COVID-19: Have symptoms? Get Tested

B.C.’s COVID-19 testing strategy has been expanded to include anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild.

While testing has expanded, not everyone needs a test. COVID-19 testing is not recommended for people without symptoms.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold. They include:

Fever chills cough shortness of breath sore throat painful swallowing stuffy or runny nose loss of sense of smell headache muscle aches fatigue loss of appetite

At this time, any physician or nurse practitioner can order a test for a patient with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms based on their clinical judgment.

If you do not have a primary care provider, please call Island Health’s Call Centre at 1-844-9…

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COVID-19: Salt Spring Community Raises $125,000 for Lady Minto Hospital

Thank You, Salt Spring! – We Counted on You – and You Came Through! A big island thank you to everyone who has contributed to COVID-19 Relief during this unprecedented time. Through your generosity, we have raised $125,000 to help Lady Minto Hospital cope with this pandemic. To date, your donations have been used to provide: Hospital Scrubs C-Can container for COVID supplies Personal Protective Equipment for community medical staff and first responders The hospital is now well positioned to respond to immediate, short-term and longer-term needs, should this emergency situation continue for some time. We encourage you to continue to share your appreciation for Lady Minto Hospital staff. Your comments are very much appreciated. Look for more in-depth stories about the difference your contributions have made, in the next issue of the Minto Messenger coming soon! On behalf of the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, thank you and stay safe. You made a …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - April 27th, 2020 - 1:05 PM

Plans are being made to open up businesses and relax some of the restrictive measures that we have all been living with. This is an exciting, but also risky and scary time, and there are a few things to remember. We are incredibly lucky on Salt Spring to have more space than city dwellers to get outside while still maintaining at least 2 meters’ distance from others. However, as businesses open, all of us may find ourselves in situations where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance. For this reason, masks are another tool we can use to help reduce spread. Even more important will be the need for all of us to be vigilant about our health and not go to work or go out if we are ill. If you develop any new respiratory symptoms - fever, cough or difficulty breathing - you must go home and book an appointment to have yourself tested for the novel coronavirus. Employers must not only allow workers to stay home when ill, but support them to do so. Our culture of going…
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COVID-19: Mental Health Recognized as a Long-Term Concern by Salt Spring Island Foundation

On April 9, in recognition of the importance of maintaining mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Premier John Horgan and Minister for Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy announced $5 million in funding toward expanded and new mental health programs and services The funding includes enhanced virtual services, with a focus on adults, youth and front-line health care workers, to ensure British Columbians can get supports at home. Islanders can find out more about accessing these mental health services through calling  or by calling 811. While the provincial response and recognition of current mental health challenges is welcomed, the stress on our mental health services has been an ongoing concern on Salt Spring Island for years. In addition to providing grants to support mental health programs, the Salt Spring Island Foundation has recognized that a strong sense of community belonging is an important factor in supporting mental health and commu…
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COVID-19: Greenwoods/Braehaven Operating Safely - No Virus Cases in Either Residence - April 26th, 2020 - 9:43 AM

We would like to take a moment to update you on what is happening at the residential homes and what we are doing to keep our Residents safe during these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you are no doubt aware, the coronavirus is a particular threat to seniors, especially those living in long term care homes, and is now a top concern in Canada. We want to assure you that Greenwoods/Braehaven are operating safely through this threat. Staff and management are working closely with Island Health to implement the evolving directives for the care of the Residents.  The team continues to adapt to the changing protocols and we are seeing the concept of “continuous quality improvement” in action and at an accelerated pace.  Our excellent staff are providing extra care and cleaning and are doing their best to maintain an atmosphere of calm and normalcy in the residences. An Activity Team is providing programs for the Residents seven days a week.  Currently, there are no cas…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - April 23rd, 2020 - 1:21 PM

