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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ASK Salt Spring: Vaccine rollout, housing challenges, climate change, childcare and more

Twenty-three gathered via Zoom to welcome all of our elected officials: MP Elizabeth May, MLA Adam Olsen, CRD’s Gary Holman, and Islands Trust Local Trustees Laura Patrick and Peter Grove. After Laura’s heartfelt Territorial Acknowledgment, we began by asking each of our guests what was on their minds and the issues that they hoped would be explored in our two hours together. (Elizabeth had to leave us at about noon.) Elizabeth began by expressing her frustration at not being able to get to Ottawa sooner due to COVID but also her anticipation of soon reading the federal budget. She shared her joy at getting her vaccination soon. She has high hopes for President Joe Biden’s upcoming Earth Day Summit. Her optimism is tempered slightly by the disappointment that this year’s expected allocations for the climate emergency are expected to be less than fossil fuel subsidies. Elizabeth also expressed her delight at seeing so many of her friends virtually at ASK Salt Spring. Ad…
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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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Local Group Seeking Help Mapping Spread of the Invasive, Noxious 'Gorse' Weed

The Native Plant Stewardship Group on Salt Spring Island has launched a new initiative to map the spread of the invasive, highly-flammable plant called Gorse. Gorse is a designated noxious weed that has been spreading on Salt Spring Island for many years. Its high oil content and unusually large amount of dead plant matter make it a serious fire hazard, and the dense growth prevents native plants from flourishing. Mapping the spread of gorse will be a valuable tool in seeking help from both islanders and government in future, and understanding its extent will help prioritize local efforts to deal quickly with small patches before it spreads further. The group is asking for photographs of areas where Grose has been spreading on Salt Spring Island by submitting those photographs to iNaturalist. Participants will also be able to see what has been mapped so far, and they are hoping that with many users they will be able to cover areas not publicly visible, in private propert…
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Update on Primary Health Care on Salt Spring Island

The Salt Spring Island Chapter of the Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice, on behalf of your local family doctors, would like to provide an update on our primary care provider shortage and how we are working to resolve it. We recognize the importance of Salt Springers having access to longitudinal primary care and realize that Dr. David Beaver’s recent retirement left more residents without a family physician. Unfortunately, this means that many of you are accessing your primary care needs through the emergency at Lady Minto Hospital, travelling to walk-in clinics off island or increasingly through virtual primary care clinics. We are working with our health authority, community and Ministry partners to find ways to attract and keep family doctors on the Island. Island Health and Health Match BC have been actively recruiting physicians and a nurse practitioner for the Island. Recently, the Salt Spring Island Chapter formed a Recruitment and Retention Working Group t…
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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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Watch: New Film About Creating a Resilient Salt Spring Released Online

Salt Spring Solutions is a group of volunteers who care about protecting our incredible natural environment while ensuring we maintain a vibrant, diverse, and fair community for all. Like many, we care deeply about ensuring our island is resilient in the face of the many big challenges facing us in the 21st century. Yet in order to get there, we need to first talk about the sometimes big gap between what we think we are as a community - green, progressive, fair, and low-impact - and what the reality is. We made this short film, ‘Making A Stand in the Salish Sea’, to highlight some amazing local leaders and thinkers working on solutions, explore what’s standing in their way, and spur discussion and action. We want to invite us all to imagine new ways of thinking about how Salt Spring can be a beacon of hope and action, and ignite a collective fire to work together to create the solutions our community needs to become more equal, more just, and truly sustainable. We n…
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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: 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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Letter to Ministers Outlines Concerns Regarding Un-Regulated Tree and Clear-Cut Logging on Salt Spring Island

We bring to your attention a serious issue regarding the lack of clear authority for our local Islands Trust Committee to protect forests and watersheds within its jurisdiction. Changes to provincial legislation are needed to address and solve this problem, and we call on you to take action to achieve this without delay. Almost two years ago we wrote to the former Cabinet Ministers, outlining a number of our concerns regarding clearcutting and logging practises on Salt Spring, including the negative impacts on watersheds, natural ecosystems, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, slope stability, neighbouring property values, community values and tourism. We pointed out that recent and current clear-cutting we see here contravenes the legislated mission of the Islands Trust to “preserve and protect the Trust area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the Trust area and of B.C generally.....” We explained that our elected representat…
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Contingent of Salt Springers Rally for 'World Wide Freedom Day'

