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CEO & CHIEF MHO Update: March 28, 2020

SENT TO ALL STAFF, MEDICAL STAFF, STUDENTS AND VOLUNTEERS ON BEHALF OF KATHY MACNEIL, PRESIDENT  & CEO – AND DR. RICHARD STANWICK, CHIEF MEDICAL HEALTH OFFICER


We hope many of you have been able get some rest and take some time to be with family, connect with friends and loved ones – virtually of course – and to decompress a little, with the weekend under way. That said, we all know the health care system doesn’t sleep, and doesn’t take weekends off, and neither does the virus we are all pulling together to respond to.

We want to take just a moment today to let you know that our Emergency Operations teams aren’t taking weekends off either. We have a robust Island Health-wide structure that operates seven days per week, leading our organizational response and working proactively to plan for what is still to come.

While our names may be at the top of the Incident Command organization chart, we are enormously grateful to Michael Morrison for taking the helm and running our Emergency Operations Center. Michael’s military experience and his incredible ability to keep us all on track should give everyone comfort that we’ve got this, and we’ll get through it together.

Provincial Daily Update

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix held their daily press briefing at noon today. In Island Health, there are now 60 cases, up three cases since yesterday. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in B.C. is up by 92 today, for a total of 884 test positive cases across the province. Eighty-one people are in hospital, with 52 of those in ICU. The number of people who have fully recovered is now 396 people, which amounts to 45% of B.C.’s cases.

Dr. Henry and Minister Dix redoubled their pleas for people to practice physical distancing while staying socially connected. While the modeling released yesterday showed some promise that the measures being taken over the past several weeks may be working, they noted in the coming weeks, the number of cases will continue to rise and our health system will be put to the test.

“We must be united and 100% committed to doing all we can to flatten the curve. Thank you for helping to make a difference and now, more than ever, we need you to keep it up,” they said. You can read their official statement here, and read the full transcript here.

LIMITING STAFF TO WORKING AT A SINGLE SITE

BC's Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued an emergency order this week enabling the collection of staff information from health employers across BC to support decisions on working at a single site.

While an order has already put into effect limiting staff working in long term care homes to a single site, the gathering of this information will give decision makers the information they need should these restrictions be put into place at additional sites.

Please click here to read the full memo that was circulated this afternoon, and then visit https://bchealthstaffing.ca/ to indicate your worksite preference. You may have received a similar memo from your Union leadership encouraging you to report. The deadline to submit your preference is tomorrow – Sunday, March 29 at 5:00pm. We would appreciate you sharing this information widely given the short timelines.

Child Care

As we shared in yesterday’s update, we recognize that with spring break at an end, childcare for next week and beyond is going to be a major concern for many of you. The provincial government is continuing to do everything it can through the Ministry of Education and MCFD to make sure childcare is there for you, especially if you have an urgent unmet need for next week.

For now, there are actions you can take this weekend if you have an urgent lack of childcare that would prevent you from working and you are in a direct care or supporting health care workers role during the week of March 30th:

  • School-Aged Children (K-6): parents should contact their school principals (public and independent) as soon as possible to determine how best to meet the need for urgent child care beginning the week of March 30th. Principals will be available over the weekend for this purpose.
  • Children aged 0-5 (Pre K): parents should contact child care providers that operate on school grounds to see if they have capacity, or call their local Childcare Resource and Referral (CCRR) Centre and they will work to match front-line health care workers with a child care provider that have available space.

Conclusion

We noted at the beginning of this update that the health care system doesn’t stop – not on weekends, not in the middle of the night, and certainly not in a pandemic.

As a reminder that life goes on in the rest of the system, and in the rest of the world, we wanted to share this small but powerful statistic: in the month of March (up to March 23), there were 351 babies born to families in Island Health communities.  A reminder that even in crisis, there are moments to celebrate.

We continue to be inspired by the commitment we see in individuals and teams, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. You really are amazing how you are all pulling together. We will get through this, and be stronger together on the other side.

 

Take care of yourselves and each other.

 

~ Kathy and Richard


Staying informed:

  • Visit Island Health's ‘source of truth,COVID-19 WEB PAGE on the Intranet. Transcripts or recordings of the Town Halls will be posted after each event.
  • The Medical Staff website has specific information for medical staff.
  • We are also posting information for the public on our social media channels. We encourage you to follow/retweet/share BCCDC’s and Island Health’s posts.