COVID-19: Vaccination Clinics Expand to Central and North Vancouver Island

Island Health is administering COVID-19 immunizations to health care workers in long-term care in the central and north Vancouver Island regions beginning today. This week, Island Health received an additional 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, allowing us to expand our immunization clinics outside of the greater Victoria area. Clinics will be held in Nanaimo and Campbell River, with care, support, and medical staff who work or volunteer in long-term care being eligible to receive the vaccine. Eligible individuals will receive direct communication from Island Health on how to book an appointment. “Our number one goal throughout this pandemic has been to protect our residents,” said Sharron Traub, Manager of Dufferin Place long-term care home in Nanaimo. “Providing the vaccine to frontline health care workers in long-term care is a critical line of defence to keep this virus out, and an important show of support for those caring for and protecting some of the most vulnerab…
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COVID-19: First U.K. Variant Case in B.C. Lands in Island Health Region

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement announcing the first confirmed case of a person in British Columbia infected with the COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom: “B.C. has identified the first case of a person in B.C. infected with the COVID-19 U.K. variant. The individual, who resides in the Island Health region, returned to B.C. from the U.K. on flight AC855 on Dec. 15, 2020, developed symptoms while in quarantine and was immediately tested. Testing confirmed the positive diagnosis on Dec. 19, 2020; a small number of close contacts have been isolated and public health is following up with them daily. “The variant strain was detected by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) Public Health Laboratory in its review of all isolates from people who had recently returned from travel to the U.K. Whole genome sequencing at the BCCDC identified this as the same…
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COVID-19: Island Health Administers First COVID-19 Vaccine

Island Health administered the first COVID-19 immunizations to health care workers in the Greater Victoria area today. Island Health received 1,950 doses in its initial shipment and immunization clinics will continue throughout the week. Immunization clinics for staff and physicians will expand across Island Health in the coming weeks, as they receive more doses. “In my 25-year career as a Medical Health Officer on the island, I have been privileged to be part of many significant firsts that improve the health of the population,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer. “The launch of our immunization program against COVID-19 this morning will be the most memorable.” The vaccine is an important step in our journey to protect people from the COVID-19 virus, and today is a significant step taken on the island to protect health care workers who work on the frontlines of COVID-19. Dena Scriven, a nursing assistant in long-term care, was t…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Stay Local, Stay Safe

The upcoming holiday season is traditionally a time to gather with family and friends. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, other faith based holidays and traditions, or simply enjoy the festivities of the season, we look forward to parties and family dinners and get-togethers. The arrival of a vaccine against COVID-19 is a reason to celebrate as it heralds the beginning of (we hope) the end of the pandemic. However, we can’t allow ourselves to relax our focus on preventing the further spread of COVID. We need to continue to limit our gatherings to our immediate household, forego travel to visit friends, family and relatives, maintain our distance from others and wear a mask in public spaces. These measures are going to continue to be crucial to containing the virus while the immunization campaign moves forward. The Lady Minto Hospital will remain open through the holiday season for Emergency, for lab and medical imaging (X-ray) services, as well as for admissions to…
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COVID-19: First Delivery of Vaccinations Arrives in B.C.

The first delivery of approximately 4,000 doses of the first approved COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in the province. Preparation is underway to immunize the first British Columbians in the coming days. These initial vaccine doses will be administered to Lower Mainland health-care workers who work in long-term care homes and front-line health-care workers essential to the COVID-19 response. Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are contacting staff to schedule the initial vaccine appointments. Starting the week of Dec. 21, vaccines will be delivered weekly to all health authorities. Expected timelines will depend on vaccine approval and availability. As vaccines become more available, they will be provided to other priority groups throughout British Columbia. A registration and record system are in development, including a process to register for vaccine access and receive a formal record of immunization. Photos of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfiz…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - This Year Must Be Different

