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COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE #8 – CITY OF NELSON

The BC Government issued several orders under the Provincial State of Emergency to support the Province’s ongoing response to the pandemic.

Submitted by City of Nelson

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. The City is 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:

COVID-19 Cases:             

  • Total cases in BC to date: 725 — 359 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 241 in Fraser Health, 52 in Island Health, 62 in Interior Health, 11 in Northern Health
  • Total recovered cases in BC: 186
  • Total fatalities in BC to date: 14
  • Total cases in Canada to date: 4,043
  • Total fatalities in Canada to date: 39

Ministerial Orders from the Minister Farnworth:

The provincial government made an announcement Thursday 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.

These include:

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.”

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.

Reminders:

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
  • 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.  

The City thanks residents for doing their part to help maintain a safe and healthy community and for understanding the importance of this evolving situation.