• COVID-19 tracker
B.C – 1,291 cases, New cases 25, deaths 43, up 4
Canada  17,879 cases, 1,230 new, 381 deaths, up58
United States 394,587 cases, new 27,583 deaths 12,748, up 1,877
World – 1,424,140 cases, deaths 81,889
Updated  4 p.m. April 7

• BC Government sources – Your avenue to answers for questions about provincial government programs like rents, tenancy, salary support, etc.
• Island Health information
How to get emergency benefits  Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Fact Sheet FULL REPORT

No new cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island

Dr. Bonnie Henry

0407 – There were no new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island in the past 24 hours.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced no new cases in the Island Health region for the third time in the past week. There are still 79 confirmed cases on Vancouver Island.

Across the rest of thr province, 25 new cases were confirmed for a total of 1291. Of those, 805 have recovered.

The number of active cases in British Columbia has fallen over recent weeks.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

HEADS UP – The city has installed signs in parks and trail heads to remind us to always practice physical distancing. Physical distancing is defined as being at least two metres (6 feet) away from anybody who is not part of your household. The signs provide a list of "dos" and don'ts" while recreating outdoors, including using these areas only if you are healthy and without any symptoms of the virus.

A LOWER MAINLAND MAN in his 40s has died of COVID-19, one of the youngest known victims of the novel coronavirus in the province to date. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 63 more people had tested positive for the virus since Saturday. The man who died was previously known to have been infected with the virus and died at home instead of in a hospital, Henry said. This is the second community death attributed to COVID-19 in the province. 

ORGAN TRANSPLANTS are continuing on a "case-by-case" basis during the COVID-19 pandemic. That is creating some uncertainty for people in B.C. awaiting organ transplants, who face a higher risk of serious complications from the virus.  

DOWN THE DRAIN – In what’s being called an unprecedented situation, some dairy farmers are being asked to dump their milk as the industry faces a drop in demand for milk products from restaurants, coffee shops and the loss of other commercial sales.

NRGH and Royal Jubilee will be on COVID front line

0407 – Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and Victoria's Royal Jubilee will be Vancouver Island’s front line hospitals in the battle against COVID-19, with other hospitals being used in a support role.

“There are also plans in place to move additional patients currently in hospital to alternative sites, if required, based on the level of need in our acute care system. These plans include using the recently completed Summit long-term care facility in Victoria, if needed, for patients currently in hospital”, Island Health stated in a prepared statement.

Island hospitals have been preparing for a surge in COVID-19 cases in much the same fashion as hospitals across the province — opening as many beds as possible, and having contingency plans in place for the most serious cases. MORE

School meal program being adapted to new reality

0407  Students who have been relying on the Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation meals program is  being started up again.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the program made delivered breakfast, lunch and snacks to 16 District 68 schools to benefit 600 students. John Barsby Secondary School is now home base for the program.

“I’m really hoping this service is going to take pressure off the families that are struggling,” Dennison said. “We have enough to be concerned about rather than students being hungry. It’s one really tangible difference that we can make,” said Foundation executive director Crystal Dennison. MORE

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

B.C. man in his 40s with confirmed COVID-19 infection dies at home 
British Columbia has recorded one more death from COVID-19 and another 63 test-positive cases since the last update over the weekend. 

Organ transplants moving forward on 'case by case' basis during pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating some uncertainty for people in B.C. awaiting organ transplants, who face a higher risk of serious complications from the virus.  

Some B.C. dairy farmers are seeing their work go down the drain
In what’s being called an unprecedented situation, some dairy farmers are being asked to dump their milk as the industry faces a drop in demand for milk products from restaurants, coffee shops and the loss of other commercial sales. 

Follow the COVID-19 distancing rules, people with health issues plead
Nick Kanaan was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease that would have taken his life were it not for a double-lung transplant. 

Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 set up in Burnaby's Central Park
Select patients who have been referred for COVID-19 testing can now use a drive-thru testing site that's been set up in Burnaby's Central Park. 

Vancouver RMT signs up for CERB as millions of Canadians wait for help
Some Canadians say signing up for a new federal benefit to cover income lost because of COVID-19 is fast and easy, while others have found they don't qualify. 

B.C. teens bracing themselves to miss rites of passage during pandemic
As classes remain suspended amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, so do opportunities for students to socialize, play sports, and spend time with friends. For the thousands of students in Grade 12, what happens to prom is also a worry. 

Man charged for spitting in cop's face during COVID-19 pandemic
A man who allegedly spat in a B.C. RCMP officer's face in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has been charged with aggravated assault. 

Someone tried to ship more than 100 kilograms of meth into B.C.
A massive amount of methamphetamine was seized in B.C. earlier this year, the Canada Border Services Agency says. 

Given notice before the pandemic, renter fears being evicted
A Vancouver woman who received an eviction notice before the provincial moratorium is worried about being able to find a new rental during the pandemic.

Hand sanitizer is extremely fammable, be careful

Important To Know with BBQ season coming!This is not a joke, hand sanitizer is 705 more alcohol

Bylaw officers oversee community facilities in COVID role

0406 – Nanaimo Bylaw Enforcement Officers will oversee and report infractions associated with facilities like community halls, museums, places of worship, tourist enterprises, recreational facilities and private property.  

That’s the clarification by the Province on the role of bylaw officers in the COVID-19 crisis.

Since declaring a Provincial State of Emergency on March 18, a number of Ministerial Orders have been issued to control and slow the spread of the virus. Bylaw Officers and Provincial Health Officers have been asked assist for compliance and enforcement of Orders for specific items. 

Mayor Leonard Krog said all levels of government – federal, provincial and municipal – are working together to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

“Our Bylaw Officers will work with their provincial counterparts to provide information and advice to the public on how to comply with the Public Health Orders," said Krog.

Provincial Health Officers will monitor all food premises, including restaurants, mobile food vendors, and grocery stores as well as personal service establishments and pools.

Citizens can report a municipal issue (community facilities such as community halls, museums, places of worship, tourist enterprises, recreational facilities and private property) please contact the City Bylaw Department at 250.755.4422. 

Citizens can also report health infractions (food premises, including restaurants, mobiles, and grocery stores as well as personal service establishments and pools) at Island Health at 250.755.6215.

More information on the Compliance and Enforcement Guidance can be found on the [BC Government's COVID-19 Orders, Notices and Guidance page](https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/covid-19-novel-coronavirus).

There are no Orders at present requiring physical distancing outside your own home, but the Province has provided strong recommendations and guidance.

B.C. Ferries passengers face COVID screening starting today

B.C. Ferries passengers will have to undergo health screenings before boarding, beginning today. That applies to all passengers on routes longer than 30 minutes.

Transport Canada has issued guidelines to ferry operators, aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.

BC Ferries had already instituted all of them except for the health screening. Travellers will be asked a series of questions, including whether they have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days and whether they have any flu-like symptoms. Anyone who answers yes to any of the questions will be denied passage.

B.C. Ferries has already reduced maximum capacities by 50 per cent to facilitate physical distancing of at least two metres. Ferries can implement other practices to prevent the spread of the virus - such as keeping people in their vehicles or enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures - as long as those practices are consistent with Public Health Authority of Canada guidelines.

All cruise ships are prohibited from travelling through or stopping in Canadian Arctic waters until Oct. 31.

VIEA offers video conference on loans and mortgages

0406 - The Vancouver Island Econnomic Alliance is holding a video conference on Tuesday on how to approach loan and mortgage payments with your lender during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This series will be short bursts of single topic 'how to' information to help you take the next step in this uncertain journey – one step at a time and one issue at a time...

This session features TD Bank District VP for Commercial Banking, Katie Bishop who is also a VIEA Director.

Topic: How to approach revising your loan and/or mortgage payment schedule with your lender

Tuesday, Apr 7, 11:30 AM, PDT

The presentation will be about 10 mins followed by a curated Chat Q&A.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/781864454

Monday, April 6, 2020

ABOVE AND BEYOND – You really have to hand it to Parkville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell who is reaching out to anyone who is not working or things are just tight and have run out of food. 
“Please don’t go to sleep with an empty stomach. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send me a private message, text, call. I will be more than happy to share what food I have. We will never speak about it again. I will drop and go. I will never tell a soul.”
http://www.mikeystilwell.com/
Instagram stilwell.michelle
Twitter stilwell4BC
#JoinTheCause
#CopyAndPasteIfYouCanAndAreWilling

Mid-Island politicians get out the pandemic message

 

Local politicans have joined forces to get the COVID-19 message out to our community. The message, courtesy of Shaw TV, features councillors, MLA Michelle Stilwell and MP Paul Manly representing Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Parksville. WATCH HERE

 

Monday, April 6 2020

B.C.'s top doctor announces 1 more death from COVID-19, 63 new cases 
British Columbia has recorded one more death from COVID-19 and another 63 test-positive cases since the last update over the weekend. 

Man charged for allegedly spitting in cop's face during COVID-19 pandemic
A man who allegedly spat in a B.C. RCMP officer's face in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has been charged with aggravated assault. 

B.C. Securities Commission warns investors about cures for COVID-19
The warning comes after the BCSC has received reports that a company called Revive Therapeutics has been promoted to investors in Europe and North America.

Back pain working from home? Tips from a chiropractor
Taking the time to set up a proper work station can help ease those aches in your neck and back, but many may not be sure where to begin. CTV News asked a chiropractor for his dos and don'ts.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to the intensive care unit of a London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms worsened Monday, just a day after he was admitted for what were said to be routine test.

Crowds still flock to seawall, ignoring physical distancing rules
Crowds still gathered along Vancouver's seawall a day after the city's park board launched a campaign to promote safety outdoors. 

This is how COVID-19 could change cleaning forever
This viral pandemic will change forever how we clean and disinfect hospitals, long-term care homes, schools, stores, offices, and even our homes, says a veteran director of environmental services in health-care settings. CTVNews.ca is launching New Normal, a series looking at how life will change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

How to apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit and EI sickness pay
The federal government is offering new financial support for Canadians whose jobs have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Littered gloves and masks disgust Coquitlam mayor
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are finding discarded gloves and masks everywhere – and every littered item could be contaminated with the dangerous virus. 

'COVID-19 has made everything harder,' says truck driver with new cancer diagnosis
Around the same time the world was shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Luke Harris's world came crashing down when he was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer

Advocates warn of disaster without COVID-19 protections for migrant workers
The federal and provincial governments are facing a “potential disaster” if more protections and social-distancing guidelines aren't extended to migrant agricultural workers, advocates say. 

Feds offer $10 million for Vancouver homeless in COVID-19 fight
Acknowledging that people experiencing homelessness face a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, the federal government has earmarked more than $10 million dollars to reduce the impacts of the coronavirus on Vancouver’s homeless population. 

COVID-19 research: projects B.C. is funding to fight the pandemic
In addition to her usual accounting of provincial statistics on the COVID-19 pandemic and reminders about how best to stop the spread of the virus, Dr. Bonnie Henry spent several minutes of her daily briefing Saturday discussing coronavirus research British Columbia has been funding. 

Surrey couple return home after spending nearly a month on infected cruise ship
Four passengers died in late March and two hundred people on the ship reported flu-like symptoms amidst global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Vancouver city staff will patrol parks for physical distancing
The new program comes after park rangers handed out a total of 1,364 warnings to parkgoers between March 20 and April 2.

How to make your own Coronavirus safety mask

 

Many home-bound seamstresses are helping the Coronavirus cause by sewing face masks for public use. These are not recognized for use by medical professionals, but excellent for citizens going about the community.

Here's how you can make your own. VIDEO AND PATTERN

Nanaimo drinking water deemed safe from COVID-19

0405 – Nanaimo's drinking water is safe from the Coronavirus, says Mike Squire, city manager of water resources.

City water is treated at South Fork Water Treatment Plant where safety measures begin at the watershed, with membrane filtration (primary treatment), ultraviolet disinfection and chlorination among the processes.

“Basically the pore size of the membranes is small enough that a virus, or harmful bacteria, will not fit through,” said Squire. “If it does in fact get into the water system, I don’t believe it would live in the waters for very long. But there’s no chance of it filtering through into the potable water supply.”

Squire said the city does daily monitoring and testing and as far as COVID-19 virus in the water, and said there’s no risk. MORE

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Here are some of the projects B.C. is funding to fight the pandemic
In addition to her usual accounting of provincial statistics on the COVID-19 pandemic and reminders about how best to stop the spread of the virus, Dr. Bonnie Henry spent several minutes of her daily briefing Saturday discussing coronavirus research British Columbia has been funding

Surrey couple return home after spending nearly a month on infected cruise ship
Four passengers died in late March and two hundred people on the ship reported flu-like symptoms amidst global COVID-19 pandemic. 

B.C.’s top doctor announces 3 more deaths, capping province’s deadliest week
Three more British Columbians have died from COVID-19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Saturday. 

North Vancouver pharmacy sold N-95 masks for $10 each
The store owner said the pharmacy will no longer sell the masks after hearing “there’s a shortage on these products and it should go to hospitals” because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Two inmates at Mission Institution test positive for COVID-19
The outbreak at the medium-security facility follows news on Friday that one inmate at Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver had tested positive.