As COVID-19 rates have been surging across BC including in Island Health, we have been so grateful to see our community members adopting the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and other Public Health officials to keep us all safe. Practicing hand hygiene, wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and shrinking our “social bubbles” are all essential actions in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and protecting us all. Thank you! Doing this is not easy at times, and certainly the upcoming winter holidays will be one of the times when the restrictions necessary to control the virus will feel particularly painful. The PHO has been very clear and has issued province-wide restrictions because of the compelling need to control transmission of COVID-19: there are to be no gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your current household and no travel other than travel which is essential for work or health reasons. We love to connect at …
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COVID-19: BC Ferries Encourages Essential Travel Only This Holiday Season

Delivery of goods and holiday packages remain a priority - BC Ferries is advising customers to avoid non-essential travel over the holiday period, in keeping with direction provided by the Province of British Columbia. The company continues to transport commercial traffic, delivering essential goods and services to coastal communities. Commercial traffic, in fact, is as strong or stronger across all routes than for this same period last year. For customers who need to travel for essential reasons, BC Ferries offers the following advice to support safe travel this holiday season: Plan in advance. Priority will be to keep essential goods, groceries, holiday letters and packages moving. Book in advance. This guarantees passengers travel on the sailing of their choice. BC Ferries recently launched a new mobile-friendly website that makes it easier for customers to book and manage their bookings online. For full schedule information, current conditions and bookings, pleas…
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COVID-19: RCMP - Be Kind to Each Other and Retailers

Local retailers on Salt Spring Island have been the subject of ridicule and abuse as they ensure that masks are worn by patrons entering their store. Presently, the wearing of masks is mandated by the province and retailers are merely following the rules to keep patrons and their staff safe. Businesses have the responsibility due to the recent public health order to ask their patrons to wear face coverings or non medical masks while on premises and to refuse service for non‐compliance. Individuals have the right not to attend the business if they decide not to wear a protective mask to help prevent the spread COVID‐19. We highly encourage everyone to respect provincial health orders for their safety and the safety of others. Although we would hope not to issue violation tickets, people found in contravention can be fined $230 for abusive or belligerent behaviour and/or failure to wear a face covering (mask). Sgt. Clive Seabrook pleads, "Please respect our local reta…
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COVID-19: Community Member at Salt Spring Centre School Tests Positive - School Closed

Salt Spring Centre School on Salt Spring Island was closed early today for the holiday break after a confirmed COVID-19 case in the school community. In a letter given to the school by Dee Hoyano, MD, FRCPC, Medical Health Officer with Island Health, the school administrators were informed of the case. The dates of potential exposure in the school community occurred December 3, 2020. The community member is isolating and are being followed by Island Health. The notice does not identify the community member, however school administrator Shauna Klem came forward on social media with the following statement early this evening: "Okay, I am saying it here because I would rather people heard it from me than spread misinformation. Today, I received a positive COVID test result.The kids and I are quarantining. Please wear your mask." ~ Shauna Klem, Salt Spring Centre School She went on to add in a separate note with the Exchange that she "...hoped more people will choose to…
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COVID-19: GISS Community Member Tests Positive - Contact Tracing Completed

In a letter posted for families with students at Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) late this afternoon, school administrators have confirmed that Island Health contact tracing and communication in regard to the confirmed case of COVID-19 reported yesterday of a GISS community member has been completed. "We are pleased to share that Island Health actions (contact tracing and communication) in response to the confirmed case of COVID-19 have been completed. Island Health has identified and notified all close-contacts and has provided them with specific guidance regarding a self-isolation period." "We wanted to share with everyone a common misconception in regard to viral transmission; that it is tied to a place, rather than to an individual. This exposure is not connected to the school itself, as our building and classrooms are regularly cleaned and disinfected. Our school continues to implement the strict protocols and procedures set by the Provincial Health Officer, Wor…
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COVID-19: GISS Community Member Tests Positive - Contact Tracing in Progress

