LETTER: Nelson, we have a problem

From reader Kevin LePape

A very good friend of mine who works in a front-line position in an essential government service recently became ill with COVID-19 symptoms on a Sunday, got substantially worse on Monday and called Interior Health on Tuesday at 9 a.m. for a test appointment. Or more accurately, left a message on voice mail with specifics regarding his employment, symptoms and severity.

After leaving yet another message on Wednesday he finally heard back on Thursday morning and was given an appointment for noon Thursday. But it gets worse: as I write this letter on Monday morning of the following week he has not yet heard back about the test results.

Contact tracing is key to controlling transmission and transmission increases by an order of magnitude every day of delay. My friend should have been tested the day he called and results provided Wednesday or Thursday latest, maximum of a week since infection. But it’s now over four days past that and contact transmission is now likely over thousands of people in Nelson and the surrounding area.

I’m sure there will be a flurry of denial, blame shifting and finger pointing. All of which is pointless, and a frightening indication of the future: we are in serious trouble. If this is the best our health system can do when we are under almost zero pressure with levels of infection at a very small fraction of the rate for rest of the country, well god help us when the inevitable outbreak arrives in our part of the world.

I really don’t care about the why, about whose fault this is. Everyone in the system bears some responsibility for this situation. Get it fixed. Or people will die.

Kevin LePape

Nelson

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