CEO & Chief MHO Joint Update: May 6, 2020


Today we begin on a sorrowful note as we share a fifth person has died within Island Health from COVID-19. The person was in their 70’s and an inpatient in one of our hospitals. To the family and friends of this individual, please know that the Island Health family grieves with you during this difficult time. To our Island Health team who provided compassionate care and supported the family and each other, you are our in our thoughts and we thank you for the care you provided.


Today, Premier John Horgan announced the B.C. Restart Plan with key principles to follow as we move into the next phase – a “new normal” of living with COVID-19. The plan follows the guidance of public health experts to keep people and the health system safe. The premier stressed that we will only move ahead with each phase of the plan if, and when, it is safe to do so.

Unlike other jurisdictions, B.C. did not take a blanket approach closing multiple sectors during COVID-19. Using an evidence-informed approach, we kept open essential services such as childcare for health care workers, schools shifted to online learning but provided in-class support for essential workers; and some industries, such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture and silviculture adapted the way they worked with the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer and health authority public health officials.

These initial measures laid the groundwork for the first phase of the B.C. Restart Plan – the phase we are in today – and allow for the establishment of a set of principles to use as we move into next phases in the coming weeks and months. These principles include personal hygiene, staying home when you are sick, environmental hygiene, safe social interactions and physical modifications. These principles form the core of B.C.’s approach going forward.

As we enter Phase Two, beginning in mid-May, people will be able to begin to expand their social networks a little bit while ensuring those who are most vulnerable are protected. Tomorrow Minister Dix and Premier Horgan will share what it looks like as we move to mid-May and begin to resume elective surgeries and bring back regulated health services to support the health needs of British Columbians. We in the health system know this is critical to supporting our patients, clients and residents. We will share more information with you as soon as it becomes available.

Phase Two will also include the opening of provincial parks for day use, and retail businesses will be supported by WorkSafeBC to reopen should they choose, as long as workers and consumers can be safe. As part of this phase, some in-person schooling will return for those who choose to use it, with a planned return to in-class instruction in September – but only if we are successful in keeping the curve flat.

Phase Three – which will occur between June and September if transmission rates remain low or in decline – provides enhanced protocols to safely open more parks, camping, film & TV production, movie theatres and resorts. We will enter Phase Four – including large gatherings and international travel – only when there is province-wide vaccinations, community immunity or successful treatments.

Over the past two months, residents of B.C. have stood together and followed the guidance of our public health professionals to keep B.C. safe. As we move through the B.C. Restart Plan we need to continue to follow the key principles to keep our people and health system strong and protected. This means continuing to practice hand hygiene, staying home when we are sick, keeping our social circle small, and following the guidance and direction of our Provincial Health Officer. Thank you for your contributions over the past several weeks as health-care workers and residents of our communities to flatten the curve to the point the B.C. Restart Plan could be launched.

For more information:


Today Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix released a joint statement noting there are 23 new COVID-19 confirmed cases across B.C. in the last 24 hours for total of 2,255 cases in B.C. There are 1,494 individuals who no longer having to practice isolation measures. Sadly, they noted three additional deaths, including two in the lower mainland and the one mentioned above in Island Health, for a total of 124 deaths in the province due to COVID-19.

At Island Health, we have 124 confirmed COVID-19 confirmed cases – no additional cases in the past few days. Two patients remain in hospital. One hundred and six people no longer have to remain in self-isolation measures, as they are no longer at risk of transmitting the virus.

You can read more in the joint statement

Nanaimo Area InDIGENOUS Community Gives Thanks to NRGH

A group of local Indigenous community members and Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre staff showed their appreciation at NRGH last week with drumming, song and prayer. Aboriginal Centre Executive Director Chris Beaton said they wanted to honour health-care workers and volunteers for their efforts during the pandemic, knowing that some community members from Alert Bay have been treated at NRGH. Beaton presented a ceremonial hand drum, painted with a large heart on it. We have a long journey ahead of us to fully live with cultural safety and humility, but this moment of appreciation and generosity warms our hearts as we know we are all in this journey together – and we are making a difference. You can read more about this incredible gesture here.



This afternoon, the position of Vice President Medicine and Quality was posted. The Vice President position has been filled on an interim basis by Dr. Ben Williams with Dr. Ian Thompson supporting Dr. Williams as Chief Medical Officer. This position will be posted for two weeks, after which a selection process will be undertaken that includes key partners to assist in making this important hiring decision. Thank you to both Dr. Williams and Dr. Thompson for stepping into this role in the interim.

Every day we are proud to share stories of the gratitude we are seeing in the community and in the health and care system. Each story lifts us up by giving us energy, hope, support and gratitude during our response to COVID-19.

The Geo 1 team is collecting messages from community members and sharing them with team members on their new initiative, “Way to Go Wednesday.” The intent is for teams to be able to share what they are hearing during an existing meeting to give staff a quick pick me up, and to acknowledge and validate their hard work and community gratitude.​

We want to say thank you and “way to go!” to the Geo 1 team for sharing Way to Go Wednesdays with the rest of the Island Health family. You can listen to the message shared today.

Please continue to lift each other up today and every day,

~ 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.