A Nanaimo doctor is sounding the alarm that the worst is yet to come

A Nanaimo doctor is sounding the alarm that the worst is yet to come
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Dr. David Forrest is speaking out because of a sharp spike he’s seeing in the number of COVID-19 patients at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

“So, we have, I think, a real problem on our hands here,” Dr. Forrest said. “And it is quite clear that this is no longer clustered, but there is community spread.”

Dr. Forrest is on the front lines of the covid-19 pandemic at NRGH as an infectious disease physician.

He said the situation is only going to get worse in the coming weeks, not only in Nanaimo but across the rest of the province.

“We’re seeing a significant increase in numbers,” Dr. Forrest said. “So I think that we are going to see a much greater burden of illness in the hospital than in previous waves.”

Six patients are now in the hospital’s critical care unit, along with specialized nurses and respiratory therapists.

Forrest adds there is a chance the hospital could be overwhelmed soon.

“I’m not sure if it’s a month. I think it’s a matter of a week or two, potentially, the numbers are going up.”

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, warned earlier this week that unless people start following public health orders, B.C. is heading in the direction of Ontario, which recorded more than 4,200 cases on Friday.

“We have strict orders about not socializing outside your household,” Dr. Henry said at the Thursday media briefing in Vancouver. “It is not okay to have friends and family over right now, it is putting them at risk.”

Victoria residents approached by CHEK News on Yates Street seem to agree.

“Yeah, 100 per cent. Where I work, I have very strict COVID policies,” said one man walking on the 900-block of Yates.

“Just basically not travelling, social distancing, wearing this thing, which is required pretty much everywhere. Yeah, just following all the rules.” said another man wearing a mask.

Dr. Forrest has a clear message to those people who are not following the rules as well.

“Please, please, do the things that Dr. Henry has focused on,” Dr. Forrest said.  “Most particularly, do not congregate in small spaces. This is not the time to travel or to visit friends.”

The Nanaimo doctor also believes if you have the opportunity, you should take the first vaccine you’re offered.

READ MORE: B.C. reports 1,262 new COVID-19 cases as vaccinations pass 1M mark

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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