COVID Recovery Grants Announced

Thanks to the generosity of donors to the Covid Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund, the Salt Spring Island Foundation announces a grand total $237,548 has been awarded in contribution to the many innovative pandemic relief, recovery and re-start efforts in our community. "The Foundation's Pandemic Impact Survey revealed priority needs among island charities related to re-building volunteer, staffing and fundraising networks in order to thrive during the Public Health phased re-start. In response, the Foundation Board offered Covid Recovery funding as a means for SSI charities, and any non-profits working in partnership with qualified donees, to move through this final phase of the pandemic and to build their community work anew," stated Sandra Heath, the Foundation's Grants Advisory Committee Chair. The Salt Spring Island Foundation made a call for applications for up to fifteen Covid Recovery Grant awards of up to $5,000 per community organization for projects that a…
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MLA Adam Olsen on vaccine roll-out and the exclusion of Salt Spring Island from the ‘Whole Community Approach’

As the provincial vaccine roll-out continues, it is important that all community members have the correct information about current COVID-19 protocols and vaccinations. We encourage everyone to register for a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Over the past few weeks, my office has been receiving many questions from constituents regarding current COVID-19 restrictions and what the rules are around travel. Restrictions have changed as of May 25th. The government has introduced a 4 step BC Restart plan and we are now currently in Step 1. Step 1 means that outdoor personal gatherings of up to 10 people and indoor gatherings with up to 5 visitors or 1 other household are allowed. Indoor low intensity group exercise is also allowed while indoor high intensity group exercise remains prohibited. Indoor and outdoor dining is now allowed with capacity limits based on physical distancing. There is a maximum of 6 people allowed at a table which is not restricted to your househ…
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COVID-19: B.C. launches restart plan to safely bring people back together

With more than 60% of adults vaccinated with their first dose and COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations steadily declining, British Columbia is moving forward with the cautious first step of a four-step plan for a careful and safe restart. “British Columbians have sacrificed so much over the last 15 months to help keep people and our communities safe,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have made tremendous strides with our vaccination program, and we are now in a position where we can move forward with a plan to slowly bring us back together. As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will be closely following the guidance of public health and supporting people and businesses as we take the next steps in putting this pandemic behind us.” BC’s Restart – a four-step plan to bring B.C. back together will be a slow and gradual return to a more normal life, with safety and health protocols such as mask wearing and physical distancing remaining in place and mandatory during t…
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BC Ferries reminds customers travel restrictions Order in effect

In advance of the May long weekend, which is typically a popular travel time, BC Ferries is reminding customers that the Province’s travel restrictions Order remains in effect and travel is limited to essential reasons only. No additional sailings are scheduled this long weekend. BC Ferries continues to deny travel to customers travelling for non-essential reasons on routes crossing regional zones as defined in the Order announced on April 23, 2021. This affects the following routes: Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay Tsawwassen – Duke Point Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay Comox – Powell River Port Hardy – Prince Rupert Customers travelling on these routes are asked if their travel is essential, and denied passage if it is not essential. Customers travelling on routes that operate within the same regional zone are reminded they should be avoiding non-essential travel at this time. The Province defines situations that qualify as es…
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Unpaid COVID-19 fines may lead to driver’s, vehicle licence denial

People who leave COVID-19 fines unpaid may be unable to obtain or renew a B.C. driver’s licence or vehicle licence under proposed legislation introduced today. “That small minority of persons who have been fined for violating the rules in place to protect us all are going to be held accountable for the debt they owe,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We’ve already moved up the deadline for sending unpaid COVID-19 fines to collections. Now, we’re going to refuse to issue offenders a driver’s licence or vehicle licence if they still won’t take their tickets seriously and pay up.” If passed, proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act will extend “refuse to issue” (RTI) restrictions to fines issued under the Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act. RTI will apply to all outstanding fines issued under these acts and will be applied retroactively. People with outstanding fines will receive notice of the RTI from ICBC ahead…
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Island Health thanks nurses for answering the call

