COVID-19: Foundation Emergency Fund Aims for $200,000 for Community Charities

The Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund has distributed $26,633 to local charities since the fund was launched with $20,000 from the Foundation on March 26. The fund has reached $130,114 with a target of $200,000. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “We have received many applications for COVID-19 relief from our local charities and are working to distribute the funds as quickly as possible. We know community charitable initiatives in response to the emergency will really make use of the new targeted amount." Grants from the fund will focus on community health-care preparedness, relief or assistance for vulnerable people in our community, such as seniors, and other pressing community needs as they emerge. Major donors include Country Grocer and the Upper Ganges Liquor Store, the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, Island Savings and the CRD. Over $45,000 has been received in donations from the wider community. The foll…
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COVID-19: Essential Services Farmers Market to Operate in Centennial Park

The Salt Spring Community Market Society operates the Tuesday Farmers Market in Centennial Park through a permit issued by the Capital Regional District (CRD). Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on markets on Salt Spring. To help limit the spread of the virus, the Province has restricted the size of gatherings and has required some types of businesses to close or significantly alter their operations. The Province has designated farmers’ markets as an essential service, but has limited them to food and beverage sales, with specific restrictions. They are a place to access food, not for groups to gather. The Society and the CRD want to provide residents of Salt Spring safe access to local food until regular markets can start again. Beginning Saturday April 11, the Society will operate an Essential Services Farmers Market in Centennial Park on Saturdays from 10-2 until the regular Saturday Market is able to resume. This market will provide direct acces…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Ferry Schedule Adjustment Coming Soon - April 3rd, 2020 - 7:06 PM

BC Ferries is adjusting the schedule on the Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Southern Gulf Islands and Victoria (Swartz Bay) – Southern Gulf Islands routes soon. Traffic across all of our routes is down approximately 80% because of COVID-19, and BC Ferries is adjusting service levels across multiple routes. The Coastal Ferry Services Contract with the Province of British Columbia has been amended to permit these service reductions. The Tsawwassen to Southern Gulf Island services will be combined with the Swartz Bay to Southern Gulf Islands services to one ship service using a Salish class vessel based out of Swartz Bay transiting to Tsawwassen, and a second ship serving the Southern Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay. Service to Long Harbour will be suspended and Salt Spring Island will be served by its two other routes, Swartz Bay – Fulford Harbour and Crofton – Vesuvius. Details are currently being finalized and will be announced soon. The adjustments in service levels across…
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COVID-19: Local Groups Organize to Manufacture Re-usable Face Shields and Isolation Gowns - April 3rd, 2020 - 5:17 PM

The Salt Spring Community Health Society (SSCHS) and the Salt Spring Chapter – Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice (SSC-RRDFP) are pleased to announce joint funding by the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation and Salt Spring Island Foundation to manufacture and distribute re-usable face shields and isolation gowns as well as alcohol sanitizer to on-island physicians and health care workers, first responders, and other highly exposed community workers. “This is an exciting example of how four local organizations can partner to work in the best interests of the community, and is the culmination of many, many hours spent by highly-skilled and creative professionals and volunteers to leverage the considerable open-source and maker movement,” said Jennifer Williams, President, SSCHS. This equipment will protect physicians in their community practices, their staff, as well as first responders and community workers who serve vulnerable populations, among others. This, in turn…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - April 2nd, 2020 - 1:15 PM

We all continue to follow the daily updates from the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry and the Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, and hope for good news. So far, physical distancing seems to be working in our Health Authority and in BC as a whole. The increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 has not been as rapid or as extensive as it might have been, and this is undoubtedly due to the extensive measures in place to stop the spread between individuals and within the community. The challenge will be to continue to physically distance, practice excellent hand hygiene, and avoid touching our faces in the days, weeks and months ahead. We need to remember that the virus does not move, but rather people move the virus. This means that staying at home in our community is very important as a way to stop transmission. If you need to travel to a different community, you should be following all of the recommended precautions strictly. Similarly, if you know of people wh…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Farm and Business Response & Recovery Task Force - April 2nd, 2020 - 12:55 PM

