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Confidence in healthcare system slipping in B.C., poll finds, as number of COVID-19 cases rises

Last Updated Mar 26, 2020 at 5:53 am PDT

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. (NIAID-RML via AP)

More people are losing confidence in the healthcare system in places like B.C. and Ontario, a new poll finds

Angus Reid has found more Canadians are social distancing now than they were a week or two ago due to COVID-19

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said the federal government was performing well in response to the pandemic

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It seems confidence in the health system is slipping in B.C. as the number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed rises every day.

A new poll shows just how much life has changed for Canadians — in a matter of weeks.

The new normal may have seemed inconceivable last month, but according to the Angus Reid Institute, more people are keeping their distance from others and from public places.

It also finds the spread of the virus is sending anxiety levels spiking when it comes to finances and employment.

In B.C., confidence in the health system has steadily dropped from 62 per cent at the beginning of February to just 46 per cent now.

(Courtesy Angus Reid)

A drop in confidence has also been recorded in Ontario, where at the beginning of February, 63 per cent of locals said they were confident in community healthcare. Now, only 47 per cent said so.

When it comes to people feeling concerned about catching the novel coronavirus, people in the Atlantic led the pack at 76 per cent. Quebecers followed with 74 per cent, while 73 per cent of British Columbians said they were worried they’d come down with COVID-10.

Nationally, the figure represents about 70 per cent of respondents who said they were personally concerned about becoming sick.

Along with this, 88 per cent of people said they saw COVID-19 as a serious problem. Only about 12 per cent of respondents said they saw the outbreak as “overblown.

On the topic of social distancing, the number of people practicing this has also increased significantly. The pollster has found 85 per cent of Canadians are now keeping that physical distance from others in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, versus about half of Canadians just a week or two ago. Eighty-four-per-cent of Canadians reported no longer shaking hands or having any physical contact with other people.

(Courtesy Angus Reid)

However, on how the federal government is performing in response to the pandemic, it appears more and more Canadians believe it’s doing well.

Angus Reid has found nearly two-thirds of respondents said the feds are performing well, including 46 per cent of Conservatives.

The majority of those surveyed believe it’ll be at least three months until things get “back to normal,” with four-in-five Canadians having said so.

The highest number of cases have been observed in B.C., Ontario, and Quebec so far.


Meanwhile, after repeatedly reporting there’s no shortage of personal protection equipment, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry admitted that health care workers across the province were now being asked to ration resources.

“In the past week, we have seen a dramatic increase in use,” she said. “The burn rate – as we call it – is much higher than we would have expected.”

Henry said more shipments are now on order, but NEWS 1130 has been hearing from nurses and doctors who have said they’re being directed to use only one mask per shift.

The province reported Wednesday another death related to COVID-19, as well as an additional 42 cases of the virus in B.C., bringing the provincial total to close to 670. More than 180 people have fully recovered.

-With files from Nikitha Martins, Marcella Bernardo, and The Canadian Press