It is fitting that the Canadian Nurses’ Association theme for National Nursing Week May 10-16 is “We Answer the Call.” From day one of this unparalleled and extraordinary COVID-19 pandemic that has enveloped our world for over a year, nurses have continued to stand where they always do – caring for patients, families and communities when they need it the most. Nurses are in every part of our health and care system. In hospitals, long-term care homes, public health units, clients’ homes, testing centres, vaccination clinics, undertaking cutting-edge COVID-19 research, and leading pandemic response from boardroom to point of care, nurses unique contribution to the health and wellness of our region is ever-present. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light more than ever the professionalism, wisdom, knowledge, skill, and compassion that nurses bring to work everyday and the important roles they play in our communities. “While the pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, …
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Salt Spring RCMP investigating mischief to Island Health signs

On April 24th, 2021 the Salt Spring RCMP received a complaint of several signs that had been vandalized during the previous night by unknown persons. Frontline members arrived and found that the signs all belonged to Vancouver Island Health Authority, and had been spray painted with different messages. The signs were all in place for the COVID-19 immunization clinic in the area of Jackson Ave on Salt Spring Island. "Whether this mischief was meant to be a nuisance, a political statement or otherwise is irrelevant says Salt Spring RCMP Detachment Commander Clive Seabrook. We are in the middle of a pandemic and this mischief is 100% unnecessary. I’m proud to stand alongside the health care professionals who are working very hard here for the residents of Salt Spring Island." Salt Spring RCMP members continue to following up on several leads to determine who caused the mischief. If you know anything about this incident please call the Salt Spring RCMP at (250) 537-5555.
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COVID-19: Health-care workers make appeal for help

The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is here and like all of us, our health-care teams are ready to put the pandemic behind them. For more than a year, public health teams, medical staff, staff and care providers across Island Health have focused their energies on preventing and managing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and keeping you and your loved ones safe. This unprecedented effort continues, in addition to other important, everyday health-care needs beyond the pandemic. You can help by following public health orders and guidelines. As the detailed April 16 presentation from the Province showed, COVID-19 cases remain high in our communities and we are seeing an increasing presence of the new Variants of Concern. Our Public Health teams are working long hours in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities through testing and collection, case and contact management, and vaccinations. But our health-care teams are tired. Many are on the verg…
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COVID-19: BC Ferries passengers will be asked if their travel is essential, and denied passage if it is not essential

Starting immediately, in support of the provincial travel restrictions Order announced today by the Province, BC Ferries will deny travel to customers travelling for non-essential reasons on routes crossing regional zones as defined in the Order. This affects the following routes: Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay Tsawwassen – Duke Point Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay Comox – Powell River Port Hardy – Prince Rupert Customers travelling on these routes will be asked if their travel is essential, and denied passage if it is not essential. Customers travelling on routes that operate within the same regional zone will be reminded they should be avoiding non-essential travel at this time. The Province defines situations that qualify as essential travel here. “BC Ferries supports doing everything we can to discourage non-essential travel, and this Order gives us the legal authority we need to deny travel for non-essential reasons,” sa…
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COVID-19: Province introduces travel restrictions to curb spread

To help keep communities safe and protect British Columbia’s health-care system from COVID-19, the Province is introducing travel restrictions that limit non-essential travel in B.C. On the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, has issued a new order using the extraordinary powers of the Emergency Program Act to prohibit non-essential travel between three regional zones in the province, using health authority boundaries. The regional zones are: Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Fraser Health and Coastal Health regions); Vancouver Island (Island Health region); and Northern/Interior (Interior Health and Northern Health regions). While the order puts legal limits only on travel between regional zones, the PHO’s guidance remains unchanged throughout B.C.: everyone should continue to stay within their local community – essential travel only. This order will be in effec…
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COVID-19: New vaccine schedule invites those 18+ to register this week

More than 1.8 million British Columbians will be invited to register for their COVID-19 vaccine in the week ahead as B.C.’s Get Vaccinated program moves forward. A new schedule for age cohorts to register ensures people know when it is their turn. To preserve system capacity, please wait until your age cohort is eligible to register: Monday, April 19 – Registration opens for people aged 40 and up Tuesday, April 20 – Registration opens for people aged 35 and up Wednesday, April 21 – Registration opens for people aged 30 and up Thursday, April 22 – Registration opens for people aged 25 and up Friday, April 23 – Registration opens for people aged 18 and up The fastest way to register is online. To register, people need their personal health number(found on their CareCard or on the back of their driver’s licence or BC Services Card), their postal code, first and last name, date of birth and an email address that gets checked regularly or a phone number tha…
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COVID-19: Local Impact and Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Individuals