Task Force Forms to Provide Resilient Local Planning to COVID-19 - To further support the Salt Spring community during COVID-19 a newly formed coordination team, the Business and Farm Response & Recovery Task Force, has come together representing key farm and business stakeholders. Its goal is to ensure island-wide coordination and address the significant current and anticipated impacts to Salt Spring Island as a result of COVID-19. Island residents require coordinated economic and community services support to respond to the unique local economic consequences of this crisis. Laura Patrick, Task Force Chair, and SSI Trustee, says the farm and business response action plan is underway, “Planning for recovery now, by collaborating, coordinating and instituting protective measures, will ensure that we are able to sustain and support our community through this crisis.” Anne Macey, co-facilitating work on the Agriculture Response Plan as part of this overall initiative, adds,“ Th…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Foundation Emergency Fund Helping Island Charities - April 1st, 2020 - 5:04 PM

In just six days, the Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund has reached $114,803. Funds are currently being directed toward local charities with urgent needs. As a consequence of the strong community response, the Foundation has increased the fund’s goal to $200,000. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “The needs are large and complex, but we can meet the challenges ahead. We feel confident we can achieve this target.” The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, which has supported agriculture and food security on Salt Spring for many years, has donated $10,000 to the fund. Island Savings Credit Union has contributed $2,500, in addition to supporting food banks through its own signature program, The Full Cupboard. Lawson says, “We so much appreciate their compassion and support. We have surpassed the target of $100,000 in only a few short days since launching the fund and are grateful for the generosity of the entire comm…
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COVID-19: Low-Interest Loans for Salt Spring Farmers and Food Processors - March 31st, 2020 - 10:43 AM

Do you need help with cash flow over the next few months? Transition Salt Spring Enterprise Co-op (TSSEC) recognizes that the pandemic may create cash flow difficulties and we are therefore offering low interest micro-loans with flexible repayments at this time to help Salt Spring’s small farmers and processors. Locals supporting locals through uncertain times. TSSEC has loaned over $120,000 for green projects on Salt Spring since 2011. Contact TSSEC at (250) 537-2616 or by email to TSSEnterpriseCoop@gmail.com
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Foundation Emergency Fund Reaches $93,000 - March 30th, 2020 - 1:49 PM

As of March 30, the Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund has grown to $93,000. Country Grocer and the Upper Ganges Liquor Store have donated $50,000, and community donations have reached $18,000. The fund was started with a Foundation contribution of $20,000 and a CRD Grant-in-Aid of $5,000. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “We are extremely grateful for the heartwarming response from these caring businesses and individuals. We are working to get funds out quickly to support the local charities that are fighting on the front lines of this crisis.” Donations may be made at ssifoundation.ca or by mail to: Salt Spring Island Foundation, Box 244, Ganges PO, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2V9. Please indicate on your cheque that the donation is to be directed to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Grants from the fund will focus on community health-care preparedness, relief or assistance for vulnerable people in our community, su…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 30th, 2020 - 1:05 PM

Fortunately, for the moment, these posts have little new information and are quite boring. This is good. This means we may be flattening the curve, but it is still too early to say. It can be hard to appreciate the severity of what is happening elsewhere in our province and country when the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Spring is so clearly making itself known. Once again though, we must implore you to carry on with all the physical distancing measures. It is our only hope for slowing the virus, saving lives, and being able to lift some of the restrictions we now face, a bit earlier. Again we offer some resources to help Salt Springers to cope during this time. With school technically back in session, here are some activities for children and youth. Museums around the world are offering free virtual online tours. The US Centers for Disease Control website now has a section devoted to maintaining mental wellness during the pandemic. Editorial Note…
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COVID-19: CRD Enhances Communication with Electoral Areas - March 30th, 2020 - 9:18 AM

