settings, schools, and on mass transit and deploying effective technologies to improve indoor air quality are necessary public health measures essential to protect our children and help those that care for them.”
He says a mix of multiple respiratory viruses and altered population immunity has resulted in a significant increase in viral infections in children across Canada, and BC is not exempt.
Dr. Gandhi says some sick kids require medical attention, and some need to be admitted to hospitals, and during a primary care crisis and hospital staff shortages, this creates a undeniable storm.
He adds, “Pediatric hospital emergency room and inpatient capacity is precarious. Elective surgery is being postponed. We must do whatever is necessary now to change the trajectory.”
Furstenau is calling on incoming Premier David Eby to “recognize the urgency of this situation” and reinstate a mask mandate in indoor public spaces to protect children.