The COVID pandemic has entered its third wave in BC, and Salt Spring is not immune to that trend. The good news is that immunizations continue at an increasing pace with the community vaccination clinic at ArtSpring providing vaccinations to adults based on age and other eligibility criteria. All adults can now register to be vaccinated although actual bookings for vaccination appointments are based on age cohorts. Information on registration for vaccination is available on the Island Health website. Individuals who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) due to specified underlying health conditions should have received individualized letters inviting them to register for prioritized booking for vaccination. The list of designation conditions to qualify as CEV is available on the Island Health and BC government websites. If you believe you qualify and did not receive a letter, please follow the instructions on the website to contact the registration and booking center to …
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COVID-19: What are the 3 steps to getting the vaccine on Salt Spring Island?

Here are the 3 steps for getting the COVID-19 vaccine on Salt Spring Island. The hours of operation at the ArtSpring clinic are Sunday to Thursday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. Step 1: Register Register online, by phone at (833) 838-2323 or in person at any Service BC office. First, you register and get a confirmation number. You need that number to later book your vaccination appointment. Registering also helps health authorities request the right amount of vaccine doses for each community. Once your age group becomes eligible, you will receive an email, text or phone call advising that you can book an appointment. Step 2: Book an appointment You will be contacted to book a vaccine appointment when you are eligible based on your age and our Immunization Plan phases.

You will book your appointment online or by phone. You will select a location, date and time.

Step 3: Get the vaccine Visit your local vaccine clinic to get vaccinated. …
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COVID-19: People aged 55+ invited to register for vaccine

A new vaccine registration schedule will provide certainty for more than 1.3 million British Columbians aged 40 and older, as B.C.’s Get Vaccinated program moves forward. A new schedule for age cohorts to register ensures people know when it is their turn: Monday, April 12 – registration opens for people aged 55 and up Wednesday, April 14 – registration opens for people aged 50 and up Friday, April 16 – registration opens for people aged 45 and up Monday, April 19 – registration opens for people aged 40 and up The fastest and most effective way to register is online. Registering online takes approximately two minutes. People need their personal health number (found on their CareCard or on the back of their driver’s licence or BC Services Card), postal code, first and last name, date of birth and an email address that gets checked regularly or a phone number that can receive text messages to register. Registration is the first step. Once registered, peo…
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COVID-19: Province shifts to Phase 3: millions to book vaccine appointments online

All eligible adults in B.C. will soon be able to follow an easy, three-step process to register and book their vaccine appointments online, as the Province moves to Phase 3 of B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan ahead of schedule. “British Columbians faced the countless challenges of this past year with incredible courage,” said Premier John Horgan. “Today marks a major milestone in our fight against COVID-19, and we ask everyone to wait their turn and follow three steps to help put this pandemic behind us.” There are three easy steps to register to book your vaccine appointment: Register: First, register when it is your turn and get a confirmation code. Book: Book a vaccine appointment when you get an email, text or phone call telling you you are eligible to book, based on your age. Get vaccinated: Visit a vaccine clinic to get your vaccine dose. Starting at 8 a.m. (Pacific time), on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, people born in 1950 and earlier (71 and older), Indi…
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COVID-19: Easter Weekend and Troubling Island Health Case Trends

As spring days bring beautiful weather and Easter weekend brings hope of new beginnings, we need to remind ourselves that COVID continues to be a real and present health risk in our community. The start of the COVID vaccination program has brought new hope for the end of the pandemic. However some troubling trends are developing in Island Health’s fight against COVID-19. All three variants of concern have now been identified in Island Health. The number of variant cases across Vancouver Island are increasing. Contact tracing has shown that the variant cases were brought to the Island Health region through non-essential travel to other areas of B.C. and beyond. Public health teams have also noted a significant jump in the number of close contacts for COVID cases. On Salt Spring, we have not had any major outbreaks since the start of the pandemic. However we have had, and continue to have, the ongoing presence of COVID in our community. The variants of concern are more transmi…
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COVID-19: With Cases Surging, Now Is Not the Time to Travel or Gather Indoors