Vancouver city staff will patrol parks for physical distancing
The new program comes after park rangers handed out a total of 1,364 warnings to parkgoers between March 20 and April 2. 

B.C. temporarily lifts requirement on storing personal data in Canada 
The province says the pandemic requires those who work for public bodies, such as health-care workers and teachers, to use digital communication tools that are normally restricted

B.C.’s top doctor refuses to discuss possible COVID-19 fatality rate
As Ontario health officials release grim and shocking predictions of the possible death toll in that province, the doctor overseeing British Columbia’s COVID-19 response won’t reveal the range she expects in her province

Potential COVID-19 treatment being tested on 200 patients next week
A drug that researchers hope could prevent people with COVID-19 from experiencing the most debilitating effects of the virus is moving forward with 200 human trials next week. 

No plans yet for Vancouver to step up enforcement of physical distancing rules
Two weeks into the city’s state of emergency, crowds at English Bay are noticeably thinner compared to a few weeks ago, and the city's mayor says he believes most residents are respecting physical distancing rules. 

A great idea gains momentum for frontline workers

Ryan Oakley
(From Facebook)

Ryan Oakley saw an opportunity to help and it blossomed into something much bigger. Some first responders need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19, and that’s where Ryan kicked in. He offered to park his RV in front of their homes so that if they need to quarantine, they won’t be far from family. 

 He thinks it would be a good idea for those who have RVs to do the same thing. He has created a Facebook group for the free initiative that has members from all over the island, Alberta, and into the United States.  

It’s catching on – RV Rent Vancouver Island has offered 10 of their 18 RVs for this use. If you’re interested contact Oakley through the Facebook page.

 

 

 

April 5-6, 2020

THE ISLAND COASTAL ECONOMIC TRUST has funded two programs to help the tourism sector and other enterprises in the face of economic and operational challenges.
   The one-on-one programs were developed in collaboration with Tourism Vancouver Island and Innovation Island Technology Association to provide support for businesses affected by COVID-19.
   The Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Project will provide tourism businesses with practical assistance as they navigate the current crisis, through to their eventual recovery, post-pandemic. 
  Innovation Island’s Digital Economy Response Program will provide personalized technical and industry expertise to enterprises ready to adapt their business models to the digital economy.
   Both programs are expected to begin progressive implementation in early April.More details about both the TVI and IITA programs, including how to access services, will be communicated in the coming week.

THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT is providing $3.5 million to post-secondary institutions to boost their emergency bursary funds for students in need is welcome news for Vancouver Island University. Irlanda Price, Associate Vice-President of VIU’s Student Affairs department  says the money is going to help hundreds of VIU students meet basic needs so they can focus on finishing their semesters without worrying about where their next meal is coming from. FULL STORY

BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC ceremonies scheduled for May 3 have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, at 11 a.m. on that day, Lantzville Legion Branch 257 asks everyone to take a moment to remember those who served in the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Merchant Navy during the Battle of the Atlantic; the longest battle of the Second World War. It was the Navy's defining moment, escorting large 

 

Firefighters not responding to most medical calls

Fire Chief Karen Fry

0405 – Fire department medical aid calls could be reduced by more than 90 per cent due to COVID-19 response.  The majority of responses by Nanaimo’s firefighters are for medical assistance, but that’s no longer the case under coronavirus protocols.

Fire Rescue Chief Karen Fry reported to city council that the fire department’s top priority is to keep firefighters healthy and on the job by preventing them from getting sick.

“Our priority is to reduce the risk and protect our first responders, first and foremost, and then to protect our community and save lives and property,” Fry said. MORE

Big Brother Google is following your every move

0405 – New data released by Google shows just how much British Columbians have stopped going to work, shops and transit stations, replacing those trips with staying home and visiting local parks.

The data shows how behaviour changed quickly between March 8 and March 29, when health officials began stressing the need to stay home as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and began ordering some businesses to close or restrict operations.

In B.C., visits to workplaces are down 47 per cent compared to a baseline developed by the company, while visits to parks are up 27 per cent and being at home rose 13 per cent.

If you don't want Big Brother keeping track of your activities you can turn off the location on you cell phone.

MORE

Four more COVID-19 deaths reported in B.C.

0405 – British Columbia health officials announced Friday that four more people in the province have died as a result of COVID-19.

They also announced 53 new confirmed cases of the virus, bringing the provincial total to 1,174 people who have tested positive. There have now been 35 deaths from the virus in B.C.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix made the announcement at their daily briefing Friday.

An additional outbreak at a long-term care facility brings the total to 22 such places where someone has tested positive for the virus.

MORE

April 5, 2020

B.C. health officials announce 4 more COVID-19 deaths, 53 more cases
Health officials in British Columbia announced Friday that four more people in the province have died as a result of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. 

B.C.’s top doctor refuses to discuss possible COVID-19 fatality rate
As Ontario health officials release grim and shocking predictions of the possible death toll in that province, the doctor overseeing British Columbia’s COVID-19 response won’t reveal the range she expects in her province. 

Potential COVID-19 treatment being tested on 200 patients next week
A drug that researchers hope could prevent people with COVID-19 from experiencing the most debilitating effects of the virus is moving forward with 200 human trials next week. 

No plans yet for Vancouver to step up enforcement of physical distancing rules
Two weeks into the city’s state of emergency, crowds at English Bay are noticeably thinner compared to a few weeks ago, and the city's mayor says he believes most residents are respecting physical distancing rules.  

Newlyweds separated by Canada-U.S. border restrictions 
Birgit Heinbach's American husband Ian Geddes crossed back into Washington state in mid-March. They never imagined they'd end up trapped on different sides of the border. 

2 people caught reselling N95 and surgical masks in Delta
Delta police said the individuals were reselling the masks at "highly inflated" prices

ICBC to explore impact of COVID-19 on its bottom line 
With roads emptier than usual and fewer accidents, ICBC has been directed to take a look at what that means for its bottom line and ultimately may inform what drivers pay. 

Tourism officials tell would-be visitors to B.C. to stay away – for now 
The latest tourism video from Destination British Columbia is discouraging travellers from paying the province a visit during the COVID-19 pandemic

YVR postcards pitch home as a travel destination
With tourist destinations around British Columbia telling people to stay away during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vancouver International Airport has created some virtual postcards aimed at selling would-be travellers on the virtues of their own homes. 

Health-care workers decry drivers using free hospital parking as a park-and-ride
People who work in hospitals say drivers have been taking advantage of the free parking even if they are not visiting a hospital. 

Vancouver outlines further support for Downtown Eastside during pandemic 
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says there are no known outbreaks or clusters of COVID-19 in the city's Downtown Eastside, but more needs to be done to keep it that way. 

Google data shows how British Columbians have reacted to COVID-19 measures
Visits to parks and home are up, while going to shops, transit stations and the office have dropped sharply. 

Canadian banks cutting credit card interest for some clients due to COVID-19 
Some major Canadian banks are cutting credit card interest by 50 per cent for small business and personal clients facing financial hardship because of COVID-19. 

New rules set for conduct of city council meetings

0403 – The province has issued a Ministry Order allowing changes to Council meeting processes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ministerial Order M083 outlines that local governments can hold their meetings electronically; that they can have open meetings and not invite the public in to the council or boardroom chambers; and, that they can pass three readings and the adoption of necessary bylaws in one meeting if the need arises due to emergent and time sensitive financial matters. SEE FULL LIST

B.C. Ferries shutting down Departure Bay route Saturday

0403 – BC Ferries is shutting down the Nanaimo-Horseshoe Bay route, effective Saturday. If you’re planning to go to the Lower Mainland by ferry you will have to go via Duke Point, which is on a reduced schedule. 

Services levels on multiple routes will be affected for the next 60 days to protect the health and safety of communities and ferry workers. FULL STORY

Province to self-isolate vulnerable populations

0402 - BC Housing is looking for temporary housing in Nanaimo to self-isolate vulnerable populations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. That could include various areas of the city, including hotels and other vacant buildings.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has established a Vulnerable Population Working Group that is working with local health authorities to address the immediate challenges faced by vulnerable people, including those who are homeless. 

Health authorities will identify people who require self-isolation and BC Housing will work with them and the operators to make these spaces available to them. FULL STORY

Small business owners worried about impact of COVID-19

The disastrous financial effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt deeply among small business owners, and it’s likely to result in an unprecedented level of possible permanent closures.

More than half of small business owners say this crisis will likely result in them closing temporarily.

Steve Mossop, president of Insights West, who conducted the poll, says small business owners across BC shows are worried about the negative financial impact of on their business. MORE

UPDATE: City remains 'open for business' during COVID-19

0402 – "We are open for business" is the message from Dale Lindsay, General Manager, Development Services, to a special City Council meeting Wednesday to discuss the City's response to COVID-19.

Each function of the city's operations provided a detailed update with the common message that the City facilities may be closed to the public but the work continues. The City is focused on keeping critical services running without interruption. This is a province-led emergency and the City is adhering to the Provincial health orders and many changes have been made to ensure compliance.  FULL STORY

Province boosts bursary funding for universities

The provincial government is providing $3.5 million to post-secondary institutions to boost their emergency bursary funds for students in need is welcome news for Vancouver Island University. Irlanda Price, Associate Vice-President of VIU’s Student Affairs department  says the money is going to help hundreds of VIU students meet basic needs so they can focus on finishing their semesters without worrying about where their next meal is coming from. FULL STORY

Closed U.S. border hitting street drug supply

0402 - The closed U.S. border has cut into the flow of illicit drugs – heroin, cocaine and fentanyl to Nanaimo’s streets.  The law of supply and demand has led to higher prices for street drugs 

 Drug users in downtown Nanaimo are experiencing anxiety as illicit drugs begin to run out and withdrawal pains set in.

Outreach worker Chris Klein said there is fear in the drug community now. “Running low and they’re scared that they’re gonna run out,” Klein told CHEK News. “Then we got a lot of sick people that are jonesing for drugs,” said Klein.

Some drug users get very sick from withdrawal, some even dying.

April 3, 2020

Mother who is now self-isolating says woman intentionally coughed on her
A Surrey, B.C., mother is in self-isolation, and says she's worried she may have been infected with COVID-19 after an interaction on a footpath turned nasty

Patient featured in trumpet video was COVID-positive, has died
A Vancouver man featured in a touching video posted by his daughter last week has died. 

6 more COVID-19 deaths in B.C., marking new deadliest day in province
Six more people have died from the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 in British Columbia, health officials announced Thursday, as the total number of identified cases worldwide topped 1 million.

B.C. health officials encouraged by COVID-19 numbers
The number of serious COVID-19 infections appears to be growing much more slowly in British Columbia than Ontario and Quebec, giving health officials reason to hope the severe restrictions imposed on public life weeks ago are working

B.C. family stuck in the Philippines pleads for repatriation flight 
Carla Olle and her husband Luis Rivera took their three kids on a spring break trip to the Philippines. 

B.C.'s plan for residents on income and disability assistance
The province will provide a $300 supplement each month for some residents who currently receive income and disability assistance. 

COVID-19 outbreak at high-security jail in B.C.'s Okanagan
B.C. health officials are responding to another community outbreak of COVID-19, this time at the Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver.

Vancouver cemetery asks recreational visitors to respect mourners
Not long after they made national headlines for crowding local beaches and parks in the midst of a pandemic, Vancouverites are flocking to the city’s only cemetery for bike rides and family fun to the point the facility is asking them to leave mourners in peace. 

Home share provider says she may face an impossible choice
Home share providers - who care for adults living with developmental disabilities - say they're worried about what will happen to those they care for if they contract COVID-19. 

Masks, gloves and a waiver: Showing real estate during COVID-19
Veteran West Vancouver realtor Malcolm Hasman is used to encouraging potential clients to sell their homes, but COVID-19 has changed that. 

Vancouver photographer captures life during pandemic for a good cause
They stand on balconies, porches, and front lawns, rain or shine. Some are posing with loved ones, pets, and even wearing onesies and clutching hockey sticks and stuffed toys. Those are just a few of the images Vancouver photographer Laura-Lee Gerwing has captured so far of people in Metro Vancouver stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Work under way to turn Vancouver Convention Centre into medical facility
The Vancouver Convention Centre was bustling with activity Thursday as workers prepped the iconic building to serve as a makeshift hospital, if necessary, during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

City of Vancouver temporarily lays off 1,500 staff members due to COVID-19
The City of Vancouver has announced it is temporarily laying off 1,500 staff members because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

B.C. truckers face disgusting problem in COVID-19 crisis
In recent days, frustrated truckers have been sharing pictures on social media of the unsanitary conditions in roadside restrooms they've encountered while hauling goods across British Columbia. 

Volunteers deliver groceries and prescriptions to isolated Vancouverites for free
A group of volunteers are delivering everything from groceries to pet supplies for Vancouver residents in isolation. 

Possible scam involving man claiming to be from Interior Health
Mounties in the British Columbia Interior are investigating a bizarre incident involving an elderly woman and someone who claimed to be a health-care worker, but may not have been. 