As most people know, there are COVID-19 outbreaks around the province including one on a small Island off the Northern part of Vancouver Island. While BC has done incredibly well under Dr. Henry’s guidance, these outbreaks tell us that the risk is still very real and present. At Lady Minto we are looking at ways to restart endoscopies, minor procedures, and non-urgent lab work while keeping staff and patients safe and minimizing the use of personal protective gear. Please be patient while we work out the best processes for these procedures. As we try to better understand the burden of disease in the community, there is now the opportunity for anyone in the community to self refer for COVID-19 testing. If you have symptoms and feel you should be tested, please call 811 and they will arrange an appointment for you at Lady Minto. Please do not just show up and please understand that the test is meaningless if you do not have symptoms. Please use this resource wisely. Fin…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Transit System Changes to Match Service Demand

BC Transit and the Capital Regional District are informing customers of an upcoming seasonal service change on Salt Spring Island on Saturday, May 2, 2020. BC Transit works hard to match service with demand, the seasonal service change includes: Adding limited service on route 2 Fulford Harbour along Cusheon Lake Road on Saturdays Seasonal changes to routes 2 Fulford Harbour, 3 Vesuvius and 4 Long Harbour This service change also take into account having sufficient service to allow for physical distancing while traveling on public transit in BC Transit communities due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The response to COVID-19 is a fluid situation that businesses, governments, and people are adjusting to across the country and around the world. BC Transit will continue to monitor available resources and provide service updates on a day-to-day basis. We thank our customers for their patience, and apologize for the inconvenience. Our team is here for you if yo…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee Moves to Electronic Meetings During Pandemic

Lekwungen, METULIYE/Victoria, BC—Salt Spring Island Local Trust Area residents and property owners can attend the next local trust committee meeting, April 28, 9:30 a.m., from their homes. All they need is a phone or a computer with access to the internet. In compliance with public health directives to limit public gatherings and maintain social distance, the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee will be conducting its next regular business meeting via Zoom, an electronic video and audio conferencing system, which can be accessed by anyone through the internet, or phone. The Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee will conduct its meeting electronically. However, provincial law requires that a physical location be provided for the public to assemble. The Islands Trust Victoria Office at 1627 Fort Street, Victoria, BC, will serve as this location, but Islands Trust hopes that meeting attendees will stay home and attend the meeting electronically. “As much as…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - April 20th, 2020 - 1:07 PM

Our efforts are working to flatten the curve, but international experience shows we cannot let up those efforts without putting many people at risk. Lately, we’ve been looking to the south where people are protesting these guidelines and demanding that the economy be restarted. What we really see are people with a complete disregard for those at risk, particularly for workers who literally put their lives at risk daily to care and provide for others. Most of the population remains susceptible to this virus and so we must proceed cautiously as we attempt to reduce some of the restrictions on our daily life. More testing will allow us to track and contain cases and this will be made available very soon. We will post instructions regarding access to testing in the coming days. Many people have been asking about the use of masks. Cloth masks protect others from the wearer’s droplets. As more and more information becomes available about people without symptoms shedding the virus,…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Update - April 16th, 2020 - 1:01 PM

We continue to do extremely well in BC with very low numbers of COVID cases. This is thanks to everyone following the strategy proposed by our health experts to practice social distancing. That said, there continue to be new cases daily, including in our Health Authority. We seem to be settling into a pattern of a trickling stream of cases rather than a surge, which is good in terms of our health system’s ability to care for everyone. If this pattern continues, we may be able to start opening up some activities. While nothing will be done before our Provincial Health officials give the word, conversations are underway about how to safely re-open various community and hospital activities. Numerous businesses and individuals have been sending treats and snacks to the staff at Lady Minto. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity and caring at this time. All the banging of pots at 7:00pm, the gifts and well wishes, really lift our spirits. Thank you so much.
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Tuesday Market To Open Early For Locals and Growers

