President & CEO and Chief MHO Joint Update


January 13, 2021

There are two vaccination successes to highlight today. In the Cowichan Valley, the day began with drums and a prayer, then Cowichan Tribes’ elders began receiving the Pfizer vaccine at a drive-thru clinic. Skye Ryan of CHEK news captured this joyous moment as Polly Williams learned she is next in line for the vaccine.

Cowichan Tribes nurse Amber MacAdam says today’s clinic provided vaccinations for 235 people, and she “can’t express enough appreciation” for the cooperation and assistance from the Island Health family. We are so grateful for the hard work of so many of our team who helped get us to today, along with much appreciation for our partners in health and care – Cowichan Tribes and the First Nations Health Authority. These vaccines will go such a long way to protect the most vulnerable members of this community. Further clinics are planned tomorrow and Friday.

In long-term care, the first residents at Chartwell Malaspina care home in Nanaimo received their vaccines this morning as part of our outbreak response. Take a moment to reflect on what this vaccine will mean for our vulnerable populations in long-term care – those who have been living in virtual lockdown since last March. With the vaccination of residents, staff, physicians and essential visitors scheduled to wrap up by the end of this month, it’s possible we could see real change in long-term care by the middle of February. Vancouver Coastal Health has already reported seeing some of the benefits of their vaccine campaign in long-term care homes.

Thank you to all members of the care team who provide comfort and human connection for residents who have been restricted from the support of family and friends for far too long. Time and time again we hear about the difference it makes when you spend a few extra minutes with residents. That’s really putting the care in health care. 

As we move towards completion of vaccination of long-term care and assisted living staff and physicians, we are turning our focus to the next health-care worker priority population outlined in the BC Vaccination Strategy. The next group of individuals able to begin receiving vaccine are hospital based health care workers providing care in settings like COVID units, ICUs, EDs, and Med/Surg, in addition to Paramedics. They were sent an email survey to start the process today. If you work in one of these areas check your email for the survey. If you are not in this group and wondering when you and your colleagues may be scheduled for vaccination, you can find more information here on the priority distribution roll-out. Please be assured we are maximizing the available vaccine after we receive shipments in order to move through each priority population as soon as possible, and move onto the next one.

And finally, we must remember that we can’t let up or let our guard down. With the growth in cases and an increase in hospitalizations in Island Health, it is more important now than ever to follow PPE requirements – even after receiving the vaccine ourselves. We must pay extra attention to hand hygiene, and remember the key protections that helped us keep transmission of COVID-19 comparatively low here. Follow the PHO orders around gatherings, maintain physical distance from anyone outside your household, don’t travel unless it is essential, and always wear a mask in indoor public spaces. We are so close, but letting up now will push that light at the end of the tunnel further into the distance.

Read more about our vaccine progress.


The collection site at the Victoria Health Unit has closed it’s doors to testing and assessment and is moving to a new location at the ICBC Claim Centre facility at 425 Dunedin Street, effective Thursday, January 14th

This move is part of Island Health’s winterization strategy to get our staff and patients into more comfortable working/testing conditions through the winter. Our thanks to our fabulous FMO and public health teams for making this move, and many others, happen in a quick and efficient way.


Provincial Update (Today):

  • 519 people have newly-confirmed COVID-19, for a total of 59,072 people
  • 12 new deaths, for a total of 1,031 COVID-19 related deaths in B.C.
  • 4,810 people with active COVID-19 in B.C. – 360 in hospital – 76 in l/ICU/HAU

Island Health Update (Today):

  • 34 people have newly-confirmed COVID-19, for a total of 1,182 people
  • 0 new deaths, for a total of 13 COVID-19 related deaths in Island Health
  • 199 people with active COVID-19 in Island Health – 14 in hospital – 2 in ICU/HAU
  • 3 active outbreaks in Island Health facilities (Click ‘Active’ under Outbreaks for more info)
  • See breakdown by region (South/Central/North)

Read updates from PHO Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix:


Since our last update, the following resources have either been added to or updated and posted on the COVID-19 Intranet pages.




  • Key Messages – Updated Essential Visitor Policy – Long-Term Care and Senior’s Assisted Living Facilities has been removed, as it contained outdated language.
  • LTC Visitation FAQ Contents has been removed, as it contained outdated language.
  • LTC and Assisted Living Essential Visitor Determination Guideline has been updated to remove language pertaining to visits are restricted to essential visits only, removal of the length of time limitation, and inclusion of direction to follow Palliative and End-of-Life Care guidelines for visiting for compassionate care. Please note: This version does not include the Ministry of Health appendix providing interpretive guidance and an appeals process released Jan 7, 2021.


  • Check out what is New Today on the BCCDC website


Stay informed:

  • Visit Island Health's ‘source of truth,’ COVID-19 webpage on the Intranet for operational information, wellness resources, outbreak notices and more.
  • The Medical Staff website has specific information for medical staff.
  • Vaccine FAQs are here.
  • Town Hall FAQs from the last session are here.
  • HR FAQs are here.
  • Masking policy FAQs are here.
  • Follow us and retweet/share COVID safety messaging: TwitterFacebook Instagram