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

Edna Whiteley in 2016. “Her whole life has been happy and about helping others,” says her nephew Bob Steed. Photo: Submitted
Nelson’s ‘little firecracker’ Edna Whiteley turns 100

Whiteley is known as a welcoming ambassador for new arrivals in the city

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

An animal carrier full of bullet holes and containing a dead animal was found near Castlegar. Photo: Colleen Schwartz
Castlegar woman finds dead animal inside carrier riddled with bullet holes

The remains were discovered near Syringa Creek Provincial Park

For web
Advocates hold opioid crisis vigil in Trail and Rossland

A delegation offered a powerful presentation on the opioid crisis to Rossland council last month

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCGEU

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says union president Laird Cronk

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Most Read