CEO & Chief MHO Joint Update: May 9, 2020


As we all contemplate adjusting to what our ‘new normal’ will look like, we’re beginning to see people eager to get back to doing things that they love. For many, that means volunteering. At Island Health we are so grateful for the thousands of volunteers who normally contribute to the well-being of our patients, clients and residents, but our volunteers have had to stay away from our hospitals and long-term care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. As operations begin to ramp up, we will be looking at how we can safely bring back volunteers to support the work of staff while ensuring physical distancing and following all necessary prevention and infection control measures.   

We are so grateful that our patients also benefit from the hardworking volunteers who are part of the 21 healthcare auxiliaries who serve within Island Health. Not only is tomorrow Mother’s Day, but it is also Healthcare Auxiliary Day in British Columbia – a day to recognize the significant contribution auxiliaries make in supporting the care and comfort of our patients, residents and clients. Auxiliaries operate gift shops, raise money to support patient care through thrift stores, do knitting and crocheting and provide a number of other items that contribute to the comfort and care of our patients, clients and residents.

Time is a precious commodity and we are grateful for how much of theirs auxiliary members give to Island Health. We deeply appreciate their on-going commitment and generous support.


Today Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 15 new COVID-19 confirmed cases across B.C. in the last 24 hours, for total of 2,330 cases. There are 1,659 people who had tested positive and have now recovered, which represents 71% of all cases in B.C. Sadly, two more people have died from COVID-19 – both from long-term care facilities in the Lower Mainland – bringing the provincial total to 129 deaths. Across B.C. there are 69 people in hospital, with 21 of those in critical care or intensive care.

At Island Health, we have 125 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases. We have just one patient in hospital (in critical care) within Island Health. We now have 112 people who no longer need to remain in self-isolation, as they are no longer at-risk of transmitting the virus.

Dr. Henry reiterated her advice that we must keep our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters safe this Mother’s Day, reminding us that we are still in Phase 1 of the renewal plan. She urged us to visit at a safe distance, and do so outdoors as much as possible.

You can read more in the joint statement and read the transcript


Thank you once again to everyone who had the opportunity to participate in our weekly staff and medical staff town hall. Your questions help guide us on this journey through uncharted territory. We have now posted the written responses to the questions we weren’t able to get to when live on Tuesday. You can also read a summary and listen to audio from the town hall.

We’re looking forward to the next town hall, coming up on Tuesday, May 12 at noon. Watch your email on Tuesday morning for the call-in number and a link to the where you can post your questions.

COVID-19 EMERgency response transport team

A new partnership between Island Health and BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) has created COVID-19 Emergency Response Transport (CERT) Teams. Each CERT Team includes an on-call RN, and can include an anesthesiologist or respiratory therapist as needed.

CERT Teams are available to accompany patients needing medical transport, where BCEHS critical care is not available, and primary care paramedic crews don’t provide the level of support needed. CERT Teams are intended to reduce the burden of having RNs/RTs and physicians leave smaller sites and communities to transport patients to cohort units or for higher levels of care.

“I think is has been a great partnership from the beginning of this, back in February. We have been in constant touch, working hard as a small team to get the training up and running,” said Matt Erickson, Acute Flow and Utilization Director. “The nurses have been amazing. They have been flexible, supportive, and just amazing. It has been wonderful working with this group who are very tuned in to the needs of our Island community.”

There are two teams, for a total of about 32 people. Team members are based all over the Island, with ‘launch’ centres at RJH and NRGH. Read more about this innovative partnership (Island Health log-in required) formed in the face of COVID-19.


Over the course of this week, we’ve shared information and resources with you about mental health and wellness as part of Mental Health Week. As the week comes to a close, we wanted to share this simple but effective self-care tool from Susan Simo and Liana Sorensen – project managers in Geo 1:

Five Breaths a Day… in May. 


Commit to take five slow deep breaths a day to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system and act as a ‘brake’ to the sympathetic nervous system fight or flight ‘gas pedal.’ We can all use a reminder to slow down and breathe, and we thank Susan and Liana for reminding us it’s important to do so.

You can follow this link to learn a bit more. They also shared a document that consolidates links to available resiliency resources, tools, and supports.

Be well, 

~ 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.