Vancouver launches new program to secure donations during pandemic​
The City of Vancouver has launched a new initiative it hopes will help connect with groups that wish to donate goods or services to help with the response to COVID-19.

April 2, 2020

THERE ARE 72 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island, an increase of three. The figures were announced by Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Wednesday. There are 1,066 total cases in B.C., with 606 people fully recovered and no longer requiring isolation. The death toll rose by one to 25.

THANK YOU to Helijet for offering free flights for health-care workers on work-related trips amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Helijet says that priority will be given to doctors, nurses and other health-care workers who may need to travel to and from the island quickly for patient care, or to attend urgent strategy briefings on the COVID-19 outbreak. Health-care workers can book free seats on any flights starting April 6, based on availability. Currently, flights are only being filled to half-capacity in order to ensure physical distancing guidelines can be followed. Helijet has terminals in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver.

MINERS’ HERITAGE PICNIC - This year’s picnic has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. The South End Community Association, which has staged the annual event, thanked the volunteers who worked so hard to on this year’s picnic. A news release stated the future is unsure, but they hope to have community-building event when this is all over.

NANAIMO AND AREA stepped up in a big way to a call for more personal protection equipment for those on the frontlines in Nanaimo during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nanaimo Division of Family Practice recently launched an online donation platform to accept items in short supply, like medical masks and face shields, hand sanitizer, as well as disposable gowns and gloves. Leslie Keenan, executive director, says thousands of critical items are being donated from a wide range of sources, from dental offices and construction sites to people’s basements. People are coming from across disciplines to try to make that happen, she told NanaimoNewsNOW.

GOOD NEWS FOR BREW LOVERS ­– The Longwood Brewery tasting room is temporarily closed, home delivery is now available. You can order online, pick your favourites, and add them to your cart. Deliveries take place from 1 - 6 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.

IT CAN’T GET ANY WORSE – Oh yes it can. A News Bulletin carrier, a kid, said more than one adult yelled at him for delivering the newspaper to their houses. Just a couple of weeks and people are already suffering cabin fever, or they are just plain jerks.

$300 monthly extra for some income assistance recipients

0402 – Income assistance recipients in B.C. who People who don’t qualify for federal emergency aid will receive an additional $300 for the next three months, starting with cheques being issued April 22. 

The additional assistance will not require an application for people who receive the payments and are not eligible for emergency federal support programs.

The B.C. COVID-19 crisis supplement also applies to low-income seniors who receive the B.C. Seniors Supplement or a comfort allowance for those in special care. That payment, which has been $49 a month for about 250,000 people, will increase to $300 for April, May and June, said Social Development Minister Shane Simpson. MORE

April 2, 2020

Steady home buyer demand in Metro Vancouver at the start of March 
Even in the middle of a global pandemic, Metro Vancouver home sales stayed steady through March, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says. 

Will Canada use smartphones to track and trace COVID-19 cases?
As provincial health officials struggle to control COVID-19, they are also being urged to use smartphone technology to help track and control the spread of the disease. 

B.C.'s dental conference linked to at least 44 cases
Thousands of people smiled, laughed, shook hands and conversed at one of the largest dental conferences in North America last month unaware of a deadly virus circling among them. 6

B.C.'s top doctor considers recommending face masks
As global health leaders consider whether recommending face masks for the general population could curb the spread of COVID-19, B.C.'s top doctor says she's been mulling over the same idea — with several caveats.  

B.C. launches $3.5M student emergency fund
The B.C. government is adding $3.5 million to the province’s emergency fund for post-secondary students. 

Protesters occupy vacant Surrey rec centre to demand housing during pandemic
Homeless activists and their supporters occupied the recently closed North Surrey Recreation Centre for several hours Wednesday night to call attention to the danger the COVID-19 pandemic poses to people living on the streets or in insufficient housing. 1

Credits, 'payment holidays' coming for some BC Hydro customers
BC Hydro is offering help for customers struggling to pay their electricity bills during the coronavirus pandemic with credits and even "payment holidays," the government said Wednesday.  

Alarming April Fools' Day post triggers criminal investigation
Mounties believe the post is a hoax and were told it was intended to be an April Fools' Day prank.  

Nearly 1,200 physical distancing warnings issued by Vancouver park rangers
Park rangers have issued about 1,200 warnings to people for not following physical distancing rules since the City of Vancouver declared a local state of emergency. 15

Conservative voters, men over 35 more likely to say COVID-19 threat overblown 
Certain demographics are more likely to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously than others, according to a new survey from the Angus Reid Institute. 

Education minister outlines changes to B.C. schooling during pandemic
Schools across B.C. are gearing up to launch distance learning as in-class teaching has been suspended indefinitely during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 15

This Vancouver mural features larger-than-life faces of public health officers
Paying homage to health-care workers and officials on the frontlines of the novel coronavirus pandemic, new murals have popped up outside a Vancouver art shop with a couple familiar faces on display. 

New wage subsidy means B.C. businesses can keep workers on payroll
Deep Cove Kayak was supposed to open for the season this past weekend. That didn't happen, but a co-owner of the business is optimistic that federal relief will mean she doesn't have to fire full-time employees. 

Nanaimo companies urged to join COVID supply Hub

Sheila Malcolmson, MLA

MLAs Sheila Malcolmson and Doug Routley want Nanaimo companies to assist a new COVID-19 Supply Hub connecting medical supplies to support front-line health care workers.

“Making sure our health care professionals in Nanaimo and across B.C. have the personal protective equipment they need to fight COVID-19 is vitally important,” said Malcolmson. “The COVID-19 Supply Hub will help businesses partner with the province to ensure a co-ordinated response.”

“We all have a part to play in fighting COVID-19 and I’m pleased our government has made it easier for businesses in Nanaimo to help out,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “The COVID-19 Supply Hub will help make sure health care professionals have the equipment they need when they need it.” MORE

 

Frontline workers who unselfishly protect the rest of us
Health care - emergency - protective services 

Wednesday, April 1

Deadliest day yet for COVID-19 in B.C.
B.C. health officials say five more people have died from COVID-19 since their last briefing on Monday, marking the single deadliest day since the virus was first recorded in the province.

'We're in this together': premier extends state of emergency 
Premier John Horgan said the province has taken "extraordinary measures" to keep residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the next 14 days are critical in the fight against the virus.

Large community outbreak detected in West Kelowna
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced on Tuesday that B.C. is investigating its first large community outbreak, which involves a group of temporary foreign workers. 

Will COVID-19 have an impact on the housing market? Here's what RBC thinks
RBC says it expects Canada's housing market will see a significant pullback this year because of both the physical distancing restrictions and economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak, but that it could rebound next year. 

Veteran Richmond mail carrier fearful, anxious about COVID-19 
The COVID-19 outbreak has many mail carriers on edge, and some have been asking for homeowners to do their part to keep everyone safe

Faced with high rents, B.C. businesses and families call for relief
British Columbian landlords, tenants and small business owners are united in their growing calls for the federal government to intervene in order to make some form of rent and mortgage relief a reality

How cities are changing waste collection during COVID-19 pandemic
While garbage and green bin collection is continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic across Metro Vancouver, some cities have announced changes to waste collection, and many municipalities are urging residents to avoid spring cleaning to prevent overload of facilities

Vigilantes are finding marked up products online and reporting the sellers
Even during a pandemic some people are trying to make a quick buck by targeting those in need of certain items

Staff member at Langley care home tests positive for novel coronavirus
A staff member at a Langley care home has tested positive for COVID-19, local health officials say. 

A Vancouver police officer has tested positive for COVID-19
A member of the Vancouver Police Department has been confirmed to have COVID-19, the VPD's media relations officer told CTV News Vancouver.

Health-care workers say thank you for nightly applause
Staff at Vancouver General Hospital's emergency department took to Instagram to express their appreciation for the nightly cheers of support. 

Most B.C. residents support fines for breaking quarantine, reselling goods
The novel coronavirus pandemic has dramatically altered daily life in B.C., with many facing layoffs, cancelled vacations and suspended classes. 

Walkers, grocery store customers courteous with physical distancing
Walkers offer a nod, a smile or a "hello" to each other but only after stepping aside to leave a wide berth on trails at a park they've escaped to in the age of physical distancing. 

Message on COVID-19 from Mayor Len Krog

Mayor Leonard Krog presents an end-of-week update on the pandemic situation as it affects our community.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB3lwotIIhc&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR2vWN12nyNnY8dEOLsMLOHxi90V4xeY09WWF_ISZLKlTTyzEgg_A8aljyI

British Columbia COVID-19 total passes 1,000-mark

Dr. Bonnie Henry

The number of COVID-19 cases in the province has passed the one-thousand mark, with 43 new ones reported by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Tuesday. There are 1,013 cases – 24 have died.

The youngest death was a person in the 60s, while the rest have been in their 70s or older. Four of the five just-announced deaths were in Vancouver Coastal Health, while one was in Fraser Health.

Fr. Henry called on young people to help the province flatten the curve as the province is hitting a critical juncture in the fight against the virus.

“Across the province, any gathering is a danger and none of them should be happening right now,” she said, aside from small groups of people from the same household.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

FIRST RESPONDERS know how hectic things get in the midst of battle so a number of them brought their vehicles with sirens and flashing lights outside the emergency department at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Monday night to salute hospital workers. Police cruisers, fire trucks and ambulances made a big impression during last night’s shift change at the hospital. “They’re going in every day not knowing whether they’re going to be dealing with a COVID-19 virus,” said RCMP Cst. Gary O’Brien. “We have the utmost respect for them and it’s the least we can do.” They plan to continue the tribute every night during the nurses shift change”.

TALK ABOUT RESPECT – Chevron gas stations in B.C. and Alberta are putting their money where their mouth is, giving a $10 gas discount for health-care workers and first responders amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The discount comes off every fill up of 20 litres or more once per person per day. The discount is also available to paramedics, police officers and firefighters. They need to show their professional identification or credentials, like an Island Health identification. The discount is available until April 17.

SHOPPING IN SAFETY – Possibly the most essential job we have to carry out during the Covid19 pandemic is grocery shopping. The B.C. government has set guidelines for grocery stores and food retailers. They are common sense like increasing sanitation policies, ensuring that clean carry-out bags are available, not allowing reusable bags, and restrictions on bulk items. They also recommend that stores create markers, like tape lines, every two metres at checkout lines to encourage physical distancing. Grocery stores are exempt from the ban of gatherings larger than 50 people as long as they are able to ensure physical distancing. Guidelines also include installing hand sanitizer dispensers near doors, pay stations and other high touch locations and limiting the number of employees who handle cash or credit cards.

AN EXCELLENT medical site re the virus, complements of Gary Korpan. MedCram Covid info re sleep etc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1zsE9_85i4

 

Virus information from Johns Hopkins University

There is a lot of misunderstanding about viruses and pandemics. The following is from an assistant professor in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University. It is presented for information purposes.

The virus is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular, nasal or buccal mucosa, changes their genetic code. (mutation) and convert them into aggressor and multiplier cells.

Since the virus is not a living organism but a protein molecule, it is not killed, but decays on its own. The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Tuesday, March 31

Crisis workers see spike in domestic violence concerns during pandemic
The pandemic is raising the danger facing women in abusive relationships, crisis workers say, leading to one frontline organization being flooded with calls and emails. 

Thieves steal paramedic's work gear in East Vancouver
A local East Vancouver paramedic has been left without any of her work gear after thieves stole her bag from the trunk of her car. 

Court considers ways to deliver Meng decision in distant manner
The B.C. Supreme Court is considering creative ways to deliver a decision in an extradition hearing for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou as a global pandemic restricts travel and gatherings.

Trudeau says more medical supplies coming in days as industry retools
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the federal government is spending $2 billion to procure more diagnostic testing, ventilators, and personal protective equipment for front-line workers in the COVID-19 fight, with some supplies set to be ready within days

Parking ticket updates: Enforcement suspended at B.C. hospitals 
Changes were announced Monday to how paid parking is enforced in the City of Vancouver and at B.C. medical facilities

B.C. teachers back at work, but online learning still weeks away
Spring break is over, but with regular in-class instruction suspended indefinitely at all B.C. public and private schools, the vast majority of K-12 students won’t be going back to school anytime soon.

Distancing seems to be slowing spread of COVID-19 in Washington
Public health officials and researchers said Monday social distancing appears to be helping slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Seattle area, where many of the first U.S. deaths occurred, but Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says that the public still needs to be prepared for the state's current two-week stay-at-home order to be extended

Island school district says remote learning will be available by mid-April
As schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a very different return from spring break for students on Vancouver Island this year. 

Chevron offering gas discount for B.C. health-care workers
Chevron gas stations are now offering a gas discount for B.C. and Alberta health-care workers amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

B.C. releases guidelines for grocery stores during pandemic
The B.C. government has released several guidelines on how to protect against the spread of COVID-19 for grocery stores and food retailers across the province. 

Two ferry sailings cancelled due to medical emergency

The Queen of Cowichan has cancelled two sailings due to a medical emergency experienced by a passenger, which required immediate attention.
 
