What you can do to protect seniors from the coronavirus

Think carefully before you visit

Above all else, please do not visit a long-term care, assisted living or independent living home if you are unwell. While this is generally good etiquette, keeping your germs at home is more important now than ever before.

“Every report to date indicates that it is older people with underlying chronic health conditions – like those who are living in care homes – who are most susceptible to COVID-19,” says Daniel Fontaine, CEO, BCCPA & EngAge BC.

“It is therefore imperative that we keep workers, seniors and their family members safe,” he continues.

Do not stockpile medical supplies and PLEASE stop buying masks

Reports from several care homes indicate that the supply of key medical supplies is drying up, and the cost for these supplies is spiking. In one example, surgical masks are being sold for up to 11 times what they sold for only a few weeks ago. It is critical during any possible pandemic that a steady flow of supplies be prioritized for health care facilities and care homes throughout our province.

“While the public should take preventative measures for their own health, the stockpiling of medical supplies we are seeing will have serious consequences for our seniors in care,” says Bob Breen, Executive Director for the Denominational Health Association. “Until we can re-establish our supply chains again, members of the public can help seniors care providers by not purchasing these goods.”

On Saturday, the U.S. Surgeon General’s office issued a statement on Twitter that expressed their exasperation over the run on surgical masks, pointing out that they are not an effective barrier from coronavirus for members of the public. The tweet said: “Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS!”

“When healthy people purchase items such as surgical masks, they are increasing the risk that care workers won’t have them at care homes or when they provide home care,” says Jennifer Lyle, CEO for SafeCare BC. “We’re encouraging everyone to refrain from purchasing medical supplies unless they are themselves ill and wanting to reduce the risk to other people.”

Effective strategies for protecting yourself and others

For more information on effective methods to protect yourself and others against COVID-19, visit the World Health Organization’s page, which contains advice for the public. The biggest message – wash your hands frequently, with hot water and soap.

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