A picture of Dr. Bonnie Henry with the words "We're on our own."

Photo Credit: Chad Hipolito / Canadian Press / VanIsle.News Staff

Dr. Henry Tells Us—You’re On Your Own

Staff is sick? Kids are sick? Hospitals are filling up? Figure it out yourself

It’s like our leaders have given up

Omicron has taken over in BC. COVID rates are exploding. But from what the BC government is saying, it looks like we’re on our own.

In the January 4th press conference, Dr. Bonnie Henry said that Omicron is different. It doesn’t take as long for people to get sick after being exposed. And Omicron is way more contagious than older strains of COVID.

She said that the things we used to do keep people safe wouldn’t work anymore. She said they’re no longer helpful.

And then it sounded like she gave up.

She told us that testing is maxed out. So is contact tracing. So if you get sick, it’s up to you to tell anyone you’ve seen that you’re sick. But it’s hard to know whether you have COVID because it’s so hard to get a test.

And according to Dr. Henry, a lot of us will get sick.

In one breath, she said that the vaccines would make it so most of us only have a mild case. But in the next breath, she said that stores, hospitals, and schools could have 1/3 of their staff out sick all at once. So “mild” still means you’re flat on your ass for days.

But instead of closing businesses and giving owners and staff the money to survive, the BC government is doing nothing.

They’re telling business owners that they’re just supposed to figure it out when a bunch of their staff are off work. Because “business continuity” is so important.

Tell that to communities with one grocery store and one gas station. What happens when their whole staff gets sick?

In the January 4th press conference, Dr. Henry said that schools are the safest place for our children. But back in early November, kids between five and eleven were getting COVID more than older, vaccinated kids. By late November, 20 percent of all people in BC who caught COVID were kids between 5 and 11.

From November to Christmas break across Canada, most people who got COVID were kids under 12. Of course, that was before Omicron hit.

And Dr. Henry just told schools to come up with their own plans to keep running when those sick kids give COVID to their teachers. And their parents. And the grandparents who are watching them while their parents go to work…

It sounds like the BC government thinks the vaccines will save us. And in a lot of ways, the vaccines are amazing. They are probably the one thing standing between us and a collapsed health care system. Dr. Henry says vaccines will keep most of us out of the hospital.

But the word “most” in that sentence is pretty bloody important. Because in the past week, the number of folks in BC hospitals with COVID has jumped by 54%.

The boosters will definitely help. But folks under 40 haven’t gotten their booster notifications. And it might take a month to get the appointment. And it takes another two weeks to build up the antibodies.

And only 40% of kids under 12 are vaccinated. And that’s with only one dose, so they aren’t even fully protected.

Do you think Omicron will pause for the next few months until we all get boosted? Because that would be swell.

We’re about to smash into the worst wave of COVID we have ever seen. But, unfortunately, the peak isn’t due to hit for another 4–6 weeks. And when asked who we should look to for help, Dr. Bonnie Henry said it’s not up to her.

She said it’s not possible to track the virus the way we used to because it spreads too fast. So we have no idea how many people actually have COVID.

And then she walked off the stage.

We’ve talked a lot about how Vancouver Islanders are good at taking care of each other. And that’s a mighty fine thing. Because it looks like we’re all we have left.