In YouTube video, ER doctor says B.C. needs more testing for COVID-19 - InfoNews

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In YouTube video, ER doctor says B.C. needs more testing for COVID-19

Dr. Sean Wormsbecker posted a YouTube video outlining his concerns.
Image Credit: YOUTUBE/Dr. Sean Wormsbecker
March 30, 2020 - 7:35 AM

A B.C. emergency room doctor says we need to look at countries that aren’t doing as well at ‘flattening the curve’ if we want an idea of what’s to come.

Dr. Sean Wormsbecker works at New Westminster’s Royal Columbian Hospital and Port Moody’s Eagle Ridge Hospital and posted a YouTube video this weekend laying out where he sees the pandemic going.

Still wearing scrubs, Dr. Wormsbecker started the video saying that as a front line provider, he’s seen multiple cases of what he believes to be COVID-19, but he hasn’t been able to test all patients due to the resources provided.

READ MORE: Kelowna doctor says there needs to be more personal protective equipment

That's causing an under-testing of the population and that undermines the daily numbers that are being offered to the public.


“I see a lot of discussions online with the total number of positive cases as a benchmark for how we are or are not doing and people are modifying their behaviour accordingly,” Wormsbecker said.

“But the reality is that currently, I am only able to swab patients who are ill enough to come into hospital, healthcare workers or clusters being actively investigated under the guideline of the (medical health officer). So what that means is if I see you in my department and you are clinically stable and your lungs are functional I will send you home and be directing you to self quarantine for 14 days.”

That, he said, scares him.

A decade of clinical practice has taught him that patients are not consistent at following direction and what’s oftentimes heard, no matter what is being said, is if they’re not being tested their case is not being taken seriously and that could have serious repercussions.

British Columbia's provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday she's starting to see "glimmers of hope" in an apparent shift toward flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases and the numbers show the province more closely mirrors the South Korean experience rather than the situation in Italy.

The trajectory of new cases in B.C. changed from a 24 per cent average daily increase to 12 per cent as of March 21.

READ MORE: COVID-19 testing still targeted at health system, identifying transmission in B.C.

"I'm trying not to over-call it but I do believe we've seen a flattening, a falling off of that curve," Dr. Henry said in the daily COVID-19 press conference.

”I think it is working and I want to tell people what you are doing is making a difference and we need to keep it up for the next coming weeks."

Wormsbecker had a different view.

“We’re not performing to the standards met in other countries that have been able to effectively flatten the curve. We can’t use countries like Korea and Singapore as a benchmark for what we expect to come,” he said. “We have to look more to the countries that haven’t done as well because we simply aren’t at that standard of quarantine, social isolation and that standard of testing.”

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