GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – The government’s performance
on Coronavirus vaccine distribution does not get high marks from British Columbians, a new poll suggests. Fifty-seven per cent give low scores for the rollout and 38 per cent were not impressed with the priority list. An Insights West poll showed 80 per
cent are ready to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available; 69 per cent believe those with pre-existing conditions should be on the list of those with higher priority for the vaccine, and about half feel RCMP, firefighters, teachers, other
healthcare workers and essential service workers should be prioritized before others. FULL
UPDATE TODAY – Health officials have cancelled yesterday’s daily briefing by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix as they prepare to update the province’s strategy for Coronavirus immunization. Instead, they will join a news conference today with Premier John Horgan and Dr. Penny Ballem, head of the immunization rollout. They are expected to unveil the next steps in
the program that has been complicated by a vaccine supply slowdown from Pfizer-BioNTech. In the interim, the focus continues on immunizing people who are at the greatest risk, including residents and staff at care homes around the province.
COVID COUNT – Island Health reported 47 new positive
Coronavirus tests on Thursday. The new cases were among 564
new cases across B.C. over the previous 24 hours. The previous single-day high for the Island Health region was 34, on Jan. 12 and Jan. 15. There were 15 more related deaths, health officials said, bringing B.C.’s death toll
MONEY FOR TRANSPORT – Two Nanaimo organizations have received Community Gaming Grants to buy vehicles. The Boys and Girls
Club got $154,454 to buy two new 24-passenger buses and Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Society got $60,000 for two vehicles to support the its mobile outreach team and case-management software. Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson said the funding will help the Boys
and Girls Club reach kids when it’s safe to do so, meaning more young people will grow up healthy and successful. Community Gaming Grants provide funding to 5,000 organizations, including arts and culture groups, sports, environment, public safety,
human and social services, as well as parent advisory councils in schools throughout B.C.
PROBLEM WORSENS – The past year is expected to be the second deadliest for overdoses in Nanaimo. BC Emergency Health Services reports paramedics responded to 664 callouts in 2020 as the drug overdose crisis worsened reports, about
100 more callouts than in the previous three years. By the end of November, 37 people had fatally overdosed in Nanaimo.
About 80 per cent of all overdose deaths occurred inside. Illicit overdoses were declared a public health emergency in 2016.
ALL CLEAR – Snuneymuxw reported no new coronavirus test cases Friday. A shelter-in-place order that had been in effect for three weeks was lifted Thursday by Chief and council after testing revealed the fast spread
had been stopped in its tracks. “We care tremendously about each other and each other’s families,” said Chief Mike Wyse. The order was put in place on January 1 when testing revealed 5 members of Snuneymuxw had active cases of COVID-19.
According to Chief Wyse, the restrictions worked. From December 30 to January 21 there were 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Snuneymuxw, with one person dying as a result of the virus.
GOLF CLUBS FOUND – Two sets of golf clubs were found Tuesday behind the old Howard Johnson Hotel
and turned over to the RCMP. If these are yours or you have information on the ownership, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2021-2224. See photo.
SPORTS FUNDING – Nanaimo clubs are among dozens of community
sports groups on Vancouver Island that will get financial support from the B.C. government. The money is for operational expenses, such as administrative costs, equipment or supplies fees, insurance, rent, personal protective equipment, cleaning products and
more. In total, 64 groups on Vancouver Island will receive funding. Check out the list which includes the Nanaimo groups. HERE.
HEALTH CARE TRAINING – Nanaimo is getting 72 new spots in the health care assistant program at Vancouver Island University, as part of the
$8.4 million Health Career Access Program. It will prepare more people for in-demand careers in our region, building our system of care as we recover from the pandemic, says our MLA Sheila Malcolmson. Participants
in the program will work in long-term care or assisted living residences as health care support workers, while completing courses to become health care assistants. Health care assistants provide personal care for seniors, people with disabilities, and people
with acute or chronic illnesses in hospitals, long-term care homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and in the community.
ON BASEBALL – Angela Waldick has been named the official photographer for the West Coast League expansion Nanaimo NightOwls. What’s interesting about that is Angela is legally blind. Angela lost sight in her right eye
five years ago in a household accident. Despite losing par of her vision, the mother of two has continued to run a small business in Nanaimo called Nightengales Photography. Jim
Swanson, Managing Partner/GM of the NightOwls, said Angela will keep “every penny” of her NightOwls photography sales. The NightOwls are tentatively slated to tee off this summer, depending on the pandemic situation.
VISITORS STILL WELCOME – Premier John Horgan said Thursday
the province will not impose restrictions on inter-provincial travel. That came one week after he said the province was seeking legal advice regarding a potential ban on travellers coming into the province for non-essential reasons. A review of the legal options
available "made it clear we can't prevent people from travelling to British Columbia," he said. However, he did not rule out stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers if the province sees an increase in Coronavirus transmission linked to incoming visitors
from other parts of Canada.