To All SCI BC Members and Supporters:
In light of recent developments related to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, SCI BC is suspending all services that take place in public spaces. This includes peer events and coffee groups throughout the province.
The suspension of these activities will take effect immediately and will continue through to the end of March. Barring some magical turnaround in the spread of the virus, we will re-evaluate the suspension of affected services at the end of this month.
For now, SCI BC’s office at GF Strong will remain open and our Reach Out online peer support groups will continue. Our InfoLine service will also remain open.
Please remember that 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 you should call HealthLink BC at 811 or your doctor, and 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 undo stress or anxiety, but do want to make sure we provide information about how you can reduce the chance of getting infected and spreading the virus. Pragmatism without panic is what we are aiming for.
We know this is a stressful time for many of you. Although some of our usual peer groups will be cancelled for the next few weeks, please know that we are still here for you and that you can connect with our InfoLine team and regional Peer Coordinators for information and support.
- Call toll-free at 1.800.689.2477
- Email: email@example.com
- Call the InfoLine toll-free at 1.800.689.2477
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 (not specifically about COVID-19 but has useful information on respiratory health)
Remember that we also have a wealth of online services that we will continue to provide. You can access them via our main website.
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. If household or commercial disinfection products are not readily available, hard surfaces can be cleaned of visible dirt and then disinfected using a mixture of 1-part bleach and 9-parts water. 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,