CEO & Chief MHO Joint Update: May 26, 2020


Today we held our weekly staff and medical staff Town Hall where we had the opportunity to answer many of your questions. Thank you for taking the time to share what is on your mind. Understanding your questions helps us to make better informed decisions, and influence government policy as we move through this pandemic. A summary of the Town Hall with audio files will be posted tomorrow on our COVID-19 page, and Q&As from today’s town hall will be posted by the end of the week.

As we move forward into our ‘new normal’ and plan for an anticipated second wave, we need to continue to manage our pandemic planning and response to ensure our combined work and learnings remain at the forefront.

As part of a provincial directive for all health authorities, Island Health is implementing a temporary Vice President of Pandemic Planning to oversee our ongoing response, and to work with a provincial team under the leadership of the Deputy Minister of Health and Provincial Health Officer. We are happy to announce that Victoria Schmid has agreed to step into this leadership role, starting immediately. Victoria will begin by developing a team of key leads across Island Health to ensure we are prepared and ready to mobilize should the anticipated second wave of COVID-19 arrive this fall. You can learn more about Victoria’s appointment here.


Island Health is committed to providing safe and healthy workplaces. Work is underway across the health authority to ramp up our service delivery to pre-pandemic levels, which means more staff and medical staff, and more patients in our facilities. We are doing it in a careful and methodical way to ensure our recovery provides an environment that is safe for those we serve and members of our Island Health family.

Island Health’s Pandemic Recovery Plan will help identify and quantify the risks associated with increasing service delivery and help determine strategies to address or mitigate those concerns.

Frontline leaders in every department are working to build plans. They are bringing together teams to identify concerns and determine mitigation strategies. You can learn about the steps being taken by reviewing COVID-19 Recovery Planning for Safety, (Island Health Log-in Required) a new resource page in the Safety Hub. This includes documenting identified risks and mitigation strategies, and completing checklists to create an Exposure Control Plan for work areas.

If you have been working remotely, watch for information later this week on an important survey about your experience changing from an office to a virtual work environment.


Today, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix shared the positive news that there were no new deaths in B.C. from COVID-19 for the first time in many weeks. The total number of deaths from COVID-19 in B.C. remains at 161. There were 11 new cases confirmed across B.C. in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 2,541. Of those 2,122 have fully recovered and are no longer at risk of transmitting the virus. Our province has 37 people in hospital, with seven in intensive or critical care.

At Island Health, one patient remains in hospital and no new additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in over two weeks. Four incubation periods on the South Island and two incubation periods north of the Malahat have gone by since a new case was identified. Of the 127 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 121 people have recovered and no longer have to practice self-isolation measures and are no longer at risk of transmitting the virus. This continues to be positive news, and it is important to remind ourselves that if we do not maintain our responsibility and vigilance this news can change.

You can read the joint news release here and read the transcript here.

Reminder: This is the last week to complete the COVID-19 survey: Your story, our future. The survey is open until May 31 and will provide important data for public health as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


As we wrap up today, we want to share a message from a former Island Health leader, Leslie Moss.

“I wish to thank all the non clinical staff for their hard work in keeping the infrastructure behind the front line staff operating during these difficult times. I have always thought the front line clinical staff are heroes every day and applaud their dedication. I also know that without the leadership and dedication of those ‘behind’ the caregivers it wouldn’t be possible for the healthcare system to continue. I would like to commend those ‘heroes’ who receive little public support. There is a long list of staff that deserve recognition so I will not mention the departments individually; however I would like them to know they are not forgotten as they provide essential services to our frontline staff.”

We echo Leslie’s message. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without every member of the Island Health family – those who serve patients directly and those who support care delivery in so many ways. It truly takes a village to support our work with an open heart and open mind.

With our deepest appreciation,

~ Kathy and Richard

Stay informed:

  • Visit Island Health's ‘source of truth,’ COVID-19 webpage on the Intranet.
  • The Medical Staff website has specific information for medical staff.
  • Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC have resources here.
  • We are also posting information for the public at and through our social media channels. We encourage you to follow/retweet/share BCCDC’s and Island Health’s posts.