As part of its response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Capital Regional District (CRD) has launched an additional way to communicate with residents in the Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island and Southern Gulf Islands electoral areas. With people directed to self-isolate and not gather in groups, the remote electoral areas pose a unique challenge to share information with residents. To help mitigate these challenges, three new email addresses have been created for residents in the CRD’s electoral areas to ask questions and communicate directly with the CRD. These inboxes are monitored Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and the CRD will respond to inquiries as quickly as possible. If questions fall outside the CRD’s area of responsibility for electoral area governance, best efforts will be made to re-direct inquiries to the appropriate resource. Juan de Fuca: jdfcovid@crd.bc.ca Salt Spring Island: ssicovid@crd.bc.ca Southern Gulf Islands: sgicovid…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Local Elected Officials Joint Message - March 29th, 2020 - 3:55 PM

We, your three locally elected officials (Gary Holman, CRD Electoral Area Director, and Peter Grove and Laura Patrick, Islands Trust Trustees) have settled into our work-from-home environments and are practicing social distancing. We are proud of how quickly our respective organizational staff have adapted, and how they are ensuring that the essential services you need are being maintained. We know that you care about your fellow islanders and that you are looking after your neighbours who may need assistance. We appreciate everyone who is following the directions of Dr. Bonny Henry and the Ministry of Health, and are staying home and practicing appropriate social distancing. We are so grateful to our local medical staff and essential service providers. Please understand they are counting on you to do your part to avoid getting infected and infecting others. It is crucial that we are 100% committed to Dr. Henry’s directives and guidance to ensure we do not overload our ver…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 28th, 2020 - 1:00 PM

Every single person on Salt Spring has the potential to save a life by practicing physical distancing. Never before have any of us been able to have such an incredible impact by such a small change in behaviour. Simply staying home and maintaining a physical distance from others is the single most effective measure to control and stop this pandemic. The provincial medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s address yesterday gave us a glimmer of hope, but as many know, statistics can be interpreted in many different ways. Now is NOT the time to relax any of the containment measures. Rather, it is crucial that we hold the course we are on, continue to practice physical distancing, stay home, and wash our hands. The coming days will reveal if we are truly ‘flattening the curve’ of new cases. Lady Minto Hospital remains open with restrictions on visitors and all the recommended infection control measures in place. We continue to be ready and able to care for you. We …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 27th, 2020 - 1:28 PM

A gentle reminder to people who have been asking whether there are cases on Salt Spring—we are committed to the confidentiality of our patients and will not disclose any more than the information you are receiving from the Medical Officer of Health. Our regulatory body, The College of Physicians and Surgeons has said: “….Dr. Henry is taking great care to ensure the privacy of individuals who are affected, which of course is of utmost importance. The College has recently learned of instances where information has been posted on social media or provided to the press about individual patient cases and test results, including the identification of certain smaller communities. This is not acceptable. Physicians must not disclose information about individual patients in any setting, including stories shared directly with other people, even if patient identities are not revealed. The risk of a privacy breach is too great”. We are also aware that there is a time lag between th…
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COVID-19: Donate to Support the Lady Minto Hospital - March 27th, 2020 - 12:15 PM

Lady Minto Hospital is here for you during the COVID-19 crisis, however the hospital and the people who take care of all of us need your help. In light of the potential COVID-19 risk we all face, Lady Minto Hospital is planning, training and working to be ready for all eventualities. More critical than ever, supply shortages need to be anticipated, identified, and taken care of as quickly as possible to ensure adequate inventory exists for the safety of hospital staff and patients. The Foundation has begun to pay for such extraordinary supplies, ensuring the need will be met. We are asking for the community's help at this critical time. Your donation will be used exclusively to help the hospital ensure that it doesn't run short of the supplies and equipment necessary to fight COVID-19. In this time of uncertainty and anxiety, we can all take comfort in knowing we have a community hospital and amazing team that is here for us. Donate online at ladymintofoundation.…
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COVID-19: Harbour Air Temporarily Suspends Flights - March 27th, 2020 - 9:02 AM