Despite appeals from the broader community, and our local Salt Spring RCMP detachment, a group of 30-40 Salt Springers gathered in Centennial Park today for 'World Wide Rally for Freedom' day. The demonstration occured on the same day as in other communities with organizers calling for the immediate end to any, and all, COVID-19 related restrictions. Participants also promoted an end to masks, physical distancing and government vaccine programs. Global organizers of the gatherings are known to be closely affiliated with the QAnon conspiracy movement whose members are also calling for an immediate re-opening of all businesses, schools, cafes and restaurants. The local gathering here on Salt Spring featured numerous community members who have been outspoken critics of masks, vaccines and personal freedom restrictions in local, online discussion boards. They oppose the restrictions that have been asked of all residents of Salt Spring Island and B.C., as well as most other pa…
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Front-Line Workers Prioritized As COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Accelerates

More than 300,000 front-line workers, including first responders, grocery store employees, and teachers and child care workers, will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations over the coming weeks as the Province’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan moves forward ahead of schedule. “We know how challenging this pandemic has been on our front-line workers,” said Premier John Horgan. “Many of these people have come to work throughout this pandemic, continuing to teach and care for our children, stock the shelves of our local grocery store and keep our communities safe. By immunizing these front-line workers, we are making workplaces and communities throughout our province safer.” Beginning in April, people in priority groups identified by public health and the COVID-19 Workplace Task Group will start to receive their first dose of the AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD (AZ/SII) vaccine. These groups include: first responders (police, firefighters, emergency transport); K-12 educational…
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COVID-19: Up To 10 People May Now Gather Outdoors - All Restrictions for Indoor Gatherings Remain

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the COVID-19 response in British Columbia: Today, we are reporting 569 new cases, including three epi-linked cases, for a total of 86,219 cases in British Columbia. There are 4,912 active cases of COVID-19 in the province with 8,989 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 79,829 people who tested positive have recovered. Of the active cases, 244 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 68 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation. Today’s modelling shows us how the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed in the province over the past year. What we have seen very clearly is no one is immune to the virus or the impacts that come with it. The pandemic is still very much with us. …
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Vaccine Clinic Location Name Clarified

Island Health is excited to share information about the 19 community clinics where more than 40,000 eligible residents will receive their first COVID-19 immunization over the next month. When planning community clinic locations, Island Health focused on key principles including: Ease of access - in more urban areas we strived to establish a travel time of approximately no more than 15 minutes; Accessible by individuals with mobility challenges, including but not limited to wheelchair and walker access; On or close to major transportation routes and bus routes; The availability of functional clinic space and space to support appropriate physical distancing. Island Health is also working closely with Indigenous partners to help support a culturally safe experience for Indigenous people in all clinics. Immunizations will also be offered at Friendship Centres, including in Port Hardy, Victoria and Port Alberni. Administrators with Salt Spring Island Health Ce…
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Watch: 2021 International Women's Day — "Choose to Challenge"

Enjoy a unique and celebratory collaboration between local musicians, activists, poets, performing artists, and youth as they explore this year's evocative theme for International Women's Day (IWD) — "Choose to Challenge". Filmed here on Salt Spring Island by a talented team at Mahon Hall, the production features Kisae Petersen & Janine Fernandes-Hayden, Doriana Chessa & Azlan Coffey, Tiff/Fanny Wightman, Naomi Jason, Molly Murphy, Yael Wand, Shamana Ali, Marta McKeever, Nayana Fielkov and Barbara Marie Slater. Please note that this film contains passionate self expression. Be advised there is some strong language and sparse profanity. https://youtu.be/eNaItS-8k0c Thank you to Country Grocer, John LeFebvre and Hilary Watson for their generous support of this project. Produced by IWAV, The Circle and Graffiti Theatre with support from the Province Of British Columbia. The production crew who made the film possible were Director: Rebecca Nygard; Filming: Darcy Beck…
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Watch: 'Abandoned Dreams' Documentary Features Local Work of the Dead Boat Disposal Society

Derelict and abandoned boats are one of the most frustrating and alarming issues faced by British Columbia’s coastal communities today. Reaching the end of their usable life cycle, with current disposal options being prohibitively expensive and no way to track ownership, old sail and powerboats are being left to rot on their moorings in public anchorages and bays in staggering numbers. Not only do these vessels clog up BC’s most prized destinations and waterways but they often end up drifting onto beaches and into public property—costing taxpayers and communities millions of dollars in damage and environmental clean-up each year. The Documentary After covering this issue in Pacific Yachting, we continued to monitor the problem and heard from many people in the boating community that this was a growing concern. In the fall of 2019, we were presented with an opportunity from Sportsman Channel Canada to share the story as a documentary. Abandoned Dreams looks into th…
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