BC Just Asked Doctors To Come Out Of Retirement To Help Fight COVID-19

In case the disease keeps spreading.
COVID-19 In BC: Province Just Asked Doctors To Come Out Of Retirement To Help

When it comes to the novel coronavirus, it seems B.C. would rather be safe than sorry. Despite being at low risk for infection, the province asked retired doctors to return to work just in case COVID-19 in B.C. gets out of hand. This is the first time they've ever made an ask like this in the province before and they're making sure they're prepared to handle anything.

The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, just asked the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. (CPSBC) to start "emergency registration" of recently retired doctors.

"Asking people to come out of retirement is an extraordinary measure for an extraordinary situation," said the CPSBC to Narcity.

They said they'll be reaching out to doctors who retired in the last two years on Wednesday, March 11 and Thursday, March 12.

If the doctor agrees to return, they'll work in pressure areas on an "as-needed basis," depending on what service is most in need, the CPSBC continued.

B.C. is currently at low risk for novel coronavirus, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

But if the illness continues to spread, a large number of patients could overwhelm the health care system. This can leave some people stranded and ill without health care.

"We have never done this before. I've been in the practice of medicine for over 35 years in the province and I've never seen anything like this before," said Dr. Heidi Oetter, registrar of the CPSBC to CBC.

The province usually sources their doctors from other provinces in case of these emergencies, but with COVID-19 spreading through Canada, they might have their hands full.

Fortunately, a vaccine for COVID-19 is already in the works. Hopefully, B.C. doctors will get to stay in retirement.

B.C. is one of the provinces hit hardest by COVID-19. Out of Canada's 138 confirmed cases, B.C. has 46, according to the BCCDC.

The first Canadian death from COVID-19 also happened in B.C.

Despite the low risk, however, anxiety around the disease has been spreading. Panic buying has been emptying stores of survival supplies and, weirdly, toilet paper.

The lack of supplies could hit doctors hard; because it's becoming so hard to find facemasks, medical professionals like dentists could even face layoffs in time.

When it comes to preventing COVID-19, Canada's health authorities say simple hygiene works wonders. The BCCDC recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds with warm, soapy water for maximum effect.

If you're unable to find the time, some alcohol-based hand sanitizers work too.

It's clear B.C. officials have been working super hard to fight the virus.

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