FILE – B.C. Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau tours the Farmer’s Market while in Duncan, B.C., on Saturday, October 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

FILE – B.C. Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau tours the Farmer’s Market while in Duncan, B.C., on Saturday, October 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. should help 20-39 year olds ‘just like we did for seniors’ amid COVID surge: Furstenau

Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau takes aim at Premier’s ‘don’t blow it’ remarks at younger British Columbians

With the backdrop of a third-wave surge in COVID-19 transmissions, Premier John Horgan’s pointed message to young British Columbians this week is attracting mixed reviews – including condemnation from the BC Green Party leader.

On Monday (March 29), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a ban on indoor dining, indoor fitness services and indoor worship until April 19. The sweeping restrictions – dubbed a “circuit breaker – no doubt put a damper on anyone who was hoping B.C. would soon see an easing to gathering rules ahead of summer.

According to BC Centre for Disease Control data, many of the latest infections have been in those aged 20 to 39. As of March 29, 40,172 people in these age cohorts have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. There have been 98,195 total confirmed cases in B.C.

Horgan said during the news conference that while he knows that many who tune in regularly to see Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are following the rules, younger British Columbians are not paying much attention and “quite frankly are putting the rest of us in a challenging situation.”

WATCH: Younger people with COVID now requiring longer hospital, ICU stays

ALSO READ: B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Horgan called on those 20 to 39 years old to curtail their social activity.

“My appeal to you is do not blow this for the rest of us,” he said. “Do not blow this for your parents and your neighbours and others who have been working really, really hard, making significant sacrifices so that we can have good outcomes for everybody.”

The stern directive drew immediate response.

In a series of tweets, Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau called on the NDP government to review the reasons behind the higher case count and help “just like we did for seniors.”

She pointed to reasons such as the “precarious, low-paid, public-facing work” young people can’t afford to miss amid the pandemic’s impact on the economy, as well as relying on public transit, caring for relatives and minimal affordable housing options forcing them to have multiple roommates.

ALSO READ: How a year of COVID-19 has impacted our mental health

ALSO READ: Lockdown fatigue, ‘invincibility’ causing more COVID-19 infections in young people

She also argued that clearer communication “that actually reach them” and mental health supports could offer support to those who are unsafely gathering with friends when they shouldn’t be.

“Young people have lost so much this year,” she said.

“I can’t imagine how the isolation, loss of income, and cancelled life plans would have impacted my mental health at that age. And they are last in line for the vaccine. We owe it to them to create policies that will help them succeed.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Pathfinders and Wild Wise Sooke built slim, black bat houses to be hung around Sooke. (Submitted/Wild Wise Sooke)
Sooke teens build bat condos

Wild Wise Sooke says bats will sleep, hibernate and raise their young in the boxes

Saanich police used a drone to investigate a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal West Saanich Road crash

Driver who died veered across center line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Saanich police arrested wanted man Tyrae Fownes on May 11. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Saanich police, K9 unit arrest man wanted for assault, uttering threats

Tyrae Fownes was the subject of wanted persons alert on April 28

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Pixabay
Island Health: two doctors, new clinic space to avert Port McNeill health crisis

Island Health has leased space to use as an immediate clinic location to avert health crisis

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Most Read