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President urges physicians to reach out to the public on COVID-19

March 22, 2020
The following President's Letter was sent to members Sunday morning. 
 
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
Our colleague and Provincial Health Officer, Dr Bonnie Henry, has been very clear in her direction on COVID-19. The time is now. The public must self-isolate and maintain social distance in accordance with her orders. What they do today will impact the health and perhaps the fate of British Columbians in the next weeks and months.
 
As physicians it is crucial that we are united in providing the public with clear guidance. We need to amplify Dr Henry’s message. During these times of crisis, adhering to the public health direction as the single source of truth is imperative. The truth is that self-isolation and maintaining social distance will save lives. 
 
Today, I am asking all of you – as physicians who care deeply about your patients, their families, and your communities – to help get this message out. It is especially important at a time when we continue to see some of our younger people congregating and socializing, putting not just themselves at risk, but their parents and grandparents. 
 
What can you do?
  • Email your patients, and remind them to self-isolate and to encourage their children to do the same.
  • Take to social media. Let’s get hundreds of physicians in BC out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook this week using the hashtags #stay_home #BCdocs
  • Groups of physicians could connect with your local media.
  • Think of other innovative ideas to get the message out, e-mail us at communications@doctorsofbc.ca and we will share them.
I know that many of you are feeling overwhelmed, so we have made this as easy as possible. Below you will find some written materials and messaging to get you started. 
 
As physicians, we hold a privileged place of trust with our patients and the public. We have an opportunity to make a real difference, to save lives. I encourage you to do what you can to help.
 
For questions or comments, please e-mail covid19@doctorsofbc.ca.
 
Sincerely,
Kathleen Ross, MD
President, Doctors of BC - 2019/2020

Backgrounder

Doctors of BC thanks British Columbians all over our province who are complying with the directive of the Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry to stay home if sick, and to keep a safe distance from others when people go outside. 

We are concerned to see that some people are not complying and putting lives at risk.

Thank you for joining as a united profession to provide guidance and encourage patients and the public to comply with Dr Henry’s directive. Here are ways that you can help.

 

Send an e-mail letter to patients.

Doctors of BC as developed the following letter template to get you started on an e-mail to send to patients.

Template:

To my patients,

I am taking this unusual step to write to you personally regarding the COVID-19 virus. You will have heard the directive from our Provincial Health Officer, Dr Bonnie Henry.

The time to act is now. Our province is in a state of emergency. What we do today will impact the health of British Columbians in the weeks to come. 

  • If you feel ill, stay home and self-isolate for 14 days, until you feel 100% better
  • If you feel 100%, stay home as much as possible and only go out for essential reasons such as grocery shopping or a visit to the drug store.
  • When you do go out, stay at a safe physical distance from others, at least 6 feet apart. That’s about the width of a car, or two arm’s length.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, frequently throughout the day
  • Call your loved ones and tell them to do the same.

Remind young people in your life that they can get sick from this virus. More importantly, they can be carriers and cause a lot of harm to parents, grandparents, and other loved ones.

We can do this, but we can’t wait one more hour or one more day. Let’s save lives, together.

 

Take to social media

Social media is one of the most effective ways to connect. You can share simple messages on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media channels. 

Here just a few simple examples, feel free use these to get you started. 

  • The time is now. Stay home, and keep a safe distance from Stay_Home%20campaignothers when outside. #stay_home #BCdocs
  • Stay home. Keep a safe distance from others. Do it for the people you love, if not yourself. #stay_home #BCdocs
  • We can’t defeat #COVID_19 alone. Please, stay home. Keep a safe distance from others when outside. #stay_home #BCdocs
  • We care about our patients and our communities. Stay home, keep a safe distance from others when outside. We can do this together. #stay_home #BCdocs

Facebook and Twitter graphic 16:9 ratio PNG here.

Instagram graphic 1:1 (square) ratio PNG here.

Watch for more suggestions on our Doctors of BC COVID-19 web hub

 

Reach out to local media

Join with a group of physicians in your community and write to your local newspaper. Add in the signatures of every physician in your group. Here are some messages to get you started.

Template:

The physicians of (insert community) are on the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19. This crisis is unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetime. We are working flat out to be there for our patients and their families. 

Doctors cannot do this alone. What the public does now will impact the health of British Columbians the weeks and months ahead. Lives depend on your actions now. 

Our province is in a state of emergency. Follow the directive from our Provincial Health Officer, Dr Bonnie Henry:

  • If you feel ill, stay home and self-isolate for 14 days, until you feel 100% better
  • If you feel 100%, stay home as much as possible and go out for essential reasons such as grocery shopping or a visit to the drug store, but maintain a distance of at last 6 feet from others.
  • Go for a walk, but only with your family members, and keep a safe distance. Don’t play organized sports or congregate outside with others.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, frequently throughout the day
  • Call your loved ones and tell them to do the same.

This is especially important for young people. We sometimes see you out in the park or at the beach. You can get sick from this virus. More importantly, you can be carriers and cause a lot of harm to parents, grandparents, and other loved ones.

The time is now. We can’t wait one more hour or one more day. Let’s save lives, together.