VICTORIA -- A senior infectious disease doctor on Vancouver Island is speaking out and warning the island community about the seriousness of COVID-19.

Dr. David Forrest, an infectious disease and critical care physician from the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) posted a 7.5-minute video on social media Monday morning.

“I think it’s important people understand how serious this is,” said Forrest in his video. “It is to stop the spread of this virus before it’s too late.”

In his video, Forrest calls for all non-essential businesses to shutdown and reiterates the importance of self-isolation and physical distancing.

“[Self-isolation and physical distancing] is just as, if not more important, than the work we will do as health care providers to treat people,” Forrest said.

He goes on to describes a worst-case scenario of what the City of Nanaimo could look like if Canada does not stop the spread of the virus.

If 20 per cent of the Canadian population became infected with COVID-19, that total would equate to roughly 20,000 people in Nanaimo alone, says Forrest.

Of those 20,000 people, 14 per cent would need hospital care, which means roughly 2,800 people would require medical attention at a hospital (NRGH) that has a maximum capacity of 400 patients.

Meanwhile, five per cent of that population would require care in the intensive care unit, meaning that roughly 1,000 people in Nanaimo would need access to one of the 4.5 ventilator ICU beds available in the municipality, says Forrest.

However, since Nanaimo Regional General Hospital serves much of the central island, with a population of approximately 200,000, Forrest says those patient numbers would double.

The infectious disease doctor says that it is critical that everyone wash their hands frequently, especially after touching surfaces in high traffic areas, like kitchens and washrooms. He also recommends that people disinfect these areas regularly, as well as their cellphones.

Forrest ends his video by saying, “My ugly mug may be the last face you see and it may be to tell you, ‘I’m sorry, but there is no life-support left for you.’”