CEO & Chief MHO Joint Update: June 25, 2020


Today we held our regularly scheduled meetings with federal, provincial, regional, First Nations and municipal leaders to provide them with an update on our response to COVID-19. These meetings are an opportunity for us to learn where there may be gaps of information, pockets of excellence and provide transparency in our approach and support for communities. Today’s meetings were also an opportunity to emphasize that we know racism has no place in health care. We are absolutely committed to our cultural safety and humility journey, and as such we will not wait for the outcome of the investigation before we take meaningful action led by Indigenous voices.

We shared information about our region’s additional COVID-19 case announced earlier this week. While we have completed contact tracing on this community-acquired case – exactly how the individual was infected remains a mystery. This is an important reminder that the virus still exists in the community and we need to remain vigilant and follow all recommended actions to prevent transmission – including physical distancing, frequent hand hygiene, and above all – staying home when sick.

As a health organization, we also shared our readiness as we open our facilities and services. We outlined what we are doing in the coming weeks and months to ready our system for wave two. Our teams have been doing a tremendous amount of work. Community leaders shared their ongoing appreciation for the work that each of you are doing to respond and keep people safe.

We were also pleased to highlight the important community-led efforts of ‘Namgis First Nation and the Village of Alert Bay, and their participation in a study to learn more about the COVID-19 virus. Anyone over the age of 12 living on Cormorant Island can be tested for COVID-19 antibodies as part of one of the first population-level antibody tests in the province. We are pleased to support this testing between June 24 and 27. The results will provide invaluable information about how the virus affected the community, and it will provide insight into this novel virus. We are thankful to both Chief Svanvik and Mayor Buchanan for leading this work. 


Provincial update for June 24-25 (48 hour period):

  • 33 people with newly-confirmed COVID-19 and one epi linked case (14 Thursday and 20 Friday) for a total of 2,869 people
  • Two new deaths were announced today from long-term care homes in the Lower Mainland for a total of 173 COVID-19 related deaths in B.C.
  • 15 people in hospital, with 7 in critical or intensive care
  • 179 people with active COVID-19 in B.C.
  • 2,517 people have recovered and are no longer at risk of transmitting the virus

Island Health Update:

  • No change: Total 131 cases (One active), 5 deaths

More information:

Please note: joint statements and transcripts of media availabilities with Dr. Henry and Minister Dix are posted as soon as they are available on our COVID-19 Intranet site in the What’s New section.


Yesterday, Premier Horgan and Dr. Henry announced the next steps in B.C.’s Restart Plan, noting although risk still exists, there is also confidence that we can slowly move forward to Phase Three using all the tools we have learned to this point.  For more information, please refer to the B.C. Restart Plan or review the statement released by Premier Horgan and Dr. Henry.

From a social and economic perspective, this is an important step. It is also critical that we look at the unintended consequences of COVID-19 on people’s health and wellness related to the social determinants of health. We also know there are some communities that are taking a slower approach to reopening and are not ready for visitors, including some First Nations communities within Island Health. If you are planning holidays in B.C this summer, please do your research, check with communities in advance and continue to “be calm, be kind and be safe.” This summer will be different, but it is a time to appreciate how much we have sacrificed and enjoy everything we have to offer here in B.C. and our region.


The past few months have been difficult. We have learned a lot in that time and so have our communities. In our meetings today, elected officials expressed an overwhelming appreciation for each and every person who delivers or supports the delivery of care in their communities.

Many of them have also been sharing letters of appreciation to sites across Island Health, including both our long-term care facilities and acute sites. We share in this appreciation and want to you to know the work you do does not go unnoticed! Thank you today and every day.

~ Kathy and Richard

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