8:00 pm departing Departure Bay
10:10 pm departing Horseshoe Bay
 
BC Ferries strives to inform customers as early as possible of any changes to scheduled sailings. The most up-to-date sailing and departure information is at @BC Ferries on Twitter, or the  Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call toll free at 1-888-223-3779.
 

Monday, March 30

I MADE A NECESSARY trip to one of our malls on Monday and was astounded at the number of people who don't observe the six-foot social separation law. That's what Attorney-General Mike Farnworth called it the other day – a law. There were cautionary signs all over the mall and in the stores relating to the six-foot separation. You have to wonder whether a mass sector of our population remains uniformed or their elevator doesn't go the the penthouse.

NEARLY HALF of the people who contracted the Covid19 virus have recovered. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today that 48 per cent have recovered completely. She said 467 people have been released from isolation, including over 70 were in hospital or ICU over the last few weeks. She added that’s really a testament to the importance of people being in hospital at the right time, being ventilated at the right time if they need it and recovering from this. Over the last 48 hours, seven new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Vancouver Island, bringing the total number of cases to 67.

WESTJET HAS CANCELLED all transatlantic and U.S. routes until May 4. There will be no flights to the U.S., Europe, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean due to the flu pandemic.  Porter Airlines and Air Transat have suspended all flights. Air Canada has cancelled most of its international and U.S. flights in response to the global shutdown. There is now a travel ban that bars people with symptoms of the novel coronavirus from domestic flights and intercity trains, effective today. The pandemic has cost thousands of jobs in the airline sector. Air Canada has announced 5,149 layoffs and Transat 3,600, while WestJet has seen 6,900 departures including early retirements, resignations and both voluntary and involuntary leaves.

THE FLU PANDEMIC has had a major impact on Alcoholics Anonymous groups started cancelling meetings across Canada and the United States. Some of the organization’s Toronto members turned to their cell phones. What started weeks ago as a group chat to let people know which AA meetings were closing soon turned into discussions on how to set up online versions of the support network. Now, AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings are operating nationwide using Zoom, Google Hangouts and other video-conferencing systems.

ONTARIO FLU SPIKES – Ontario's 351 new cases of Covid-19 is the highest in a single day, bringing the to total to 1,706. Health officials are attributing the jump partly to the clearing of a backlog of pending test results. There were 23 deaths in the province as of Monday morning, but later in the afternoon, health officials confirmed 10 more fatalities.

 

Monday, March 30, 2020

B.C. senior initially denied COVID-19 test found out he had it after 2 seizures
A Vancouver-area senior who was initially denied the test for novel coronavirus, according to his family, is now on a ventilator in hospital.  

COVID-19 spreads to 13th care home in Lower Mainland
Another care home in the Lower Mainland has been hit with the novel coronavirus, health officials say

Emergency doctor says B.C. still not testing enough for COVID-19
A doctor working in the emergency department at Royal Columbian Hospital says British Columbia is still not doing enough testing for COVID-19 and that means the number of confirmed cases does not paint an accurate picture of the spread of virus within the province.  

B.C. crafters and makers organize to make masks, face shields and even ventilators 
People who want to help should should consider joining an established group to make sure what they’re making is safe and useful, says a doctor who is active in the maker movement

Majority of Canadians think COVID-19 pandemic will get worse \
A majority of Canadians say they are pessimistic about the outlook of the COVID-19 pandemic but support the federal government's response to the crisis, according to the latest survey from Nanos Research.

B.C.'s virus growth rate positively impacted by public health measures
A new modelling system released by B.C.'s health officials not only showcases the trajectory of COVID-19 in the province, but how authorities are preparing to care for patients as needed. 

Phillips Brewing using 3D printer to make face shields for front line workers
Breweries and distilleries around British Columbia have been making hand sanitizer for first responders and other essential workers who can't do their jobs from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emergency doctor says B.C. still not testing enough for COVID-19
A doctor working in the emergency department at Royal Columbian Hospital says British Columbia is still not doing enough testing for COVID-19 and that means the number of confirmed cases does not paint an accurate picture of the spread of virus within the province.

B.C. food banks get $3 million funding boost from government
Food banks in B.C. had called for extra donations to help deal with COVID-19 need.

Keeping busy with online courses during self-isolation
People all across the world are self-isolating and trying their best to stay busy. Whether it’s watching Netflix, picking up old habits or working out, the digital world is exploding with new opportunities. That includes educational ones, many of which are being offered online for free. 

Here's what Victoria residents are buying online during COVID-19 isolation
With the vast majority of Victorians self-isolating due to COVID-19, popular community classifieds website Used Victoria has released the city’s five most searched items over the past two weeks.

B.C. health officials preparing for worst-case COVID-19 scenario
Health officials in British Columbia are clearing out hospital beds and moving ventilators around the province in the unlikely event that B.C.'s novel coronavirus outbreak reaches infection rates on par with Northeårn Italy. 

Health-care workers looking to isolate get help from their communities
Hotel and property owners are offering rent at a reduced rate for front line workers.

B.C. farmers markets move online during COVID-19 pandemic
In the coming months, farmers markets in B.C. will play a key role in feeding people while supporting local farmers during the COVID-19 crisis as the province encourages them to move their operations online. 

Sunday, March 29

MORE COVID ON VANCOUVER ISLAND – Vancouver Island has three more confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 60 in the Island Health Region. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Saturday,  the number of confirmed cases in B.C. has risen 92 new cases to 884 including one additional death. Dr. Henry also said 396 patients have recovered, which is 45 per cent of all cases. MORE

B.C. FERRIES has initiated Phase 4 of its pandemic response plan, and could cancel more sailings as riders are staying away while social distancing and self-isolation. This phase involves essential traffic only as well as potential changes to sailing and shift schedules. A threshold of a certain number of sick employees would have triggered Phase 4, but Deborah Marshall of B.C. Ferries, said that wasn’t the case, the trigger is due to the downturn in traffic. MORE

STUDENTS SHOULD STAY HOME – Students are asked to stay away from school until they are invited to return after spring break ends tomorrow. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools wants students to continue stay at home. In a letter to parents, Superintendent and CEO Scott Saywell said the district will proceed slowly with a course of action. Principals will connect remotely with their staff, planning and building capacity to provide learning opportunities. Parents will be informed by your child’s teacher with more detail for the continuity of learning. Staff will also reconnect vulnerable students with food programs. And parents should not come to schools to pick up any of their children’s personal effects, unless authorized by their principal or teacher. MORE

THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION has launched an online tool to keep kids learning at home while plans are being made by teachers. Keep Learning B.C. has a list of free, everyday educational activities for every age, designed to support the B.C. curriculum www.openschool.bc.ca/KeepLearning. More specifics are expected in the coming weeks and families can expect to hear from school principals shortly. MORE

HEALTH CARE WORKERS NEED HELP – A global shortage of protective equipment for health care workers is impacting supplies in Nanaimo, says the Nanaimo Division of Family Practice. They are launching a local campaign for donations of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chairman Dr. Roger Walmsley said health care professionals have supplies now, but Nanaimo Division wants to ensure no disruption while waiting for new supplies. Individuals and organizations can donate gloves, masks, gowns, eye protection, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Those supplies will be shared throughout the regional district, including Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, private clinics and to other health-care workers. MORE

Sunday, March 29

Langford expanding COVID-19 home testing pilot project
Home testing started on Thursday, but Langford Mayor Stew Young said the service has already been expanded to the entire West Shore. 

Here's what Victoria residents are buying online during COVID-19 isolation
With the vast majority of Victorians self-isolating due to COVID-19, popular community classifieds website Used Victoria has released the city’s five most searched items over the past two weeks. 

B.C. health officials preparing for 'worst-case' COVID-19 scenario
Health officials in British Columbia are clearing out hospital beds and moving ventilators around the province in the unlikely event that B.C.'s novel coronavirus outbreak reaches infection rates on par with Northern Italy. 

Health-care workers looking to isolate get help from their communities
Hotel and property owners are offering rent at a reduced rate for front line workers. 

B.C. farmers markets move online during COVID-19 pandemic
In the coming months, farmers markets in B.C. will play a key role in feeding people while supporting local farmers during the COVID-19 crisis as the province encourages them to move their operations online. 

Girl Guide cookies to be sold at Save-On-Foods due to COVID-19
The Girl Guides of Canada and Save-On-Foods have partnered to sell the community organization’s famous cookies at the grocery chain amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Trudeau says he'll keep self-isolating, announces new help for charities
Sophie Trudeau has been given a clean bill of health, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he'll continue to self-isolate because he can't rule out that he acquired the novel coronavirus from her. 

MP's mother among 40,000 Canadians stranded in India
Surrey-Newton MP Sukh Dhaliwal says his mother is among the thousands of Canadian citizens unable to get home from India while the country is in a mandatory lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Avoid challenging hikes and climbs during COVID-19 pandemic
Members of search and rescue organizations in British Columbia have not seen the number of calls go down, and that's putting search and rescue teams at risk of getting sick with COVID-

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients could be studied as treatment 
Researchers in Canada are looking at the use of a blood product from recovered COVID-19 patients as a potential treatment, but are also urging caution. 

Burnaby Hospital staff fear virus transmission on special COVID-19 ward
An employee at Burnaby Hospital working in a special unit for confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 has reached out to CTV News Vancouver with concerns about the way the virus is being handled at the hospital. 

Vancouver mulls street closures to make physical distancing easier 
The City of Vancouver is exploring the idea of closing some streets to vehicle traffic to allow people to walk for exercise and keep physical distance. 

Uncertainty for businesses as Ottawa announces more aid
The federal government has announced new measures aimed at supporting small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, including government-backed loans and a much higher wage subsidy. However, there is still uncertainty around when and how that help will materialize. 

RCMP confirms first six cases of COVID-19, including one in B.C.
Six RCMP employees have caught the novel coronavirus so far, including at least one in British Columbia. 

More of the good guys stepping forward when needed

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring posted on Facebook, something that we can all applaud.

I can't say enough about our business community. I got an email yesterday from someone who had - he thought - between 750 and 1000 surgical masks sitting in a warehouse.

(The reasons he bought them in the first place are not important, although to be clear, this person is not primarily in the medical supply business.)  

This morning, he took a closer look. Turns out there were more there than he thought. 800 of those masks are on their way to Nanaimo as I write this. The rest - possibly another thousand or so - are going to CDH.

The individual who contacted me doesn't want any attention. He wants to remain anonymous.  
Oh, and in an era of price gouging for these essentials, he's DONATING them. And he's trying to get more in from his overseas supplier so he can donate those as well.

I also got another email this morning from a major meat/protein processor in the region. This time, an offer of an ongoing supply, by donation, to local food banks. And again, a request to remain anonymous.

Wow. Just wow!!

Vancouver Island COVID-19 number hits 57 confirmed cases

Vancouver Island has five more confirmed confirmed COVID-19 cases, now totalling 57.
There are 792 cases across the province with two additional deaths. Sixteen people have died in B.C. because of the crisis.
The number of confirmed cases which now test negative jumped substantially, up to 275 patients.

MORE

Saturday, March 28, 2020

INTERNET MEDICINE – It doesn't seem to matter how often people are told not to use the internet for medical advice. First there was a couple ingesting fish tank cleaner because an ingredient "sounded" like a touted drug. The man died and his wife is in serious condition. Now comes a report of some people south of the border drinking methol alcohol as a treatment for COVID-19. Methol alcohol is also known as wood alcohol, totally different than booze. It's a poison. If you did not get it from a medical professional, keep it out of your mouth

NANAIMO YOUTH SERVICES members have stepped into the breech, they are handing out food boxes on Thursdays at their downtown location for youth and their families. The food boxes are filled with perishable and non-perishable goods from the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank. Program organizer Aakash Pawar told NanaimoNewsNOW three people used the service the first time it was offered on Thursday. CHECK IT OUT

NOW IT’S GETTING SERIOUS, no more free samples. Bothwell Cheese, in Manitoba, has suspended all sampling in their cheese shop. Hand sanitizer is available for customers and they’ve limited the number of customers allowed in the store to two, and customers must keep a six-foot distance between themselves and Cheese Shop staff. Don’t touch it if you’re not intending to buy it. Little known fact, Bothwell Cheese is a Nanaimo-owned company operating in Manitoba.

LOCAL HALTH CARE WORKERS need help in getting more essential personal protective equipment. The Chamber of Commerce is getting the word out. They need N-95 surgical masks, procedure masks, face shields, goggles, gloves and disposable gowns. Home-made masks and cloth gowns cannot be accepted but they are needed at seniors facilities and other places. Contact Beccy Robson at brobson@divisionsbc.ca

FREE ECOMMERCE – So your doors are shut and business is at a standstill. Fret not, go online like so many businesses today. ThrivingLocally has come up with a new campaign to help, offering local businesses their own eCommerce webstore at no cost. This service is available to any small business, anywhere in Canada. ThrivingLocally has made eCommerce easy for businesses by getting stores up in running in days, not weeks or months. For more information, visit their website or send them an email. Email Now or visit their  Website

Saturday, March 28

Plasma from recovered patients in Canada could be studied as potential treatment 
Researchers in Canada are looking at the use of a blood product from recovered COVID-19 patients as a potential treatment, but are also urging caution.

