March 26, 2020 – 4:30pm
COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE #8 – CITY OF NELSON
Nelson, BC – The Honourable Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, announced that he is issuing several orders under the Provincial State of Emergency to support the Province’s ongoing response to the pandemic. A number of these orders affect the operations of all local governments. We are currently waiting for the details before we implement any additional changes in our local response and procedures. On the initial review, it looks like these new tools will strengthen both the provincial and local response to this pandemic.
The Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) continues to work closely with our partners in finding appropriate supports for our vulnerable population, and this is being led by BC Housing. The EOC is also working with Interior Health and other organizations to assist in meeting their many needs.
The BC Government has provided the following information today:
Ministerial Orders from the Minister Farnworth:
The provincial government made an announcement today with regards to supply chains in our province and coordination of response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is using extraordinary powers under a state of provincial emergency to keep British Columbians safe, maintain essential goods and services, and support the Province’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
Supply chain: Establishing a new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit to co-ordinate goods and services distribution; taking a more active role in co-ordinating essential goods and services movement by land, air, marine and rail; and suspending any bylaws that restrict goods delivery at any time of day.
Protecting Consumers: Banning the secondary resale of food, medical supplies, personal protective equipment, cleaning and other essential supplies; and restricting quantities of items purchased at point of sale.
Enforcement: Enabling municipal bylaw officers to support enforcement of the provincial health officer’s orders for business closures and gatherings, in line with offences under the Public Health Act.
Travel: Ensuring all passenger and car-ferry services provide minimum service levels and priority access for residents, and essential goods and workers.
Protecting B.C.’s Most Vulnerable: Making it easier to support critical services for vulnerable people, like food banks and shelters.
Co-ordination: Suspending local states of emergency specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, except for the City of Vancouver; giving municipal councils the ability to hold more flexible meetings to expedite decisions; and co-ordinating potential use of local publicly owned facilities, like community centres, for self-isolation, testing, medical care, warehousing and distribution.
Farnworth added, “Many local governments, First Nations and partners have stepped up to make sure they have prepared to protect their communities from the impacts of COVID-19. Today’s measures will make sure communities are taking necessary steps, in co-ordination with the Province, to get ready should more action be required to combat COVID-19.”
More information can be found here.
People Helping People
There is a lot of important and critical work being done in our community by Interior Health, the City of Nelson Emergency Operations Centre, and other groups and organizations as it relates to working through the COVID-19 pandemic. It is great to see that the residents following the orders set out by the Province, including the mandatory quarantine for travellers coming home from outside Canada and maintaining a physical distance of at least two (2) meters when out in public. If we all continue to follow the orders set-out, it will make a huge difference as we make our way through this crisis.
It takes the whole community to do their part, including assisting those who need help to obtain supplies and groceries. The Province has expanded its Seniors’ 211 service (and website) to provide additional services to connect seniors with someone local to help with getting medications, groceries, or just connecting socially. Also, at a local level, we would like to acknowledge the organizers of the Facebook group ‘Nelson Helps’ who have created and are managing a space to connect volunteers with members of our community that need assistance. We do want to remind volunteers in the community to take every precaution when purchasing and delivering goods to friends and neighbours.
Update from School District 8:Kootenay Lake Superintendent, Christine Perkins, has begun a regular series of video updates. The aim is to engage students, staff, parents, and guardians on a personal level and to keep everyone informed about plans for the continuation of learning as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic together.
"I would like to assure all our families, our staff and students, we have been working hard behind the scenes in order to prepare for what will be a never-before experienced district-wide delivery of education for our students," says Perkins.
Perkins says the education sector has four guiding principles as the foundation moving forward:
1. Maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students and families and all employees.
2. Provide services to support children of essential service workers.
3. Support vulnerable students who may need special assistance.
4. Provide continuity of educational opportunities for all students.
Health & safety of staff and students and the public – this comes first
Throughout spring break, all district schools underwent a deep clean. Protocols and plans at schools to ensure physical distancing and safe access were established. Playgrounds and basketball courts were closed to prevent groups gathering. “The last thing we would ever want is for one of our children to get sick, so we are begging parents, and the public, to ensure their children and grand-children stay away from all playground equipment at this time,” says Perkins.
Read more here
Expansion of BC211:
The following excerpt is from CBC News – March 26, 2020
B.C. seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie says the province has agreed to expand the 211 phone line for community services to match seniors who need help coping with the strains of COVID-19 isolation with volunteers who want to help.
In a press conference with Health Minister Adrian Dix, Mackenzie said the province was also going to increase funding for the Better At Home program, which helps seniors remain independent at home and stay connected with their community.
"Seniors want to do the right thing and stay at home but they are going to need our help to do this," Mackenzie said. “If we put ourselves in the shoes of a senior, we can begin to understand the challenges older people face. They are frankly afraid that if they get [COVID-19] they will die."
The increased support for seniors comes out of a cross-party committee formed last week to address the particular vulnerabilities of seniors coping with the possibility of increased isolation as a result of social distancing.
She said the government has been inundated with calls from members of the community who want to help by buying groceries and other necessities or by helping to keep seniors who can’t leave their homes for fear of contracting the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
’Stay home and let us help’
Prior to this week, the 211 service was not available to people in northern B.C., but Mackenzie said the service is being extended to the region.
"My message to B.C. seniors is simple: Please do not be afraid but please stay home and let us help," she said. "Your kids, your grandkids, your community, every one of your elected officials at every level of government want to help."
Beware of Scams: The following excerpt is from Global News – March 26, 2020
Canadians should be vigilant for text scams amid the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday.
“There appears to be a text scam going around on the new emergency response benefit,” he said during a press briefing outside his Ottawa home.
Trudeau said Canadians should be looking at reliable sources for information on the pandemic and relief efforts, such as government websites.
Some Canadians have reported receiving texts that read: “Alert: The emergency response benefit of Canada relief fund has sent you a deposit of $1375.50.”
The text then asks them to click on a link and give personal information to claim the money.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has also warned of potential scams.
The Canadian government website lists some COVID-19 scams that have been reported, ranging widely from door-to-door salespeople selling disinfecting products to private companies offering health services.
To help provide important information to our community, the City of Nelson has developed a dedicated webpage nelson.ca/covid19 that will be updated frequently as new information becomes available. Please sign-up for ‘City News’ on NotifyMe to receive automatic updates from the City via text or email.
The City of Nelson relies on Interior Health, BC Public Health, and the Federal Government for information related to the virus itself. If you believe you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your physician, or call the COVID-19 telephone line at 1-888-COVID19, to be assessed or call the testing clinic hotline at (250) 551-7500 to be triaged for testing. Symptoms of COVID-19 include coughing, fever, sore throat, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms may not present themselves for up to 14 days, but you may be a carrier of the virus; therefore it is important to follow the guidelines set out by the health experts.
We thank you for doing your part to help maintain a safe and healthy community and for understanding the importance of this evolving situation.
Ginger Lester, EOC Information Officer firstname.lastname@example.org