The Salt Spring Tuesday Market will open early this year to assist locals who want to buy food from local producers. Our first market will be on Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 from 2-6 PM Shopping procedures at the market will be modified, to comply with social distancing and public health protocols. The Market is operating with safety in mind and with the support of the BC CDC, Minister of Agriculture, The BC Association of Farmers Markets as well as the local Health Authority. SHOP, DON’T STOP! The Market encourages all shoppers to: STAY HOME if you are sick BE PATIENT. Only one customer in a booth at a time Respect social distancing by using the guidelines marked on the ground Only come as a single shopper from your household This is not a social gathering, please do not linger or use the playground Practice excellent hygiene Do not touch anything before talking with the vendor PRE-ARRANGE/PRE-PAY ORDERS if you can Please remember that condit…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - April 13th, 2020 - 1:15 PM

There is not much new to report today, which is wonderful. This is a case where boring is good. Unfortunately, all of us need to continue with what we are doing - social distancing and hand washing in particular.  As the days and weeks go by, new technologies are starting to emerge for diagnosing the virus, new treatments are being trialled, and vaccines tested. Canada is sourcing, purchasing, and ensuring arrival of personal protective gear for those who need it. All of this means fewer deaths. While we appreciate all the thanks being sent our way, we also want to thank everyone in the community who is doing their part. Businesses have stepped up to ensure their customers can be safe, and workers put themselves on the front line to make sure we all have access to groceries and other essentials. Please continue to enjoy the beautiful weather responsibly.
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Foundation Announces Further Emergency Grants

The Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund has reached $140,000 and is well on the way to the target of $200,000. In addition to the Foundation, major donors include Country Grocer and the Upper Ganges Liquor Store, the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, Island Savings and the CRD. Donations to the Fund from the wider community have reached $55,000. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson is grateful for the overwhelming support, “Our community is showing generosity and solidarity in so many ways during this crisis, and we thank all who have given our local charities a helping hand through the Foundation’s Emergency Fund.” To date, the Foundation has distributed $60,732 from the fund to Salt Spring charities. In addition to grants already announced, the following organizations have received funds: IWAV: $10,000 to support various operations and programming threatened by the closure of the Transitions store due to the COVID-19 em…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Break the Curve Not the Rules! - Current Update - April 9th, 2020 - 1:12 PM

As we go into what looks like a gorgeous long weekend, the medical staff have a few concerns. Please celebrate virtually. It is imperative that we all continue to practice social distancing over the long weekend and not be lulled into a false sense of security. We would like to thank the Farmer's Market Society for making the difficult decision to postpone opening of the market until after the long weekend, so as not to send a contradictory message. The Farmer’s Market will open, as it is an essential service, but at a more suitable time. We are aware that BC Parks have closed. If you have private outdoor space, please stay there. If you need to go outside and have no yard, there are more than 20 other public spaces to visit on Salt Spring, listed here A reminder that the Provincial Medical Health Officer will not be naming individual  communities with positive tests for Covid-19. There is a risk of providing a false sense of security if a community is not named a…
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COVID-19: Launch of Essential Services Farmers Market - Postponed to Tuesday, April 21

The Salt Spring Community Market Society is postponing the launch of the ‘Essential Services Farmers Market’ to Tuesday, April 21 after consultations with various stakeholders including the local CRD Emergency Program. The special purpose market was slated to open Saturday, April 11 at Centennial Park and had received authorization from the Capital Regional District which owns the land.  While the authorizations are still in place, it was felt that Tuesdays would be a better vehicle for the new market format given that the regular Tuesday market is limited to food products. The Essential Services Farmers Market will provide direct access to food grown and made on Salt Spring, strengthening our food security and providing a direct link between food producers and Salt Spring residents. The market will have strict physical distancing and hygiene measures in place to meet the Provincial Health Officer’s requirements. The Province has designated farmers’ markets as an essen…
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COVID-19: If You Need Emergency Care, Island Health is Here for You

Island Health wishes to remind everyone on Vancouver Island that if you are experiencing a medical emergency, we are ready to provide the care you need. As you are likely aware, Island Health, like all health authorities in B.C., has taken significant steps to reduce occupancy in our hospitals to ensure we are best positioned to respond to COVID-19. The Provincial Health Officer has been clear that the majority of people experiencing COVID-19 or similar symptoms can manage them comfortably at home. We are incredibly thankful to the people of Vancouver Island who have heeded our call to avoid unnecessary trips to our emergency departments. With that said, it is important that people who do require immediate care continue to seek it out. If you are experiencing symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath or serious abdominal pain, we want you to reach out for help. Call 811 for advice, call 911 or come to an emergency department if you believe you have an emergency iss…
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COVID-19: Responsible Park Use Needed for CRD Parks to Remain Open

