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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Watch: Bicycle Life - How The Electric Bicycle Is Transforming Island Lives

What if we chose the electric bicycle as our primary way of getting around? Instantly lowering our costs of living, reducing our carbon, increasing our health, supporting the autonomy of young and old, reviving a vibrant local economy, on streets designed for everyone? Swapping our car for the ebike took some courage, but with safe, connected trails like the Salish Sea trail network, it would be an easy choice for many. This little film imagines the possibilities. https://youtu.be/_GGx9cnP624
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Salt Spring Island Conservancy Celebrates 25 Years of Conservation and Education

In 1994, a group of seven women* came together to form the Salt Spring Island Conservancy in order to realize their vision to conserve and care for the unique ecosystems and species-at-risk of this beautiful Salish Sea island. A year later, the conservancy received charitable status and the ability to hold conservation covenants. No time was wasted in taking full advantage of the community momentum to protect significant areas. Early wins included working with the Capital Regional District and the provincial government to purchase lands for Mill Farm Regional Park and helping in the campaign to purchase lands from the Texada Land Corporation in order to halt logging and create Burgoyne Provincial Park (late 1990s). The first conservation covenant (33.6 acres) held by the Conservancy was signed in 1998. In 2001, the Conservancy acquired a major conservation covenant of 263 acres for the Maxwell Lake watershed. Over the next couple of decades, the Conservancy acquired land f…
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Salt Spring Island Natural Cemetery Opens on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island is known in many parts of the world as a unique and progressive community. Its reputation for local farming, food, arts, music, culture, politics, EV transportation, and environmentalism belies its small size. And now once again, Salt Spring Island is at the fore of a growing movement. This time in the world of green, natural burials. (Watch the video tour and see the photo tour below.) Over the last 50 years there has been an incredible transformation in burial practices in North America. Burial and cemetery services, which were at one time a more modest affair and often carried out by locally owned services providers, has been transformed under capital market consolidation. While Indigenous cultures the world over have always practiced 'natural' burial, the dominant colonial culture of the West saw local funeral and burial business services transformed into highly specialized, profit driven industries controlled by a small handful of publicly traded c…
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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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100 Men Share Fundraising Proceeds with Laundromat and Search and Rescue

100 Men Who Care Salt Spring Island conducted its first e-gathering between Monday October 4th and Thursday, October 8th by email and Zoom with members voting between two Salt Spring not-for-profit organizations who were nominated by members of 100 Men: Salt Spring Island Laundromat and Soap Exchange Under the auspices of Wagon Wheel, a group has been working long and hard to bring a Laundromat back to Saltspring -an community health necessity that has been missing for over 5 years. This is a non-profit social enterprise which now has a storefront location downtown, and new washers and dryers on-island ready to install. To date the Salt Spring community has been very generous in a lengthy funding campaign. But $50,000 is required to cover the store renovation, machine installation and start up costs. The renovations have begun. The goal is to open before the new year. Once in operation, the store will offer both domestic and commercial laundry services, organic soap a…
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New Deer Disease Suspected in Gulf Islands

Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease (AHD) is suspected as the cause of death of over 60 deer on at least two Gulf Islands. However, further testing is needed to confirm a definitive diagnosis. While there is no known human health risk from the virus, and there is no evidence that it can be transmitted to humans, hunters in the area are being advised not to consume meat from animals found dead, obviously ill or acting abnormally prior to death. As well, research indicates that it is not transmissible to livestock and pets. A network of wildlife professionals has assisted provincial wildlife health staff to investigate the possible emergence of AHD since deer were discovered dead on Galiano Island in September. Samples from these animals were sent to Canadian and United States laboratories to confirm the cause of the disease. Since its initial discovery in California, AHD cases are recorded in the western United States annually with outbreaks in some locations. With improved …
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Local Advocates Rally for Safe Cycling and Salish Sea Trail Completion

Over 70 local bike riders and cycling advocates gathered today for a social bike ride from Portlock Park to the United Church Meadow in Ganges in a show of support for safe cycling and to challenge local governments to support investments in local cycling infrastructure. Organized by Salt Spring Solutions as part of the GoByBike Week events being hosted around the province, the gathering was also an opportunity to rally support for investments in the completion of the Salish Sea Trail across Salt Spring Island. Local advocates are working to motivate Salt Spring's unusual, and for the purposes of these kinds of initiatives, not particular well structured government organizations, to take charge of implementing the long-held vision of improving Fulford-Ganges Road from the Fulford Ferry through to the Vesuvius Ferry to not only improve conditions for drivers, but to extend the width of the road shoulders to offer safe spaces for bikes to transit onto and across the island as …
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Wild Salmon Allies Gather for Removing Net Pen Fish Farms Campaign

This past Saturday in Ganges on Salt Spring Island, 28 wild salmon allies came to rally in support of removing net pen fish farms from this beautiful land that we call home. People gathered to support the Cohen Commissions Recommendations and all 101 nations in B.C that demand the removal of the 18 fish farms in the Discovery Islands. In the 2015 election Justin Trudeau promised his Liberal Government would act on all recommendations of the Cohen Commission. We need to hold this government accountable. We will continue putting pressure on the Government/DFO to remove these fish farms in BC. Open Net Pen Salmon Farming is putting our wild salmon populations at risk as they travel on their migratory path through constricted waterways filled with unnatural amounts of sea lice, viruses and diseases that are spreading from the farms to the wild Fish. The salmon and all of their dependants need our voice to save the lifeblood of this amazing coast from being extinguished. He…
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ASK Salt Spring Explores Mental Health

