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

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

The City of Penticton is beginning work to install gates at the 200 Block breezeway on Main Street. (Dustin Godfrey/Western News file)
Penticton breezeway closed while city installs ‘decorative’ gates

The gates, estimated to cost $20k, are being installed to prevent ‘unwanted activity’

Louise with another load of bottles for ALERT. This super volunteer helps ALERT in so many ways. (Submitted)
Meet Penticton super volunteer Louise Hivon

Louise spearheads ALERT’s recycling fundraising, collecting bottles from anyone, everywhere

Oliver
A couple more South Okanagan schools with COVID-19 exposures

Penticton Christian School adds more exposure days, Oliver Elementary new on the list

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused, Horgan says

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Vernon Search and Rescue’s helicopter team was asked to be on standby to rescue a missing hiker in Naramata. (Air Rescue One/VSAR photo)
Lost hiker rescued in Okanagan Mountain Park

COSAR, PENSAR, and VSAR worked together to rescue a hiker in Okanagan Mountain Park

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Increased COVID-19 activity brings vaccine clinic to Enderby

Registration opens Tuesday, April 20 for May clinic for anyone over the age of 18

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

courts
Penticton man guilty of assaulting young boys

Bryan Lamb was found guilty of two counts of assault

Abandoned Rail Brewing Company, located at 1220 Davenport Ave. on the KVR trail, has applied to the City of Penticton for a manufacturing facility and lounge endorsement. The city will review the application in their April 20, 2021 council meeting. (City of Penticton photo)
A new brewery could be coming to the KVR trail in the South Okanagan

The patio would seat up to 113 just 10 feet from the trail

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Most Read