Doctor and Nurse Practitioner Alumni Couple Respond to COVID-19 in Lower Mainland

Dr. Simon Moore (‘05) and Alison Moore (Drummond, ‘06 ) are married medical professionals and graduates of TWU who are currently working on treating patients affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Dr. Simon is employed at a Vancouver Urgent Care clinic and at a Surrey Indigenous Health Clinic. Alison is a nurse practitioner and also works at the BCCDC as a nurse. Dr. Simon took a few moments out of his busy schedule to share a few important words to our community.

Do you have any message you feel is important to share with the community?

“Regarding COVID-19, I think the most important messages are that there is community spread in BC so we are no longer saying that it is just travelers at risk. Anyone who is feeling sick, especially with COVID-19 symptoms of fever, muscle aches, cough, or shortness of breath, should stay at home and call 8-1-1 for specific advice on their symptoms or 911 if they are feeling severely ill. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water can help you avoid COVID, colds, and flu.”

How can someone know if they have just a chest cold, flu, or COVID-19? Is it better to get tested and be safe, or will that overwhelm the medical community in an already trying time?

“Public health authorities are recommending that if you have symptoms, stay home and call 811 to have your specific symptoms evaluated. There’s great information on healthlink BC about cold symptoms and how they’re different from more severe illnesses like COVID-19 or the flu. Going to get tested isn’t necessarily a good idea and clinics have been advised to avoid swabbing people who do not have symptoms. If everyone with a cold travels to a clinic to be tested, the clinics will soon be overwhelmed. Many Family Physicians’ offices don’t have the resources to swab everyone but you could call your family doctor’s office. Urgent Care facilities have been reporting high wait times of up to 6 hours.

What can we do as a community in response to this pandemic?

“If everyone follows the instructions of public health officials, there’s a good chance we can slow the spread of this pandemic.”

Aside from washing hands, is there anything else we can or should be doing?

“Even though the virus is not spreading widely in the community yet, now is a great time to practice avoiding touching your face; my kids and I have turned this into a game. Carry tissues with you even if you usually don’t. As always, covering your mouth with your sleeve when you are coughing or sneezing, and stay home when you’re sick. Avoid spending time with other people who are ill. Public health authorities are also recommending you have enough food and medication at home in case you get a call saying that you need to self-isolate at home for 2 weeks because you’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive. Masks are not recommended for people without symptoms and there’s some suggestion that they may increase your risk of getting sick. Public health authorities in BC are recommending avoiding non-essential travel especially for the elderly and those who have medical conditions that put them at risk.”

Do you have any words of encouragement as a Christian doctor in a time where many people are either overcome with worry?

“We have eternal hope and have nothing to fear in Christ; this is a great opportunity to show God’s love and compassion for one another.”

Do you have any warnings for those who are not treating this seriously and passing it off as no big deal, just another type of flu?

“Even the flu kills thousands of people every year—the elderly, pregnant, and children can be at high risk. But just like the flu, you may have a mild illness with COVID-19 and pass it on to a loved one who is more vulnerable, such as a parent or grandparent. I would be heartbroken if I passed this infection on to my parents and they became ill. By keeping ourselves healthy we can prevent the spread.”