Medical Health Officer Dee Hoyano from the Office of the North Island Medical Health Officer with Island Health, has issued a notice to the parents, guardians, families and staff of Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) on Salt Spring Island that a member of the school community has tested positive for COVID-19. The notice indicates that the date of the potential exposure for others at the school as November 26th, 2020. Island Health is completing contact tracing to identify any staff and students that need to self-isolate or self-monitor for symptoms. Note: The first version of this story incorrectly identified the confirmed case was a student, but that has not been confirmed. The confirmed case in this notice was identified simply as a 'member' of the school community.
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COVID-19: New Health Orders, Not Complicated... But It Is Hard

Yesterday, Dr. Bonney Henry issued a new set of public health orders increasing the restrictions on travel, gatherings, and making masks mandatory in indoor public spaces. So far, we have not had COVID outbreaks on the island and we need to keep it that way. As our Island medical health officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick has said “Until recently, the number of positive cases throughout Island Health remained relatively low. This was not by luck. It was the result of hard work by people in communities across our region who took their responsibility to prevent the spread of this virus very seriously, supported by Island Health’s staff working to control COVID-19. To everyone who has taken their responsibilities seriously to protect themselves, their loved ones, and our health-care system, we thank you.” What we have to do is not complicated … but it IS hard! We all have to follow not only the letter, but also the spirit of the public health orders and focus on the basics: avoid …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Maintain Vigilance

Across BC we are seeing an increase in COVID activity. Although Vancouver Island has continued to maintain relatively low numbers of cases, we cannot rely on our physical separation from the rest of the province to maintain our current status. It is crucial that we maintain vigilance with our individual and collective actions. Maintain our bubbles of immediate family and our “safe six” of family and friends Maintain physical distancing when in public or with people not in our bubble Wear a mask to reduce droplet spread and limit the potential to spread viral particles from infected individuals, including those who do not have symptoms, or to inhale viral particles from others Wash our hands frequently COVID has been devastating to residents of long term care facilities where there have been outbreaks. We have been able to avoid any community or facility outbreaks on Salt Spring so far and we need to continue to do so. “There is good work being done by the Va…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Flu Season Clinics

We are rapidly approaching the start of influenza season. Meanwhile, we remains in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic with increasing numbers of cases across the province. We, on the island, have been able to avoid any outbreaks of COVID-19 so far with low numbers of COVID-19 infections. The measures we have employed – limiting our contacts to those within our bubble, maintaining physical distance from others, wearing a mask when we are unable to maintain distance or are in public spaces, and washing our hands – should also help to limit the spread of ‘flu this year. The annual influenza vaccine is now available for immunization. ‘Flu vaccination remains an important means to protect individuals from illness and prevent community spread with the potential for a ‘twindemic’. The family doctors of Salt Spring will be working with Public Health and other community partners to provide ‘flu vaccinations at a community ‘flu clinic this year. Individual physician offices hav…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Thanksgiving Weekend

As we anticipate the Thanksgiving long weekend, a time when we normally get together with family, it is a good time to reflect on what we, as Islanders, have to the thankful for. We have had a low rate of COVID-19 infections since the outbreak of the pandemic and we have not had a community outbreak on Salt Spring. In particular, our seniors living in residential care have not been exposed to outbreaks. We have had strong leadership from our public health team, including our provincial health office, Dr. Henry and our Minister of Health with clear and unambiguous guidance on how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. As the long weekend approaches, it is important to continue to follow the public health orders and guidelines; Maintain our bubbles of a small number of close family and friends Limit our gatherings, including restricting our Thanksgiving gatherings to those already in our bubble Maintain physical distancing when in public or with people not in ou…
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COVID-19: Tree House Cafe Set to Re-Open

