UPDATED July 28, 2020
To All SCI BC Members and Supporters:
Due to COVID-19, SCI BC is continuing to suspend all services that take place in public spaces through August. This includes peer events and coffee groups throughout the province.
We have been monitoring the situation closely, listening to our members and reviewing the results of our Return to Events Comfort Survey and, prior to the current spike in COVID-19 cases, it looked favourable for us to begin returning to small in-person groups or individual meetups. However, in light of recent developments and Dr. Henry’s continuing guidance to keep our bubbles small and diligently practise physical distancing, the decision to continue the suspension of our in-person activities will remain in place until the end of August.
We understand this may be disappointing news, but SCI BC is committed to the health and safety of our members and their families. We will continue to pay close attention to the situation and look for a safe time to begin activities again in accordance with the Province’s Phase 3 Restart Plan.
In the meantime, we will continue to offer our online events and peer support and build new virtual programming opportunities. Our InfoLine service is available 9 am-5 pm, Monday to Friday at 1-800-689-2477. This service is free of charge and available to anyone living with a spinal cord injury or other disability, family, friends, health professionals and other service providers. You can also refer to this page on our website which answers the most frequently asked questions for SCI and COVID-19, and is updated on a frequent basis.
We will also update our website and social media channels on an ongoing basis and encourage you to reach out to connect with us! We value your input and we would love to hear your thoughts.
Please remember, if you are feeling unwell or suspect or know that you have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 you should do your best to avoid contact with others and call HealthLink BC at 811 or your doctor. (Make sure you call your doctor’s office or clinic before going there to be diagnosed or treated.)
Although the risk of COVID-19 to the general population remains low, it is important to acknowledge that many of our members (and staff members) have compromised respiratory and immune systems that may make them at greater risk for contracting serious symptoms should they be infected with COVID-19. We do not want to create undue stress or anxiety but do want to make sure we provide information about how you can reduce the chance of infection and community spread. Pragmatism without panic is what we are aiming for.
So, while summer is here, enjoy the outdoors, practise physical distancing and keep washing those hands. Please know that we are still here for you and you can connect with our InfoLine and regional Peer Coordinators for information and support.
- Call toll-free at 1-800-689-2477
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To participate in an online SCI BC ReachOut! Virtual Peer group:
- Public Health Agency of Canada: Government of Canada’s online site for COVID-19
- BC Centre for Disease Control: BC Centre for Disease Control site for COVID-19
- BC Centre for Disease Control’s guidance for people with chronic illnesses
- UK Spinal Injuries Association guidance on COVID-19
- Shepherd Centre guidance on COVID-19:
- Dr. Jeremy Roads’ advice on SCI and Pneumonia from The Spin Winter 2016 (includes information on respiratory health)
- SCI & COVID-19 FAQ blog
Here is some additional information about the virus, provided by Vancouver Coastal Health:
COVID-19 is transmitted by close contact with those who are symptomatic through droplets, similar to other respiratory diseases such as influenza. The symptoms of COVID-19, are similar to other common illnesses, including the flu and common cold. They include fever, cough, headache, shortness of breath and diarrhea.
To stop the spread of the virus, practice proper hygiene etiquette during the cold and flu season. This includes proper hand-washing with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when you are sick. If you have health concerns, call HealthLink BC at 811 or your health care provider.
Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are frequently touched by multiple people (e.g., high touch surfaces such as doorknobs, faucet handles, computer keyboards, etc.) will help to prevent the transmission of viruses from person to person through contaminated hands. You may also consider increasing the number of hand wash stations (or alcohol-based sanitizer stations) around your space, as well as providing tissues and waste receptacles. These simple steps are effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.
On behalf of all us at SCI BC, stay healthy and stay tuned.