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'Unintended consequences' of pandemic affecting everyone: IH

February 28, 2021 - 8:00 AM

The “unintended consequences” of B.C.’s COVID-19 lockdown rules are affecting a wide range of residents in the Interior Health region, from the youngest to the oldest.

Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Albert de Villiers, said he doesn't have hard numbers showing the impact, but he knows they exist.

“There were, there are and there will be some unintended consequences of the pandemic based on fear,” he said during a news briefing, Feb. 25. “Just the whole idea of being isolated in your house with your closest family. If you don’t get along with them or there are issues that were there before, this will just amplify it. So we definitely have seen more of that.”

Some of the region's oldest residents have also struggled with current conditions.

“We’ve seen (unintended consequences) with the elderly as well because we can’t allow people to go visit because of COVID,” Dr. de Villiers said. “We have seen more mental health issues and depression and sadness amongst the elderly as well because they didn’t have physical contact with their children and grandchildren.”

The other group that Dr. de Villiers noted as being at greater risk are opioid drug users.

Overdose deaths have been well-documented. The B.C. Coroners Office recorded 1,716 such deaths in 2020, the highest number on record.

The monthly totals were worse earlier in the pandemic when users were not able to go to support group meetings but that has improved somewhat now, Dr. de Villiers said.

Deaths in B.C. peaked in June and July with 185 and 184 recorded, respectively. There were 152 in December.

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