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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon. (B.C. Cattlemen’s Association photo)
COVID, BSE, water access and private land rights: B.C. Cattlemen’s general manager weighs in

Kevin Boon said positive aspect of pandemic is more people interested in where their food comes from

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

The BC Wildfire Service will be partnering with Simpcw First Nation this month in the implementation of a prescribed burn next to their community of Chu Chua. The controlled burn will be highly visible to Highway 5 and all communities in the immediate area. Pictured is a prescribed burn that took place on the Kanaka Bar Reserve last month in partnership with the Kanaka Bar Band and BC Wildfire Service. (BC Wildfire Service Facebook photo)
Simpcw and BC Wildfire Service to hold controlled burn near Barriere

Burn will be highly visible to Chu Chua, Barriere, Darfield, Chinook Cove, Little Fort and Highway 5

District of Clearwater meetings are open to the public. The meeting agendas and past meetings minutes can be viewed on the DOC's website. Every meeting has time allocated at the end for comments from the public.
Clearwater to benefit from funding through Ministry of Tourism initiative

The District’s Trails Task Force was sucessful in securing a grant for $684,000.

Carlos Sigurnjak went missing about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6, according to a Facebook post by his family. (Facebook/Carlos Sigurnjak profile)
UPDATE: Clearwater RCMP find missing man from Kelowna

Sigurnjak was found just before 2 p.m. April 8 by a passerby.

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Most Read