B.C. nurses complain of discrimination amid COVID-19
Published Wednesday, April 15, 2020 8:22AM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 15, 2020 11:08AM PDT
VICTORIA -- It's become a tradition for thousands of British Columbians to show their support for the province’s health-care workers by banging pots and cheering from their balconies daily.
But despite those displays of gratitude, the president of the BC Nurses' Union says not everyone is so supportive.
“Nurses have faced discrimination because of their profession," says Christine Sorensen. "The public is afraid, I think, because they’re afraid that the nurse may be transmitting COVID to them in their workplace."
The union president says she’s heard from nurses across the province who are being denied services based on that fear.
“Nurses have experienced discrimination with cab drivers, at the bank,” Sorensen says. “Some even at other health-care facilities, going for an ultrasound."
The head of the BC Taxi Association says some taxi drivers are afraid of contracting COVID-19 from passengers, because physical distancing is hard within the confines of a car. Still, he says he has not heard of any specific cases of drivers refusing to give a nurse or doctor a ride.
“I am totally surprised that a taxi driver would refuse service to a nurse or doctor,” Mohan Kang says.
Sorenson says anyone who is fearful that a nurse might pass on the novel coronavirus should remember that they are experts in dealing with contagious viruses.
“Nurses are professionals and we work every day with infectious disease – right now it's COVID, but other times it's tuberculosis.”
She says as more people have become educated about the coronavirus, the instances of discrimination against nurses seem to be going down.