Fifteen participated in this ASK Salt Spring gathering on one of those perfect last days of summer in the United Church Meadow. Although all questions were welcomed, the focus of the conversation was upon mental health in our community. We were pleased to welcome health professional and co-chair of the Salt Spring Health Advancement Network (SSHAN), David Norget; President of the Salt Spring Community Health Society, Jennifer Williams; and Willie McPherson, of the Chu’an Society. David began the conversation by speaking briefly about himself and his involvement with SSHAN, a network of health professionals and health-related non-profits working together to address health issues challenging Salt Springers. He initiated the conversation by briefly telling us about SSHAN’s mental health initiative, dedicated to collaborating and cooperating to bring seamless mental health services to our island. Jennifer told us about the mental health initiative of the Salt Spring Communi…
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Over $5500 Raised for Indigenous Legal Defence Funds During Unique Floating Concert

Local organizers with RAVEN Trust, an organization that leads Indigenous legal defence campaigns, raised over $5500 during Salt Spring Island's very first COVID-19 appropriate floating concert. The idea was dreamt up by local organizer extraordinaire, Andrea Palframan, who is the Director of Engagement and Communication with the Victoria based non-profit. The 'Throw a Boat Down - Concert Afloat with Luke Wallace' invited community members to participate in a truly unique Salt Spring Island fundraising experience that would also ensure physical distancing protocols could be observed. Over 40 different watercraft, canoes, paddle boards, kayaks, and small boats, with more than 80 people in them, floated together while listening to activist/musician Luke Wallace sing in support of RAVEN Trust's work. Another 50+ people also watched from along the shore. Luke Wallace played a number of his songs that included appeals for respect and preservation of the natural world and Indige…
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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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Local Organization SWOVA Becomes The Circle

This summer, SWOVA—Saltspring Women Opposed to Violence and Abuse—is announcing its new name. SWOVA Community Development and Research Society has become The Circle Salt Spring Education Society, a name that reflects its long-time work in schools with children and youth. The idea for the change was brought to the organization several years ago. SWOVA’s program facilitators suggested that SWOVA change its name to embrace a more inclusive perspective that empowers everyone with the attitudes and skills for healthy and respectful relationships. The process began with a discussion about how to prepare SWOVA for the next decades of its service to the Salt Spring community and beyond. After researching, brainstorming, and consulting, the organization’s staff and board decided on a name that’s easy to remember and say—a name that reflects SWOVA’s values, such as respect and diversity. Its new name—The Circle—reflects a key feature of the organization’s long-time work. When pr…
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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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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Hockey Stick Apart

As new daily cases continue to increase, we are seeing the result of expanded social interactions of the last few weeks. In order to be able to enjoy the remainder of the summer and avoid going back to Phase 1 type restrictions, we need to keep practicing social distancing. Please continue to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to protect the vulnerable members of our community.
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COVID-19: Research Team Using Island Health Data To Find Hidden Cases

A Victoria research team is using math and statistics to help anticipate future COVID-19 waves so that public health strategies can target ways to manage possible future outbreaks. This work is possible thanks to a $149,300 award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) COVID-19 Research Response Fund and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s (VHF) generous donors. “By estimating the number of undetected cases, we will gain a better understanding of the spread of the current wave and the underlying spread of a future wave,” explains Dr. Laura Cowen, principal investigator and Associate Professor in the University of Victoria’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “Our mathematical model will allow the detection of early signals that a future wave has begun, and identify infections among high risk groups such as the elderly, school children, and long-term care clients.” Using Island Health data, Cowen (also the Associate Dean, Research in the Fac…
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Under Pressure - Lady Minto Site Director Recalls Learning to Deal with COVID-19

Researchers at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control estimate that less than one percent of this province’s population was infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic’s first wave. That’s good news and bad news. The bad news, of course, is that the vast majority of us are still susceptible to the virus and must remain vigilant. The good news, however, is that the steps BC took to combat the pandemic worked to keep exposure and transmission rates low. Salt Springers are familiar with the very public role Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has played in teaching British Columbians about combatting the COVID crisis. However, few have been privy to what it was like inside the hospital, learning to deal with COVID. Lady Minto Hospital Site Director Sara Gogo says it was a rollercoaster. “With the information changing so quickly, we’d tell the staff one thing and then, sometimes that would change minutes later. We were really excited about some of the changes…
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Maliview (Salt Spring Island) Wastewater Discharge Notice

A failure of the outfall pipe from the Maliview Wastewater Treatment Plant has occurred resulting in treated effluent being discharged onto the beach intertidal zone. The area impacted is in the vicinity of the Maliview Wastewater Treatment Plant outfall pipe at the intersection of Maliview Drive and Walkers Hook Road on the northeast part of Salt Spring Island. As a result of this discharge, residents are advised to avoid entering the waters along the affected shorelines as the wastewater may pose a health risk. As a precaution and in consultation with Island Health, the beach within the affected area will be posted with public health advisory signs until repairs are completed and marine water sample results indicate enterococci levels are below the 70CFU/100mL recreational limit.
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