Canadians with COVID-19 symptoms to be rejected domestic flights
As of Monday at noon, Canadians who show any symptoms of COVID-19 will be denied boarding on all domestic flights and trains

B.C. Green party suspends leadership race over COVID-19
British Columbia's Green party is suspending its leadership contest because of the new coronavirus pandemic. 

Vancouver shuts Tim Hortons store for failing to follow COVID-19 orders
The City of Vancouver has forced a Tim Hortons to close temporarily after the establishment allegedly failed to follow the city's COVID-19 orders. 

B.C.'s virus growth rate positively impacted by public health measures: Henry
A new modelling system released by B.C.'s health officials not only showcases the trajectory of COVID-19 in the province, but how authorities are preparing to care for patients as needed

 Nurse fined $80 for forgetting to pay in hospital parking lot 
She arrived at the hospital, parked and started her shift on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, forgetting one small but crucial step: paying for her parking.

Burnaby Hospital staff fear virus transmission on special COVID-19 ward
An employee at Burnaby Hospital working in a special unit for confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 has reached out to CTV News Vancouver with concerns about the way the virus is being handled at the hospital. 

B.C. launching $3M relief plan for arts industry
The B.C. government is launching a new $3 million "Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement" for people in the arts industry who are unable to work due to COVID-19. 

Vancouver mulls street closures to make physical distancing easier for pedestrians 
The City of Vancouver is exploring the idea of closing some streets to vehicle traffic to allow people to walk for exercise and keep physical distance. 

Uncertainty for businesses as Ottawa announces more aid
The federal government has announced new measures aimed at supporting small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, including government-backed loans and a much higher wage subsidy. However, there is still uncertainty around when and how that help will materialize. 

RCMP confirms first six cases of COVID-19, including at least one in B.C.
Six RCMP employees have caught the novel coronavirus so far, including at least one in British Columbia. 

YVR expects half of airport workers to be laid off because of pandemic
Vancouver International Airport predicts more than half of its workforce will be laid off as it faces what its CEO calls "the biggest challenge" the airport has ever faced. 

Woman slapped with parking ticket while dropping off groceries for a friend
When Lindsay McGill was dropping off some groceries at a friend’s house, there was no free parking available, so she quickly parked at a meter and ran up to the door. 

International ferry group that includes BC Ferries calls for bailouts
An international trade organization that includes BC Ferries as a member is calling on governments around the world to bail out the ferry industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Friday, March 27

HARBOUR AIR SEAPLANES has suspended all scheduled flights until at least May 4 due to COVID-19. Their doors are not shut all the way; Harbour Air Seaplanes is deemed an essential service in B.C. and will continue to offer charter services including private flights, freight and government support services, as required. This announcement comes after other seaplane companies on the Island halted all operations.

ISLAND SAVINGS and Credit Union branches have revised hours of operation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Woodgrove Centre Branch is open 10 am. to 4 p.m. daily, Tuesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The credit union has increased member support by phone. They are really pushing online and mobile banking services, available 24/7. Additionally, you can call the Member Advice Centre at 1-888-597-1083 .

BUTCHART GARDENS has closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The gardens says it will review the closure in 14 days and update its website with the latest info on reopening. Butchart Gardens 

COMMUNITY RESPONSE FUND – The Nanaimo Foundation and Tom Harris Community Foundation are launching the $150,000 Nanaimo Community Response Fund, providing financial assistance to charities in the Nanaimo, Lantzville, Ladysmith, Cedar and Gabriola Island aiding in efforts related to coronavirus. While the fund’s purpose will adapt to address areas of most need, Laurie Bienert, Nanaimo Foundation executive director, said it will initially deal with food, assistance for vulnerable seniors and housing for low-income families affected by COVID-19 related closures.

VANCOUVER ISLAND SENIORS can get the support they need during the COVID-19 crisis through a new province-wide initiative, Safe Seniors, Strong Communities. Seniors can request volunteer help with grocery shopping, meal prep and prescription pick-up or receive friendly check-in call by simply dialing 2-1-1 or filling in an online form at www.bc211.ca. It’s a partnership between United Way’s Better at Home program, bc211 and the B.C. Government through the Ministry of Health. Once a seniors contact bc211, they will be connected with a volunteer in their region who can help them seven days a week during daytime hours.
About bc211
bc211 is a Vancouver-based non-profit organization that specializes in providing information and referral regarding community, government and social services in BC. Our help line services include 211, the Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service (ADIRS), the Gambling Support Line BC, the Shelter and Street Help Line, VictimLink BC.

Friday, March 27

What is it like to self-isolate when you live alone?
The message has been driven home by health officials – if you don’t need to leave your house, stay home. For families, that means finding activities to do together. But what if you live alone? 

COVID-19 in B.C.: Health officials to outline new virus modelling
B.C. is about to a get a new modelling system for tracking cases of COVID-19. 

Prescriptions for unproven COVID-19 treatments not to be filled
British Columbia's College of Pharmacists is telling its members not fill prescriptions for certain medications if the drugs are being prescribed for unproven uses, outside of a clinical trial. 

Chilliwack woman shares experience with COVID-19
A 38-year-old Chilliwack woman is sharing her story from a Calgary-area hospital after being infected with COVID-19

Liquor sales up 40 per cent in B.C. during COVID-19 scare
Rest assured, there's no shortage of booze in the province, so nobody needs to rush to their local liquor store. 

B.C. identifies 66 new COVID-19 cases, bringing provincial total to 725
|Health officials have announced another 66 cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, bringing the provincial total to 725

Some are calling 911 to report their neighbours aren't self-isolating
Metro Vancouver's emergency dispatch centre in East Vancouver is seeing a surge of calls about COVID-19, but not all of them are from people with symptoms of the virus

Here are the changes B.C. to the province's state of emergency
Dramatic measures are being taken in B.C. to address the spread of novel coronavirus, Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, announced Thursday. 

Looking to help? B.C. will now match volunteers with isolated seniors
An advocate for B.C. seniors outlined the province's next steps in taking care of one of its most at-risk groups: the elderly

YVR travellers react to mandatory quarantine rules
Travellers returning to Canada from abroad are voicing some confusion about the federal government’s new travel restrictions. 

What you should know about touching in public places
While we are asked to isolate and distance ourselves, it is necessary to go out at time for basic essentials. Here's what you need to know to try to keep yourself safe

Metro Vancouver cities identifying facilities for makeshift hospitals
The provincial government is calling on British Columbia's cities to offer possible venues for potential expansion of critical medical and logistical infrastructure – and some of Metro Vancouver's biggest cities are already responding with long lists and pledges of support. 

B.C. offering safe supply to some drug users to minimize harm during crisis
The B.C. government has announced it will be providing a safe drug supply to some users in an attempt to minimize harm during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Half of bus seats will be left vacant as of next week, TransLink says
In its latest effort to promote physical distancing, Metro Vancouver's transit provider will be blocking off some bus seats to keep passengers apart. 

B.C. teachers reach tentative agreement amid COVID-19 crisi
After more than a year of bargaining, the union representing B.C. teachers says it has reached a tentative agreement in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. 

PM hikes wage subsidy so smaller businesses 'come back strong'
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a major increase to the wage subsidy for small- and medium-sized businesses, boosting it to 75 per cent, up from the 10 per cent .

B.C. bans resale of food, essential goods amid COVID-19 pandemic
The B.C. government announced sweeping new measures to ban the resale of food, medical supplies and protective equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday

Vancouver Island schools busy with plans to keep kids learning 
With spring break coming to an end, many parents are wondering what to do with their children who are still at home during COVID-19 school closures. 

What each province is offering during the COVID-19 pandemic
CTVNews.ca has compiled a cross-country guide to exactly what each province and territory is directly offering those whose jobs have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Regional District of Nanaimo urging visitors to avoid community
The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is asking for all tourists and residents to avoid unnecessary travel to and from the region amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Hundreds of Vancouver Island doctors renew call for COVID-19 self-isolation 
Nearly 750 family doctors across Victoria and the South Island are calling on the community to urgently follow the province’s health orders, like practicing physical distancing and staying at home in self-isolation.

Government releases 'essential services' list

0327 -The BC Government has released an official list of what it highlights as an ‘essential service’ in the province.

“Essential services are those daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. They are the services British Columbians rely on in their daily lives,” said the province in a press release. 

This definition was created by Emergency Management BC in collaboration with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to help clarify what services qualify during the COVID-19 pandemic. MORE

Bylaw officers engaged to monitor coronavirus rules

Mike Farnworth

Municipal bylaw officers are now empowered to enforce orders outlined by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, this morning announced new measures to address the spread of novel coronavirus.

"Dr. Henry's orders aren't suggestions. They are the law," Farnworth said at a news conference Thursday.

"To that end we will be enabling municipal bylaw officers to be redeployed to help ensure compliance with the provincial health officer's recommendations and orders. Orders which could carry fines or even jail time."

Those orders include physical distancing, the closure of some businesses and bans on gatherings of more than 50 people. But Premier John Horgan and Farnworth did not go as far as saying B.C. was under a lockdown. 

"Dr. Henry has been abundantly clear that if you don't need to be out, stay home. That includes not just travelling to the Okanagan or not travelling to Prince Rupert, it means stay home," Horgan said. MORE DETAILS

 

RCMP issue alert about fraudulent text scam

0326 – Nanaimo RCMP have issued a warning about a fraudulent COVID-19 text that has surfaced in Nanaimo and other communities across Canada.

The text message indicates it is from the Emergency Relief Fund and that $1375.50 dollars has been deposited in to your bank account. It is a scam, Do Not respond. Ignore the text or delete it. Afterwards, take a few minutes and share this information with family and friends to ensure they do not fall prey to this scam.

For continued updates on COVID-19 scams and frauds surfacing, almost daily, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 

  Stay at home, Stop the Spread, Save Lives

Thursday, March 26, 2020

MANY PEOPLE ARE PITCHING IN to help during the COVID-19 pandemic by making face masks at home to help the cause. Here's a link that has the instructions and a video on how to make them. FACE MASK and the VIDEO. If you try it let me know how it works out. merv@nanaimonet.com

WHILE MANY PEOPLE can’t go to work, the gang at Harmac Pulp is busier than ever producing pulp to meet the demands for medical supplies. Harmac produces a soft blend of pulp from cedar, which is used to make medical masks, gowns, drapes, screens, and other hospital supplies that are much needed during the COVID-19 crisis. The U.S. company that's been ordering the K10S pulp for years suddenly doubled its orders last week. "We're not the doctors, nurses, or paramedics on the frontlines, but we're making a product that will wind up on the frontlines," said Harmac president Levi Sampson.

FALLING FUEL PRICES BC Ferries will bring in a 1.5 per cent fuel rebate, effective April 1. The company also announced it is delaying annual tariff adjustments in light of the COVID-19 situation and the impact it is having on customers. The rebate varies on routes, but the Departure Bay and Duke Point routes will get a 90-cent rebate, one  way, for a car and passengers will get a 30 cent cut. The tariff adjustment planned for April 1, will go into effect at a date to be determined. For information about travelling with BC Ferries during the COVID-19 situation, visit bcferries.com.

LONDON DRUGS is responding to shopping needs of seniors and vulnerable people with a special time of 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday to Friday. But they’ve gone a step further with special shopping for health care workers, first responders and active military, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday. Sundays and holidays, 7 p.m. to  p.m.

THE PORT THEATRE has lost its bid for Community Infrastructure Program grant funding for a performing arts centre expansion. Mayor Leonard Krog said he and City Council are extremely disappointed. “We all recognize what an important project this is to the City of Nanaimo," he said. The $21.2-million performing arts centre has been a vision of the Port Theatre Society for years. MORE

SALVATION ARMY has closed its Thrift Stores and is not able to accept donations at this time. You should NOT drop off things off at the stores any more than you’d drop them off at any other business. Set your donations aside until they reopen. It’s a great opportunity to sort the good stuff from the garbage and properly dispose of broken things or things that really shouldn’t be dropped off there in the first place.

YOU CAN HELP – The social atmosphere we find ourselves in has prodded many of us to pitch in an help where needed. George Pilarski 73, lost his home and belongings when the camper truck he was living in caught fire after a crash in Nanaimo. is living in a shelter in Nanaimo. The truck was insured, but the camper he was living in and all his possessions were not. Some kind local people are now trying to help George with a GoFundMe campaign. Check HERE for the full story, or view or donate to the GoFundMe, visit this link

Province brings in assistance for renters

Premier John Horgan

The B.C. government has announced a new renters' rebate and a freeze on evictions across the province. Premier John Horgan said on Wednesday the government is offering struggling renters up to $500 a month for four months to ensure they don't lose their homes. But Horgan stressed that the money should only be claimed by those who need it to get them through the ongoing public health emergency.