To support community health and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Capital Regional District (CRD) is calling for visitors to CRD regional and electoral area parks to make the decision to choose a park close to their home and demonstrate responsible use in order for parks to remain open. Park status is being assessed daily. Visitors must adhere to the orders and recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) to stay local and ensure social distancing. Should these orders or recommendations not be maintained by park visitors, there could be restricted access or use.

The PHO recommendations and orders include keeping at least two metres of distance between yourself and others and not gathering in groups. Staff have observed that the vast majority of parks visitors are adhering to social distancing protocol. However, there are some areas where social distancing isn’t being practiced. In particular, cyclists an…

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COVID-19: BC Ferries Adjusts Southern Gulf Islands Routes Effective April 10th, 2020

BC Ferries is adjusting the schedule on the Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Southern Gulf Islands and Victoria (Swartz Bay) – Southern Gulf Islands routes effective April 10.

The simplified schedule supports the movement of essential goods to the islands and provides options for inter-island travel. We are currently working on updating the online schedules and they will be available shortly. In the meantime, the new schedule is available here.

In addition, service between Long Harbour on Salt Spring Island and Tsawwassen will be suspended during which time the Island will continue to be served by its other two routes, Swartz Bay – Fulford Harbour and Crofton – Vesuvius. ThruFare service will be available to customers needing an essential travel option to or from the Mainland.

These changes are in effect for 60 days and will be re-evaluated on a month…

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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Launches “Stay Home Stay Safe” Campaign

Visitors asked to avoid visiting over the long weekend - “If you love Salt Spring, please refrain from visiting our island now.”  With a sunny long holiday weekend looming, that’s the message from Salt Spring Island’s businesses, farms and essential services. The COVID-19 crisis means that Salt Spring essential services providers are concerned about the potential of a disruption in supply of essentials to our community with all goods arriving by limited ferry service to grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential service providers. The vast majority of the island’s other businesses are closed, and floatplanes have also temporarily cancelled regularly scheduled flights. BC Ferries has begun screening passengers for COVID-19 – refusing to all allow anyone who fails the screening process from boarding. Ferry service to Salt Spring has also been reduced, and the public has been requested to limit their ferry use to essential travel only. Provincial parks and other island …
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COVID-19: All BC Parks and BC Parks on Salt Spring Island Closing

BC Parks is immediately closing all provincial parks in response to the widespread call for increased action to address COVID-19. This includes Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park, Ruckle Provincial Park, Mount Maxwell Provincial Park and Mount Erskine Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island. The closure responds to both the federal and provincial directives that people should stay close to home to reduce COVID-19 transmission risk. This temporary measure means people should not be going to provincial parks until further notice. “Because physical distancing works, it is critical that we take every action needed to restrict the spread of COVID-19. This applies to British Columbians and out-of-province visitors who were planning to visit or stay at our provincial parks. The message is clear: stay home, avoid travel, do not put yourself or others at risk,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “I understand and share the love people in British Co…
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COVID-19: Send a Personal Message of Thanks to the Staff at Lady Minto Hospital

Your Words of Support Will Mean So Much - While the rest of us shelter at home, brave women and men put themselves in harm’s way everyday to help us when we need it most. These are the first responders, the doctors, nurses, lab and x-ray technicians, the social workers, home care workers, housekeeping, laundry and dietary staff, the facilities management team, and all the support people behind the scenes at Lady Minto Hospital. Knowing our community hospital is there for us makes a big difference in these uncertain times. Know that you can return the favour by showing your support for these dedicated front-line workers. Your appreciation will lighten their burden. Please share your messages of encouragement and thanks at
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