For immediate release
January 24, 2022
VICTORIA, B.C. – B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, is calling on the BC NDP government to implement concrete measures with clear policies that recognize COVID-19 is an airborne virus.
“Hospitalizations are at an all-time high and surgeries and medical procedures are cancelled, but on Friday this government announced that access to testing will be limited, and that British Columbians are expected to manage COVID on their own.
“The BC NDP’s failure to build policies on the evidence that the virus is airborne has led to inadequate communication, inaccurate information, and a lack of essential tools for the public to understand why decisions are made and what our role is in helping to achieve our shared goals.”
The government’s stated goals of reducing transmission, protecting our healthcare system, and minimizing disruption to society may only be met if they implement the following:
- Recognize and clearly communicate that COVID-19 is airborne.
- Reiterate the importance of wearing masks, specifically N95 or equivalent, in public settings.
- Move to supply British Columbians with free and accessible N95s and rapid tests.
- Re-establish and expand COVID-19 testing sites for all British Columbians.
Protect our health care system and schools
- Provide the funding for all hospitals and schools to establish proper ventilation, HEPA filters, and for schools to obtain N95s and rapid tests.
- Allow the use of N95s in hospital and health care settings.
Minimize disruption to society
- Reduce barriers to financial support for businesses forced to close due to public health orders, and expand compensation limits.
- Provide grant funding for small-businesses to update ventilation and filtration systems.
“We reiterate our call for an independent science table, which would not only provide accountability for the government’s stated goals, it would also provide clarity for British Columbians on what will effectively mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Also, reconvening the all-party Select Standing Committee on Health would redistribute the burden of responsibility for this pandemic, and it would bring back the collaborative nature that allowed us to tackle the first wave effectively.
“The last two years have been difficult for everybody. While we all wish this pandemic were over, there is no guarantee that there will not be another wave – and we still know so little about the long-term effects of infection. Good leadership would acknowledge these truths and put plans in place for the next wave and the one after that.
“It’s not enough to put the burden on individuals to vaccinate and then provide no other safety measures to reduce infection rates. We must establish protocols so we are prepared to respond to the next variant as soon as it appears. The people of B.C. deserve proactive science-based leadership from this government.”
B.C. Green Caucus
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