"If you can pay your rent, you should pay your rent," the premier said. "This fund is there to help people who are in genuine distress. The fewer people who access the program, the more ability we have to expand it going forward."

The government also announced it is suspending all "current and future evictions' until the pandemic, which has already prompted hundreds of thousands of job losses across the country, has passed. MORE

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Here are the changes B.C. just announced to the province's state of emergency
Dramatic measures are being taken in B.C. to address the spread of novel coronavirus, Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, announced Thursday. 

What is B.C. doing to help seniors during the pandemic? Update coming today
The province is expected to announce additional plans for helping seniors stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak in B.C. 

Officials concerned over lack of PPE for health-care workers
B.C.’s top doctor acknowledged Wednesday what health-care workers have been saying for weeks – that there is a shortage of the personal protective equipment (PPE) meant to protect them on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis

New coronavirus numbers expected from B.C.'s provincial health officer
B.C.'s provincial health officer is expected to provide the latest update on novel coronavirus in the province later on Thursday. 

B.C. paramedics see surge in 911 calls for COVID-19, reluctance to go to hospital 
With the novel coronavirus continuing to spread, paramedics and ambulance dispatchers in B.C. are seeing some changing trends in the calls they're receiving. 

B.C.'s premier, solicitor general to share next steps in state of emergency
Eight days after B.C. declared a provincial state of emergency over the novel coronavirus pandemic, the premier is expected to give an update

Break-ins quadruple in Vancouver as stores shut for COVID-19
A security guard is now posted 24/7 outside the Lululemon store in downtown Vancouver, and the building is covered in plywood. 23

Can I have just a couple guests over? Is it OK to meet at the park?
Some have convinced themselves it's OK to meet friends for a walk in the park, or have just a couple guests over to their home. Sadly, that's not the case.  23

42 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, 1 new death in B.C.
British Columbia's provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 42 new positive tests for COVID-19 in the province Wednesday, bringing the provincial total to 659 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.  

B.C. suspends evictions, offers renters' rebate of up to $500 a monthAs more and more people face layoffs due to the COVID-19 crisis, the B.C. government has announced a new renters' rebate and a freeze on evictions across the province. 23

Parents developed COVID-19 symptoms after Vegas trip but can't get tested 
When Mike Giesbrecht picked up his phone to call his parents after they returned from Las Vegas, he wasn’t expecting to hear his dad sounding so unwell.  

'It's tough': small businesses finding new ways to survive during pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many small businesses to close. Those that haven't are trying to find ways to adapt and make up for lost business.  

Evo vehicles only for 'essential trips' now, car share company says
Evo users are being asked to limit their use of the car sharing vehicles to "essential trips" until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – it's day 13 of self-isolation and looking to get out of the house. We pointed out yesterday how people can help fellow Nanaimoites during the Covid-19 virus crisis. One place where you could be really helpful is the Nanaino 7-10 Club which desperately needs volunteers. If you are healthy they can use you hands to feed the hungry in our city. Find out more by calling 250-714-0917 or email info@nanaimo710Club.com or go down to the club at 285 Prideaux Street and tell the staff you are there to help.

LIFELABS group of medical laboratories has joined B.C. health authority facilities in ramping up testing for the COVID-19 to 3,500 a day as positive tests continued to rise to 617 as of March 24. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new capacity allows the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to continue “aggressively test health care workers,” and investigate community infections and surveillance testing, such as adding COVID-19 to routine influenza testing.

PUT A HOLD ON GIFTS – No more flower or gift delivery, please. Island Health is asking people not send gifts to patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities. It’s all designed keep patients and staff safe while following the provincial health officer’s recommendations for social distancing.

IT’S IN YOU TO GIVE – So, instead of flowers and other gifts, here's an alternative idead. Three blood donation clinics scheduled in Nanaimo are nearly or completely booked, which rarely happens. The clinics are set for for March 31, April 1 and 2.  Blood and patients are going to need help this week, this month and in the long-term.

NANAIMO-LADYSMITH member of Parliament Paul Manly wants greater wage subsidies and other financial supports to help Canadian small and medium business owners weather the COVID-19 pandemic. He likes the government's pledge to provide a wage subsidy to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) but says limiting it to 10 per cent of the worker’s wage doesn't go nearly far enough. “Small business owners are having to make agonizing choices”. With a drastic drop in sales due to forced closures, how can SMEs retain staff?  Some Western European countries are offering business wage subsidies of 75 to 90 per cent,” says Manly.

EVRYTHING IS GOING HIGH TECH and that includes learning. Some schools are maintaining classes via the internet during these uncertain times. Jacqui Kaese has developed one-on-one training into the world of acting in film, with weekly meetings through Zoom.us and homework, working on scene study, audition skills, career development, the actors tool box, gaining agency representation, and how to negotiate through the professional maze of the film industry. Sessions suit individual needs from beginner to those who wish to keep audition skills sharp. She’s using Facetime and Skype but you can sign up at   www.spotlightacademy.com or text 250 714 2555 or email thereelspotlight@gmail.com  

VIU ON THE WEB – While they may not be in face-to-face classes, students at Vancouver Island University are still working hard to complete their education. However, students are also dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, including reduced hours or no employment, finding daycare, and keeping themselves and their families safe and healthy with limited resources. The VIU Students has made a leadership gift of $75,000, which has been matched by the VIU Foundation, to help establish a $250,000 fund for Emergency Student Bursaries. The community can join the students’ union in donating. Some students are struggling with serious financial issues, including reduced or non-existent job opportunities, which many relied on to make rent or put food on the table. MORE

SCAM SCUM - As the world battles the spread of COVID-19, some people have taken to using the pandemic as a new way to scam vulnerable individuals. Locally, there have been only a handful of callers to the Nanaimo RCMP reporting they were contacted by scammers asking for donations for COVID-19. Anyone who has lost money or divulged personal information to a scammer, either online or in person, should contact the non-emergency line of the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

OPEN OR CLOSED – A lot of people in self-isolation are looking around at how they can resume a near normal life. Some businesses are offering takeout or delivery. If you’re open, let us know and we’ll publish a list of those who are open so the public knows where to go. Just drop us an email saying “hey, we’re open” and give the details. editor@nanaimonet.com

Guard against proliferation of Covid-related scams

As the world gears up to curb the spread of COVID-19, some people have taken to using the pandemic as a new way to scam vulnerable populations.

Scammers play on fears and anxiety to push their scams. They brazenly set up fake websites to sell bogus products, use fake emails, texts, and a variety of other fake social media posts, including false testimonials, as a ruse to obtain money and personal information from people.

For the sole reason of soliciting donations and playing on your goodwill, scammers have been spreading misinformation about COVID-19, offering advice on unproven treatments, protective gear or detection kits, or fake home sanitizing services. FULL LIST

March 25

B.C. makes hospital preparations for influx of COVID-19 patients
Nearly 3,900 empty beds are available in hospitals around British Columbia in preparation for a possible influx of patients sickened with COVID-19, the health minister says. 

BC Ferries BV Ferries restricts travel to essential traffic only
BC Ferries is asking travellers to avoid all non-essential ferry travel amid the COVID-19 outbreak

Elk Falls Suspension Bridge among mid-island tourist attractions closed 
Popular outdoor recreation spots across the mid-island continue to close over fears about COVID-19

Some Vancouver Island businesses beating the odds during pandemic 
While many businesses are getting crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic, some are actually booming, especially those that provide products through delivery. 

Faced with paying rent or buying food, B.C. renters hope for eviction ban
After restaurants and other businesses shut down abruptly last week, workers did the math, and many found they wouldn’t be able to pay their April rent, and that future employment insurance payments won’t cover their monthly rent either.

Can I still take BC Ferries during the coronavirus pandemic?
While international travel is certainly no longer recommended by provincial and federal health officials, travel within B.C. is also being advised against during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

B.C. hospitals preparing for influx of patients during COVID-19 pandemic
Nearly 3,900 empty beds are available in hospitals around British Columbia in preparation for a possible influx of patients sickened with COVID-19, the health minister says. 

Senate studying aid bill, after MPs pass it in overnight compromise
A deal has been reached to get the federal government's aid package through the House of Commons, one day later than planned. Now, the Senate is set to study and likely pass the bill by day's end

B.C. doctor says of people not following physical distance guidelines
Dr. Peter Phillips, a clinical professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia, said fines must become widespread as part of aggressive containment measures to prevent more illness. 

Warning about possible coronavirus exposure at country bar in Vancouver 
A honky tonk bar in Metro Vancouver is warning customers they could have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus on two different nights over the last month. 

COVID-19 on surfaces: UBC expert on safety of deliveries, groceries
With more people staying inside and having goods and groceries delivered to their homes, a UBC expert is reassuring people even though COVID-19 can survive on some surfaces for hours or even days, the risk is low compared to person to person contact.

Canadians stranded in Delhi fear the worst
Cloverdale’s Hardip Singh Gill is stuck in a small village in India’s Punjab region, hoping for a repatriation flight from Canada, so he can be reunited with his wife Parmjit Kaur Gill and the rest of his family

B.C. nurses grapple with locked safety gear and fear of exposing families 
As more and more sick British Columbians seek medical attention for COVID-19 symptoms, many frontline healthcare workers are reporting difficulty accessing protective materials needed to keep themselves from becoming sick and potentially vectors of the disease

Canuck Tyler Toffoli’s dog joins in West End celebration of front-line workers
Like many residents in Vancouver's West End, Canucks forward Tyler Toffoli has been taking in the nightly show of appreciation for front-line workers during the COVID-19 crisis. And last night, his dog couldn’t help but get in on the action. 

Ottawa approves massive Covid-19 relief legislation

An emergency federal bill to inject billions of dollars of aid into the Canadian economy for workers, families and businesses hit hard by COVID-19 has passed the Senate and now awaits royal assent.

The bill includes a major change to government programs to support people who can’t work because of COVID-19, offering $2,000 a month in direct support through the Canada Revenue Agency. The change will increase the cost of the aid package from $27 billion in direct support to $52 billion. Another $55 billion is on the table in deferred tax payments for business and individuals. MORE

Evening ferry sailing times adjusted

BC Ferries is adjusting late afternoon sailing times on the West Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) – Nanaimo (Departure Bay) route. 

Effective Wednesday, the afternoon departure times will be adjusted as follows:
The 6:35 p.m. departures from Horseshoe Bay will leave at 5:40 p.m.
The 8:45 p.m. sailing from Departure Bay will now leave at 8 p.m.

All other published sailing times remain unchanged. BC Ferries plans to revert to the previous sailing times at a future date when conditions are more appropriate. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

WHAT CAN YOU DO? – We’re isolated in our own homes, or should be, but there’s a lot we can do to help others. We may not be able to visit shut-ins directly, but you can phone those who have phones, they would love it, especially seniors. And it’s a way of checking on their condition at the same time. And we note that some folks in our community are providing shopping and delivery services to those who are shut in and can’t do it themselves. Hats off to those people who will probably never get any public recognition, but do it anyway.

THE FAIRMONT EMPRESS HOTEL is closing, effective Wednesday, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The hotel said the suspension of its operations includes all guest services, overnight stays and amenities such as the health club, pool, spa and restaurant and as well as all retail space.

A B.C. DENTIST who attended a Vancouver dental conference at the centre of a novel coronavirus outbreak has died of suspected COVID-19 complications, Global News reports. Dr. Denis Vincent of North Vancouver attended the Pacific Dental Conference, which took place at the Vancouver Convention Centre from March 5-7. At Monday’s update on B.C.’s coronavirus response, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed about 20 people in B.C. who attended the conference have since tested positive for the virus, as well as a dozen others who are from outside the province.

WHO WANTS A COOKIE – Girl Guide cookie sales power everything dthey do, but 800,000 boxes of cookies are sitting on the shelf due to the threat of COVID-19 taking the usual sales and delivery methods off the table. Members can’t spend hours of their free time standing outside grocery stores and SkyTrain stations selling boxes by hand. Select Canadian Tire locations have already agreed to sell Girl Guide cookies to customers who are out picking up necessary supplies, but beyond that the organization is still searching for solutions to their $4 million problem.

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME – Every dark cloud has a silver lining. For instance, to help lessen the spread of COVID-19, all West Virginia University Medicine Urgent Care locations offer virtual video visits at no cost for adults and children ages 5 and up. They can video chat with an Urgent Care provider via a smartphone or webcam-equipped computer. This service is for patients who have minor medical conditions and not for emergencies. Hey, that sounds like an idea whose time may have come in this age of too few family doctors in Canada. CHECK IT OUT

HARBOUR AIR is going above and beyond to support the community. They are taking precautions to protect their guests' and staff's health, but they are ensuring the safest travel and shipment options.  Harbour Air has daily delivery options for medical supplies, food, water, and sanitary packages, in addition to daily private flights for healthcare professionals and immunocompromised passengers in need of safe travel. 

VERY CHEEKY – When businesses have to close down the answer for many has been to begin home delivery. When Portland Or. Closed down strip clubs, hey they began home delivery. The state’s order allows food establishments to offer take-out or delivery. The home delivery service has strippers delivering hot food to your door. The rest lies in your imagination.