Harbour Air will temporarily suspend regularly scheduled flights beginning Sat, March 28. - As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread throughout the Province and with safety as our top value at Harbour Air, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our employees and our customers to cease all Harbour Air scheduled service flight operations. Our current plan is to start flying again May 4th, 2020. We understand the impact that this decision has on the communities we service, and because we don’t want to leave anyone stranded, as we are deemed an essential service in the province, we will continue to offer charter services which will include private flights, freight and government support services as required. For the safety of our flight crew and private flight passengers, these flights will be completed utilizing our larger DeHavilland Otter aircraft, which will allow for on board distancing. We will continue to follow the stringent cleaning and sanitation proto…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Foundation Launches Emergency Fund

The Salt Spring Island Foundation has established the COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation is making an initial contribution of $20,000 and will also be receiving a CRD Grant-in-Aid of $5,000 for the fund. In addition, Country Grocer will be partnering with the Foundation to support the fund. Grants from the fund will focus on community health-care preparedness, relief or assistance for vulnerable people in our community, such as seniors, or other pressing community needs as they emerge. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “As Salt Spring faces this unprecedented challenge, the Foundation is committed to helping the charities and not-for-profit organizations that are on the front lines of this fight to assist those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Islanders have always been incredibly caring and generous to others in times of need, and we appeal for their help now.“ The Foundation is inviting i…
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COVID-19: SD64 Letter from Superintendent Scott Benwell - March 26th, 2020 - 4:01 PM

Dear families of students in SD64: As we all know, the return to school after Spring Break this year is anything but normal. I want to reassure you that district staff have been working throughout the break, in partnership with provincial authorities, to ensure that public education continues to provide high quality learning and support services to our students, families, and communities. Like the communities we serve, the school district is resilient and ready to take on the challenges that lie before us in the coming weeks. Our responsibilities as a school district are numerous and I would like to share with you some of the things we are working on and some of the ways that we see our services continuing – services that will look and feel different for all of us. The BC Ministry of Education, with advice from the Provincial Health Officer, announced the suspension of in-class instruction to help stop the spread of Covid-19 and to ensure that our students and families…
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COVID-19: Open Burning Restrictions Issued for Salt Spring Island - March 26th, 2020 - 2:02 PM

Open Burning Restrictions Issued for Salt Spring Island and All High Smoke Sensitivity Zones in British Columbia - As cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in BC continue to increase, the BC Centre for Dis- ease Control recommends implementing measures that help to reduce excess air pollution in populated airsheds across the province. There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollu- tion increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function. This means that: Deterioration in air quality may lead to more COVID-19 infections overall Deterioration in air quality may lead to more cases of severe COVID-19 infections, adding further demand to our healthcare system, and Improvements to air quality may help to protect the whole population from COVID-19 and its potentially severe effects. Evidence suggests that air pollution from combustion sources is most strongly associated with increased risk of viral infection, particularl…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 26th, 2020 - 1:07 PM

We are in the calm before the storm and it is what we do right now that will determine the severity of the coming storm.

We want to thank all the residents and businesses of Salt Spring who are doing an incredible job of physical distancing and thus literally saving lives. So many people are helping in all sorts of different ways it would be impossible to mention them all, but thank you. Every day we delay the storm is a precious gift to everyone as more protective gear and ventilators are organized and information and treatments are developed.

Today, we’d like to provide some links to more support resources and the latest news on Covid-19 as it relates to our Salt Spring community.

Many people ask how long the virus can live on surfaces. The short answer is, it depends on the surface:

up to 3 days on smooth surfaces such as glass, plastic and metal up to 24 hours on cardboard about 4 hours on c…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 25th, 2020 - 1:03 PM

Over the last week or so, we have focused on what individuals can do to prevent transmission of COVID, how to access care, etc. Today we would like to recognize the stress and anxiety that this virus has caused in the community. Many of us have friends, family members, and neighbours who have lost their jobs. Our Island is highly reliant on tourism for income. Small business owners and their employees are worried about how to feed their families, pay rent or mortgages, and other basics. If you’re feeling anxious about the virus - about finances, the economy, or how to cope while staying at home - please take a look at some of the resources provided below. The federal and provincial governments are working to create a financial safety net for those who need it most during the pandemic. Please remember that compassion is one of our community’s greatest strengths. Help one another from afar, be kind, and we will get through this. RESOURCES: If you are experiencing any …
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