We want to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful staff and community for helping us navigate the crazy summer of 2020. And thank you to all of the musicians who graced our stage. Although the season was shorter than usual, the nights of music under the plum tree let us all to feel a bit closer to normal and once again we felt the healing power of music. We may not have been hugging but connection was still there. And thank you to all of the local farmers and businesses who shared their bounty and talents with us to bring another season of wonderful food. The Tree House will be re-opening this Friday September 18th, 2020. New hours will be 8am-4pm seven days a week. COVID-19 UPDATE: Sept 14 On Sept 3 we were informed that one of our back of house staff members had tested positive for covid-19. We decided to close the restaurant to allow staff to self-isolate and get tested. We are happy to report that no other staff members have tested positive and it has been…
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COVID-19: Transport Canada Rescinds Option to Remain on Enclosed Vehicle Decks

BC Ferries is informing customers that as of Sept. 30, 2020, Transport Canada is rescinding the temporary flexibility it granted to ferry operators allowing passengers to remain in their vehicle on enclosed vehicle decks. Transport Canada granted this flexibility in the spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. BC Ferries must comply with Transport Canada regulations and the company supports the regulation and its intent. Enclosed car decks are spaces that represent inherent risk to the travelling public. During the pandemic these risks were mitigated with additional safety procedures and patrols. However, Transport Canada has now advised BC Ferries that measures have been developed and implemented to prevent the spread of the disease in all transportation modes and businesses across Canada. They have further advised the marine safety case for ending the practice of permitting people to remain in their vehicles on enclosed car deck is clear. BC Ferries has implemented …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Local Case Information

In the wake of the recent positive COVID-19 case in the community, physician offices are fielding many questions. We would like to direct people appropriately so we can focus on our patients’ needs. As individual family physicians, we have no additional information about the Salt Spring situation to give to the public - your family physician's office will not be able to provide further details. Instead, the places to look for information are the Island Health Website and the BCCDC. For information about local outbreaks and exposures, see the Island Health site. Friendly reminders about symptoms and testing: If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (dry cough, fever, headache) and need a swab call the 1-844-901-8442 number to book an appointment. Testing is not done if you do not have symptoms. If you are UNWELL with respiratory symptoms and need advice, contact 811 for advice or if symptoms are more severe, the emergency room at Lady Minto Hospital. If you have symptom…
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COVID-19: Tree House Cafe Temporarily Closed After Staff Member Tests Positive

We would like to notify everyone that we have been informed that one member of our staff has tested positive for COVID-19. It is important to note this staff member did not have direct contact with customers while symptomatic. Since the case was confirmed, we have been working closely with Island Health’s Public Health team. Island Health has informed us that they have completed their contact tracing related to this case. Anyone deemed a potential contact has already been informed or will be informed as soon as possible and advised to self-isolate. Island Health has confirmed that the risk of exposure to customers or those not identified as a potential contact is extremely low. However, out of an abundance of caution, people should continue to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If they feel sick, stay home and reach out for advice or testing. Although we have not been ordered to do so, we have made the decision to close for the time being, to allow some of our staff to self…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Kindness Will See Us Through

COVID-19 cases are up across the province, but mainly in the lower mainland and predominantly associated with larger gatherings. Cases in our local Island Health Authority thankfully remain low. If you have cold or flu like symptoms and are concerned you may have COVID, please call the COVID booking line at 1-844-901-8442 and you will be booked for testing at Lady Minto Hospital. Please do NOT just arrive at Lady Minto expecting to be seen. This overwhelms our staff, wastes resources, and makes for longer wait times for everyone. We want to ensure that those who actually need care, get it in a timely manner. Finally, a reminder to be kind. Hospital staff continue to endure rude and abusive behaviour. While we understand that the pandemic has increased stress, kindness and patience are the values that will see us through this together.
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COVID-19: Possible Exposures in Sidney

Island Health is notifying people who visited the following locations in Sidney between August 20 and August 22 about possible exposures to COVID-19.

Location

Address

Dates and Times

10 Acres Cafe & Market at the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa (NOT The Pier restaurant)

9805 Seaport Place, Sidney, B.C.

· Thursday, August 20 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

· Friday, August 21 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe

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