Opposition forces Trudeau to back down on power grab

Prime Minister Trudeau

Hours before introducing a bill to spend up to $82 billion and increase federal powers to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Liberals backed off a measure that the Opposition decried as an attempt to get Parliament to sign them a blank cheque.

Conservatives said they were prepared to quickly approve the billions in emergency financial aid and economic stimulus as promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week, but they balked at a proposal to give the government sweeping new powers for up to 21 months to unilaterally spend, borrow and tax Canadians without seeking Parliament's approval.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the Opposition has acted in good faith, but is not prepared to grant unfettered spending powers to the government. MORE

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in B.C.: 48 new cases, 3 additional deaths, 100 people recovered
B.C. now has 472 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, the province's top health officials say. 

B.C. testing thousands daily but focusing on highest risk cases 
In her daily health briefing on Monday, B.C.’s provincial health officer said that even though not everyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 is being tested, those people are still being counted as cases, and those cases will start to be reported as part of the total number. 

These B.C. towns are asking visitors to stay away during the coronavirus pandemic
While B.C. residents are strongly urged to avoid any travel outside of Canada, many towns in the province are asking all visitors to stay away and stay home.

Two Vancouver cab companies suspending service amid COVID-19 crisis
Sunshine Cabs on the North Shore and Kuber Taxi, based in Surrey, are suspending taxi service amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Vancouver securing hotel rooms in preparation of outbreak among homeless
If someone is experiencing novel coronavirus symptoms or has just returned from abroad, most would have a home to self-isolate in

Lack of data makes coronavirus curve hard to predict, B.C. researcher says
When Caroline Colijn sees the daily numbers of new cases of COVID-19 in Canada, she looks for certain things. 

'Great deal of distrust': First Nations Health Authority adapting messaging
The public health communication about COVID-19 that's aimed at Indigenous communities should be tailored and take into account Indigenous experiences, say a health official and a researcher who work with First Nation and Metis communities. 

Strict COVID-19 shutdowns are in place in other provinces. Why not B.C.?
As three in five Canadians prepare for life without non-essential businesses and, for many, the ability to go to work, Premier John Horgan insists British Columbia’s containment efforts are similar without the need to force the closure of more sectors. 

Vancouver can now enforce physical distancing with fines up to $50K
Vancouver city council voted in favour Monday of a motion suggesting the city should be able to impose fines. 

B.C. tenant advocates are dismayed evictions will continue
Tenant advocates say they're concerned that the B.C. government has yet to announce a moratorium on evictions as thousands of renters worry they won't be able to pay their rent because of the deep economic impact of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

From student loans to critical services, an outline of B.C.'s stimulus package
B.C. is prepared to spend $5 billion on initiatives to offset the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak

Metro Vancouver mayors call on province to prohibit evictions, defer property taxes 
Metro Vancouver mayors are calling on the province to prohibit evictions, defer provincial property taxes and provide grants to municipalities to help cities weather the financial pain of COVID-19. 

B.C. Girl Guides sitting on 800,000 cookie boxes because of COVID-19 
The physical distancing rules prompted by COVID-19 have left B.C. Girl Guides sitting on millions of dollars worth of cookies. 

Metro Vancouver man in Spain urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously
Metro Vancouver software engineer Duane Storey has a message for those back home in B.C. from his locked down flat in Valencia, Spain when it comes to the threat of COVID-19.

Hospital, care-home visits now restricted to essential stop-ins only
In an updated policy posted Monday, the Vancouver Coastal Health said it's imposing an essential-visits-only system on all of its facilities. 

Popular areas in Metro Vancouver closed as many ignore COVID-19 warnings
Cities around Metro Vancouver have been forced to step in and close many popular outdoor areas after a weekend that saw many people crowding together, ignoring physical distancing guidelines laid out by public health officials .

Dire warning from Nanaimo doctor about coronavirus

Dr. David Forrest

0323 - Dr David Forrest of Nanaimo has a dire warning about the seriousness of novel coronavirus COVID-19. Dr. Forrest is an Infectious Diseases Specialist at Nanaimo Regeional General Hospital. Please share this video. #coronavirus #nanaimo

https://www.facebook.com/leigh.gibsonunickow/videos/10156542363696895/

CITY OF NANAIMO NOTICE

As a measure to "flatten the curve" of the pandemic in our community, the following amenities are closed: 
- Sport courts (hockey, lacrosse, pickle ball, volleyball, basketball, tennis)
- Skateboard parks
- Bike parks
- Gated dog parks - Beban, Wardopper, St. George Ravine, Northfield
- Recreation facilities
- Playgrounds

48 new positive tests reported in British Columbia

British Columbia’s top doctor announced 48 new positive tests for COVID-19 and three additional deaths from the illness Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 472.

Of the 472 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C., 33 people are in hospital for treatment, while 14 are in intensive care.

In B.C., 13 people have died since the COVID-19 pandemic first began. Ten of the 13 deaths were residents in the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home in North Vancouver.

Henry said further policies will be put in place at long-term care homes across the province. Stricter visitation and staff monitoring are among the new steps being taken by the B.C. government. MORE

Monday, March 23

 
SMOOTH OPERATION – I was reflecting about how professionally and smoothly the city has handled the Covid-19 response, especially as it relates to parks and city facilities. In other areas the city has stayed clear of other jurisdictions like the province and Island Health, letting them do their job. The most obvious has been Chief Administrative Officer Jake Rudolph being able to do his job without second-guessing from the elected officials. And he’s done it well, a far cry from how things operated before this council was elected, thank God.
 
FERRY WORKER TESTS POSITIVE –A BC Ferries worker has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was working on the Spirit of British Columbia on March 9 and 10 and showed no symptoms but had symptoms on days off and was tested. The employee worked did not come in contact with customers. Seven other crew members were in contact are on paid leave and monitoring their symptoms.
 
NON-ESSENTIAL - We took a little ride downtown today after nine days in isolation. We did not get out of the car. All the floral displays of daffodils and cheery trees are spectacular. Pretty quiet on the old Western Front, mails mainly empty but surprised at the number of retailers still open. They are putting their employees and customers in danger without any valid excuse, to sell a bunch of non-essential stuff. We'll still need it later, so put employees and customers first. Does the government have to order each sector individually? The social separation message is also not getting through.
 
A NAME IS A NAME – Big fuss over the naming of the latest flu, claiming racism when some people call it the Chinese Flu. It’s not about race, it’s about a geographic origin. Here’s the history of named flu epidemics over the past century. There were other that were not named for geography – SARs, Swine Flu, Ebola and now Covid-19
  • Hong Kong Flu 1968-70
  • Asian Flu 1957-1958
  • Spanish Flu, 1918-1919
  • Russian Flu 1889-1890

Nobody complained about the names of them. What changed? 

ONE OF THE BIG economic boosters of the mid-Island is the film industry, and it too is in limbo as the companies decide when and how action will resume. Chesapeake Shore is tabbed for another season, first set to being filming in late April. Now it's wait and see.

 To add your comments and observations, Email me at editor@nanaimonet.com.

2020 Olympics put on the shelf, likely until next year

International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA Today the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be postponed, likely to 2021. The IOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and it was unclear if Pound was speaking officially for the organization.

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound told USA Today. "The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."

Details are yet to be worked out, the newspaper reported.

EVENT CANCELLATIONS

Port Theatre

Chamber of Commerce

  • CANCELLED – March 24, Business After Business, Melange Restaurant
  • POSTPONED - April 1, Good Morning Mastery, Public Speaking, April 1.

 All events, meetings, workshops and use of the Chamber's public spaces are cancelled. The Chamber of Commerce offices are closed until further notice while staff work from home on scaled-back hours. We are communicating with members and other businesses and are closely connected to government advocating for the community. We will be issuing daily communications to help our network through this crisis.

To list a cancellation or postponement, please send to editor@nanaimonet.com

Monday, March 23, 2020

Metro Vancouver residents continue to gather outdoors despite dire warnings
Public officials have asked again and again that British Columbians stay home to limit the spread of COVID-19, and when they do go out for essential trips like grocery shopping, to stay two metres away from others

Port Coquitlam family fined for reselling marked-up masks at park
A Port Coquitlam family has been fined after getting caught re-selling medical face masks at McClean Park on Friday. 

Vancouver to introduce fines for businesses that ignore COVID-19 precautions
Vancouver's mayor says he's disappointed that city residents are holding house parties, playing beer pong and doing other activities that are not in compliance with COVID-19 precautions. 

How do you work out when the gyms are closed? Fitness industry moves online
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing hundreds of businesses across Metro Vancouver to close their doors, the fitness industry is finding ways to adapt.  

30 per cent of Canadians think it's OK to not practice physical distancing
A new poll shows that 30 per cent of Canadians still think it's fine to hold a gathering of 10 people or less, defying health officials' guidance. 

B.C. doctors urged to communicate COVID-19 precautions to the public
As some British Columbians ignore orders not to congregate, the president of Doctors of BC has sent a message to physicians asking them to amplify the message of the provincial health officer on COVID-19 precautions. 

Youth does not make you 'immune' to COVID-19, VicPD reminds public 
Police in B.C.'s capital region say they were called to break up a house party Friday night, despite health officials' warnings that people must maintain physical distance from each other during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Trump issues virus disaster declaration for Washington state
President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a disaster declaration for Washington and ordered federal assistance for the state, tribal and local response to the coronavirus outbreak that has killed dozens. 

COVID-19 confirmed at another Metro Vancouver care home
The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has been confirmed at another care home in Metro Vancouver. 

Doctors say public not doing enough in COVID-19 fight
Front-line health-care workers in British Columbia are begging people to stay home and demanding the province do more with a wave of new COVID-19 cases expected to inundate hospitals in the next one to two weeks. 

B.C. orders closure of 'personal service' establishments
Health officials in British Columbia will provide an update on the province's response to COVID-19 at noon Saturday

Brewery switches to hand sanitizer, grocery deliverer hires laid-off restaurant staff
Business are feeling the pain of COVID-19, but they’re also adapting quickly to fill urgent needs to cope with the pandemic.

Vancouver tenant group gets 700 calls for help from renters who fear eviction
The B.C. government says help is coming soon for renters who face lost wages and job loss because of COVID-19, but the province lags behind Quebec and Ontario

India grounds flights, leaving Vancouver family stranded
A Vancouver family stuck half a world away from home has been spending the last few days on the phone trying to get a flight back to Canada

Government announces help for people living in poverty, but no eviction ban yet
BC Housing and other provincial government staff are working to set up off-site locations in case homeless or other vulnerable people need to be isolated to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

B.C.'s top doctor turns down growing calls for U.S.-style COVID-19 lockdown
As more than a quarter of Americans are now ordered to stay home for all but essential outings for food and medical care, British Columbia’s top doctor is turning down a growing chorus of calls to do the same in this province. 

 

Sunday, March 22

LIQUOR ON THE GO - The province is allowing restaurants to deliver alcohol due to growing COVID-19 concerns.To reinforce social distancing orders and help support workers in the restaurant industry, the government is allowing restaurants to deliver liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal. MORE

ONE OF THE BIG economic boosters of the mid-Island is the film industry, and it too is in limbo as the companies decide when and how action will resume. Chesapeake Shore is tabbed for another season, first set to being filming in late April. Now it's wait and see.

ONE READER comments that concern has been expressed by medical professionals on how we take care of ourselves while pumping gas. The pumps can be loaded with all sorts of viruses, so wear gloves or carry sanitary wipes in your car so you can clean your hands. Suggestion to gas stations, how about providing wipes at the pumps? Every little bit helps. 

HOARDER INSANITY –  First it was toilet paper and hand sanitizers that people were hoarding. Now grocery stores report that eggs and chickens are flying off the shelves, and some people have begun hoarding baby formula. We're not running out, unless people continue to grab everything for themselves and leave the rest of their fellow citizens in need.

DO IT YOURSELF - There's no need to panic over hand sanitizer hoarding, make your own. It's quite simple – Take two parts alcohol and one part Aloe Vera, mix and put in a pump container. But here too it's necessary to beg hoarders to back off, they have created an artificial shortage of both elements. Now some Vancouver Island distillers are producing the alchohol instead of liquors. Good on them. 

Gabriola, Gulf Islands want no visitors at this time

Gabriola and the Gulf Islands have pulled up. the welcome mat. No offence, but they don’t want visitors any more.

Gulf Islanders are self-isolating from pretty much everybody during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Islands Trust announced Sunday that trustees are going public with a plea for people to stay away, including Gabriola and Mudge islands.

However, they also encouraging residents of the islands to stay home and practise social distancing.

“Now is not the time to be visiting the islands,” said Peter Luckham, chairman of the Islands Trust council. “Most Gulf Islands have a median age of over 60 and limited or no medical services. First responders are volunteers who are practising sheltering in place in order to be available for normal emergencies. As ferry-dependent communities, we are especially vulnerable and face additional challenges, Luckham said. MORE

https://www.nanaimobulletin.com/news/visitors-asked-to-stay-away-from-gabriola-island-during-covid-19-pandemic/

Island west coast communities self-isolate during virus

The District of Tofino, Tourism Tofino, and the Tofino Chamber of Commerce jointly asked visitors to make their ways home, to postpone planned trips, and to let the community prepare for the arrival of COVID-19. 

