There are no reported cases of COVID-19 in Golden, according to Dr. Trina Larsen Soles, with the Golden Medical Clinic.
According to the province, there were 73 confirmed cases in B.C. as of March 16 and only two have been in the Interior Health region.
Larsen Soles has been releasing statements on Facebook to help communicate with the community and surrounding area about how to handle the pandemic.
“The reason we’ve been doing that is because we’ve been hearing so many rumours around town,” said Larsen Soles. “Social media can be both a blessing and a curse in times like this, it’s a great way to spread information but you’ve got no filter for the misinformation as well.”
Larsen Soles said the clinic as well as the hospital have already put in place policies to minimize potential contact with the virus in the event that it does come to Golden.
She believes that the steps they’ve put in place will help limit the spread and avoid creating a cluster of infection.
“As far as medical responses, we’re ahead of the game, we have practices already in place to screen people before they even get to the clinic,” said Larsen Soles. “We want to see you safely and we’re making sure to screen people at the door.”
People who are concerned that they have contracted the disease are encouraged to call into the clinic or hospital and speak with a doctor over the phone to discuss next steps.
According to Larsen Soles, around 80 per cent of people who contract the virus just need to stay home and rest as if they have the flu.
Those who are having difficulty breathing or eating and would require medical attention are encouraged to reach out to be admitted to the hospital or clinic for care.
“We’re swabbing people in the parking lot and the person who sees the patient is in protective gear and ensures that they’re well enough to go home or if they need to be admitted,” said Larsen Soles. “If we have to admit someone we have an isolation room to ensure the safety of the building.”
For now, Larsen Soles recommends finding a happy medium between the hysteria that has gripped many people and the laid back attitude that some have approached. Social distancing and self-isolation are key to limiting the chance of an outbreak in Golden.
“The health officer said to not stop living your life, so don’t shut down every business in the community by not going,” said Larsen Soles. “Stick to small groups, spread out your tables. Be responsible and stay home if you’re sick.”
When it comes to March break and potential travel plans out of the country, Larsen Soles recommends self isolation for two weeks upon return. While it’s not mandatory as there is no way to enforce isolation, social distancing and isolation have been proven to help slow the spread of the disease, a process called “flattening the curve.”
“Here, because we’re rural and so spread out, we actually have a good chance that isolation works and an opportunity to control the virus,” said Larsen Soles.
The clinic will be continuing to post on Facebook to keep the community informed. For those looking for more information, Larsen Soles recommends the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website, the Interior Health website, as well as the Alberta Health website.
She said it’s vital to fact check your sources and to get your information from reliable places, rather than believing everything that’s posted on social media.
“Be sensible, be safe, we’re still here to look after you as best as we can,” said Larsen Soles. “As a community, we’re so awesome, people are really pulling together and doing their bit.”