Island Health is urging people to avoid the high-risk activities that have pushed COVID-19 cases to an all-time high throughout our region. With the upcoming long weekend and important religious holidays that normally bring friends and family together, Island Health is calling on everyone to closely follow the Orders and guidelines put in place by the Provincial Health Officer. We acknowledge the global pandemic continues to be an extremely challenging experience for so many and people are understandably experiencing COVID fatigue. However, with daily case counts at current levels and the growing prevalence of variants of concern on Vancouver Island, we cannot afford to let our guard down and undo the progress we have collectively made. Island Health’s Public Health team has noted some concerning trends recently, including: A significant increase in the number of close contacts to COVID-19 cases. This includes people reporting non-essential travel, large social ga…
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COVID-19: Immunization Clinic Relocates to ArtSpring Centre

Effective Wednesday, April 7, 2021 all scheduled immunization appointments for Salt Spring Island will be held at the ArtSpring Centre (100 Jackson Avenue) on Salt Spring Island. People with appointments at the health unit on or after April 7the, 2021 will be informed of the shift to ArtSpring. Once fully operational, the clinic at ArtSpring will operate Sunday through Thursday, 8:30am – 4:30pm. Appointments are required and details will be confirmed with you when your appointment is booked. Please do not contact the ArtSpring Centre for information about registration or eligibility. This information can be found at islandhealth.ca/covid19vaccine
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COVID-19: Three-Week Circuit Breaker Begins Now to Bend the Curve, Protect People

To address rising COVID-19 case counts, protect people and communities and help break the chain of COVID-19 transmission, the provincial health officer is amending the provincial public health orders effective midnight tonight, March 30, 2021. “COVID-19 continues to create challenges for people and businesses throughout B.C., and we are grateful for the sacrifices people continue to make to keep one another safe,” said Premier John Horgan. “We know that the idea of more restrictions is not welcome news, but we are asking people to rise to the challenge with the confidence that vaccines mean better days are ahead. We are not out of the woods yet, but the provincial health officer’s orders, combined with our vaccines, give us the tools we need to move out of this pandemic together.” New and amended orders and guidelines are in effect through April 19, 2021, and include: For restaurants, bars and pubs, all food and liquor-serving premises must only provide take-out or d…
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COVID-19: Vancouver Island School Districts and Coronavirus Response

The Vancouver Island region has been experiencing a higher number of coronavirus cases in the past few weeks, and many of these cases have reported higher numbers of social contacts and events while infectious. Accordingly, we are now seeing the number of children with coronavirus on the rise. This past few weeks may have been quiet as schools have been heading into or returning from spring break. However, all signs indicate that there will be significant numbers of exposures at schools in the weeks to come. As families prepare for children to return to school, please consider: If your child has even mild symptoms, do not attend school, make an appointment to get your child and any other symptomatic family members tested, especially if you have travelled during spring break. Call 1-844-901-8442 (daily 8:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.) to book an appointment for a COVID test. Remember: Hand washing, physical distancing and mask wearing are important measures to continue to…
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COVID-19: Province Hikes Fines to Further Enforce Public Safety

Fines for promoting and attending gatherings that contravene the provincial health officer’s (PHO) order just got more expensive. Effective immediately, an amendment to the Violation Ticket Administration and Fine Regulation raises the fine for promoting and for attending a non-compliant gathering or event from $230 to $575. The current fine for those who organize or host a prohibited event remains the same at $2,300. “Over the last several months, it’s become clear that for some, the risk of a $230 violation ticket isn’t enough to deter attendance at events that violate the PHO order,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “I am disappointed that a small minority of British Columbians continue to put their health and the health of others at risk by attending unsafe gatherings. This selfish behaviour needs to stop, and police and provincial enforcement authorities will be able to issue these new fines immediately.” A $230 fine will conti…
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