Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison is appealing for calm as Parliament closes for the next few weeks in response to ongoing COVID-19 cases being reported across the country.
“I get the fact that people should be prepared to spend 14 days at home if they self-quarantine, if they find that they’ve been infected with COVID-19, but I’m not too sure I understand the panic,” Morrison said, during a phone interview.
Morrison says people should make themselves aware of COVID-19 symptoms such as a dry cough, shortness of breath, and other flu-like symptoms like a high fever.
If someone believes they may be symptomatic, do not go to a hospital emergency department. Instead, call a family doctor to arrange for a check up or testing. Barring that, anyone can call the federal government COVID-19 information line at 1-833-784-4397 or call the provincial health information line at 811.
If someone feels they have it, self-quarantine until a test can be completed.
“I want to assure people that we do have world class health and our hospitals and medical staff and experts have all been brought up to speed on how to deal with COVID-19,” Morrison said. “I’m confident we know what we’re doing.”
British Columbia is asking event organizers to cancel any gatherings larger than 250 people, and other provinces such as Alberta have also done the same. Anyone who has been travelling abroad and re-entering B.C. is being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Nationally, there have been approximately 150 cases, which includes one fatal case and nearly a dozen that have been resolved through recovery.
On Friday, Parliament announced modifications to the sitting calendar and that business will be adjourned until April 20.
Morrison said MPs normally have the upcoming week off anyway, then parliamentarians would head back to Ottawa for two more weeks. After that, MPs would have a further two-week break over the Easter holiday, Morrison said.
“The reason they are doing that is they just felt if we didn’t travel as much, once we get a grip on this and see where it’s going, things could change depending on what happens in the next week or two,” Morrison said.
With Sophie Gregoire Trudeau testing positive for COVID-19, Morrison said there was some chatter amongst his colleagues that Parliament may close down, before the official word came down on Friday.
“I was a little surprised because I think we know the precautions we need to take and I guess we are travelling lots and meeting lots of people so I guess we could be considered super-carriers because we’re out and about so much,” Morrison said.
“But yeah, it did surprise me a bit. I was fully expecting to go back a week Sunday.”
Morrison added he is currently back in the region and available to meet with constituents at his Cranbrook office.