Authorities in Ucluelet released a similar joint statement the next day. 

Ahousaht First Nation has closed its community to non-residents and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has barricaded the entrance to its community from non-residents for the next 14 days.

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) and City of Port Alberni united with West Coast communities in their urgent request to visitors not to travel to Tofino, Ucluelet, Long Beach, Toquaht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht, Bamfield, Huu-ay-aht and Uchucklesaht until further notice. MORE

Rules set for consturction industry during Covid-19

The B.C. construction industry has been given a clear set of rules to follow during COVID-19. The province set the guidelines for the industry which has not been shut down. Construction sites can have no more than 50 people in the same space in any circumstance, and that where possible, employees should stay two metres away from each other.

  • Signage to be posted limiting elevator occupants to four people
  • Reduce in-person meetings and gathering
  • Hold site meetings in open spaces or outside
  • Increase hand-washing stations
  • Maintain daily list of employees on site

The province said all common areas and surfaces should also be cleaned at end of day, including washrooms, shared offices, common tables, desks, light switches and door handles. MORE

 

Vancouver to introduce fines for businesses that ignore COVID-19 precautions
Vancouver's mayor says he's disappointed that city residents are holding house parties, playing beer pong and doing other activities that are not in compliance with COVID-19 precautions. 

Port Coquitlam family fined for reselling marked-up face masks at park
There was a stream of people passing through a Port Coqutilam park, which Kelly Robison found peculiar since the city closed all public parks and sports fields in its fight against COVID-19.

30 per cent of Canadians think it's OK to not practice physical distancing
A new poll shows that 30 per cent of Canadians still think it's fine to hold a gathering of 10 people or less, defying health officials' guidance. 

Metro Vancouver residents continue to gather outdoors despite dire warnings
Public officials have asked again and again that British Columbians stay home to limit the spread of COVID-19, and when they do go out for essential trips like grocery shopping, to stay two metres away from others. 

B.C. doctors urged to communicate COVID-19 precautions to the public
As some British Columbians ignore orders not to congregate, the president of Doctors of BC has sent a message to physicians asking them to amplify the message of the provincial health officer on COVID-19 precautions.

Essential visits only at Island Health facilities

Island Health is allowing only essential visits to its facilities. The decision was made to support the provincial health officer’s directions around social distancing and to protect residents, patients and staff from the transmission of COVID-19.

Essential visits will be considered for patients who are critically ill, receiving end-of-life care or who are frail and need an escort or family member for safety.

Visitors who are eligible must pass important screening criteria, meaning they cannot have a cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath and they cannot have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days. MORE

Dozens of nurses exposed to Covid-19, says union

The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is calling for St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener to work with them on testing and support after they say more than 50 nurses were exposed to the corona virus.

“This is a clear example of what should never happen in health care,” said ONA president Vicki McKenna. “This province cannot afford to take chances with the health of our front-line nurses and health-care workers – patients will need them more than ever in the coming weeks.”

The association claims the nurses were exposed while caring for a patient.

McKenna adds that more nurses were exposed to COVID-19 by a co-worker and that several have become sick.  FULL STORY

Sunday, March 22, 2020

COVID-19 confirmed at another Metro Vancouver care home
The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has been confirmed at another care home in Metro Vancouver

Doctors say public not doing enough in COVID-19 fight
Front-line health-care workers in British Columbia are begging people to stay home and demanding the province do more with a wave of new COVID-19 cases expected to inundate hospitals in the next one to two weeks. 

Vancouver tenant group gets 700 calls for help from renters who fear eviction
The B.C. government says help is coming soon for renters who face lost wages and job loss because of COVID-19, but the province lags behind Quebec and Ontario. 

India grounds flights, leaving Vancouver family stranded
A Vancouver family stuck half a world away from home has been spending the last few days on the phone trying to get a flight back to Canada

B.C. government announces help for people living in poverty
BC Housing and other provincial government staff are working to set up off-site locations in case homeless or other vulnerable people need to be isolated to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

B.C.'s top doctor turns down growing calls for U.S.-style lockdown
As more than a quarter of Americans are now ordered to stay home for all but essential outings for food and medical care, British Columbia’s top doctor is turning down a growing chorus of calls to do the same in this province. 

Staff member at 4th B.C. care home diagnosed with COVID-19
The novel coronavirus has hit another long-term care home in British Columbia. 

Mayor says White Rock Pier will close if crowds continue
White Rock’s mayor is reminding the public to practice physical distancing as large crowds of people continue to show up at the city’s famous pier. 

Warning about fake Starbucks COVID-19 apology email with gift card offer 
Scammers are impersonating Starbucks and offering fake “social distancing” gift cards in an attempt to capitalize on the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new warning from the Better Business Bureau. 

Facing layoffs during the COVID-19 crisis? Know your rights
Hundreds of thousands of people have already been given layoff notices, leading to what's being called a 'historic" number of employment income applications across the country

Can’t find fresh chicken or eggs in your supermarket? Here’s why
It started with toilet paper and non-perishables likes pasta and beans. Now many B.C. grocery stores are out of fresh chicken and eggs. 

Canadians stranded overseas concerned window to return is closing
As Canadians hunker down in their homes, settling in for the long battle against COVID-19, some are more isolated from their families than others, and are anxiously hoping loved ones stranded overseas can find a way to get back home. 

BC Liquor Stores aren't closing, but they are taking some precautions
No, the rumours that B.C. liquor stores are closing aren't true, but the attorney general says provincially-run shops are taking some precautions when it comes to COVID-19. 

These are the Metro Vancouver cities that have declared states of emergency
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 270, several cities in Metro Vancouver have declared states of emergency to combat the virus' spread. 

Latest updates from province on Covid-19 pandemic

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minnister Adrian Dix.

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

“We are announcing 76 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 424 cases in British Columbia."

“Every health region in British Columbia has people with COVID-19: 230 are in Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, 126 are in Fraser Health Authority, 37 are in Vancouver Island Health Authority, 27 are in Interior Health Authority and four are in Northern Heath Authority." FULL STATEMENT

A history of pandemics throughout the ages

March 21, 2020

Throughout history, as humans spread across the world, infectious diseases have been a constant companion. Even in this modern era, outbreaks are nearly constant. Here are some of history's most deadly pandemics, from the Antonine Plague to COVID19. 

It is interesting to note which have been the biggest pandemics over the ages. 

  • The Bubonic Plague, 1347-1351 killed 75-200 million
  • Smallpox in 1520 killed 56 million 
  • Spanish Flu, 1918-1919, killed 40-50 million
  • Asian Flu, 1957-58, killed 1.1 million
  • HIV/AIDS, 1981 to present, killed 25-35,000 million
  • SARS, 2002-2003, killed 770
  • Swine Flu, 2009-2010, killed 200,000
  • Ebola, 2014-2016, killed 11,300
  • COVID-19, to date and ongoing, 11,400 deaths.

FULL STORY

City closes all playgrounds after concerns raised

A message from the City of Nanaimo

"Thank you for your comments and concerns regarding our playgrounds. Like many of you, we have been learning and trying our best to respond to these unprecedented times. In this case, we were attempting to keep our playgrounds safe for use. However, we have heard you and your concerns, and have now closed our playgrounds for public use. We apologize for any angst this caused."

Jake Rudolph,
Chief Administrative Officer,
City of Nanaimo

All salons, spas and massage parlours ordered to close

Chief Medical Officer Bonnie Henry has ordered a shutdown of salons, spas, massage parlours and tattoo parlours.

“I know most of the businesses have closed, but it’s come to my attention that there’s still confusion out there,” Henry said.

On Friday, Henry ordered that all restaurants provincewide would have to close their doors to dine-in guests and instead operate only through takeout or delivery services. Earlier this week, she banned bars and nightclubs from operating until further notice, as well as put a ban on large gatherings of more than 50 people. MORE

Help available for doctors on respirator decisions

Doctors may have to make tough decisions around distribution of ventilators to patients but they will have guidelines and support, says B.C.’s top doctor.

When asked if there are enough ventilator units in the Island Health area and whether doctors would have to choose who would receive them, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C. health officer, said the province has a strategy in place for that.

“There are ventilators on Vancouver Island. We have other ones coming in, but no single physician will have to make those decisions in isolation,” Henry said. “We have an ethical framework and we have a provincial framework that supports how those decisions might be made, if and when they were ever necessary."

There are 424 cases of COVID-19 across the province, including 37 on Vancouver Island. Of all B.C. residents diagnosed, 27 are in hospital, 12 people are in intensive care and six have fully recovered. FULL STORY

Nanaimo Dragon Boat festival in July cancelled

The 2020 Nanaimo’s dragon boat festival July 10-12 been cancelled. Festival society chairman Heiko Behn, said it is believed the coronavirus won’t be contained by that time.

Behn said the society recognizes that social distancing will be impossible to achieve. He added that he hoped cancellation will allow all paddlers to focus on being kind to others, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and reducing the impact of the economic downturn.” MORE

  • Physicians issue stern warning for more drastic action

    Physicians at Royal Columbian Hospital are calling on the B.C. government to take more drastic measures, such as a lockdown, to stop the spread of the coronavirus and avoid a crisis like Italy.

    In a letter Saturday to provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, Gerald Da Roza, head of medicine at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, says B.C. is on the same trajectory as Italy.

    Italy had more than 600 fatalities from COVID-19 in one day, and the death toll has surpassed 4,000 people. He says B.C.’s doubling rate is three to four days for infected patients, which is similar to Italy. FULL STORY

  • Superstore employees get $2-per-hour pay increase

    Great Canadian Superstore employees will get a $2 and hour raise, says the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW Canada)Discussions with Loblaw, owner of Superstores, will give the wage increase for front-line employees, both full-time and part-time, at all Loblaw stores and associated banners, the union said on Saturday, March 21.

    "UFCW is fully committed to working with industry partners to face and overcome the challenge of containing COVID-19 and making sure that Canadians have a steady supply of essentials throughout this process,” said UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema.

Doctor slams Island Health's secrecy over COVID-19

A Campbell River physician says the public isn’t being given the information it needs about COVID-19 and he questions the Ministry of Health and Island Health’s handling of the situation.

The doctor, who wished to remain anonymous, says the amount of information the public is being given is not only seriously lacking, it’s also often inaccurate, which is going to create serious problems.

“They have the information, they’re just not sharing it, for God knows what reason,” the doctor told the Campbell River Mirror. “One of the reasons they’re citing is patient confidentiality – which to be honest is complete bullshit, because you can release information without it having any patient data points.”  FULL STORY

30 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island

Eight new cases of COVID-19 bring the total number on Vancouver Island to 30. British Columbia had 348 confirmed cases by Friday afternoon. 22 people have been hospitalized as a result of the virus, all in the Vancouver or Fraser Valley regions. Ten are in intensive care, with six confirmed recoveries from COVID-19.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer focused on healthcare workers and their efforts to combat the virus during her daily briefing.

“I know how challenging it is when we are dealing with a new virus, a virus particuarly one for which we have no cure, we have no vaccine, we have no way of preventing it,” Dr. Henry said. FULL STORY

March 21, 2020

77 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. bring Canada's total to more than 1,000
Health officials in British Columbia announced 77 new cases of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 Friday, bringing the provincial total to 348 and raising Canada's nationwide total across the 1,000 mark. 

Most CRD staff still at work in midst of COVID-19 crisis
The Capital Regional District building on Fisgard Street in Victoria is closed to the public due to COVID-19 concerns, but for the staff inside who are worried about the spread of the virus, it's business as usual.

Quadra Island asks visitors to avoid community
Quadra Island has joined the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet in asking visitors to stay away amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thrifty Foods installing Plexiglas shields, other measures, to fight spread
Empire Co. Ltd., which owns the Thrifty Foods, Sobeys and Safeway chains, started to install Plexiglas shields at some stores Thursday night. It plans to roll out the protection to every store as soon as possible. 

UVic student tests positive for COVID-19, prompts exposure warnings
Island Health is warning participants of several University of Victoria (UVIC) classes and attendees of scheduled events at Saanich Commonwealth Place of possible exposure to COVID-19 on March 12 and 15. 

Ministers to announce help for vulnerable people during COVID-19 crisis
Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, will hold the press conference starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. 

B.C.'s top doctor turns down growing calls for U.S.-style lockdown
As more than a quarter of Americans are now ordered to stay home for all but essential outings for food and medical care, British Columbia’s top doctor is turning down a growing chorus of calls to do the same in this province.

Staff member at 4th B.C. care home diagnosed with COVID-19
The novel coronavirus has hit another long-term care home in British Columbia. 

Mayor says White Rock Pier will close if crowds continue
White Rock’s mayor is reminding the public to practice physical distancing as large crowds of people continue to show up at the city’s famous pier. 

Warning: Fake Starbucks COVID-19 apology email with gift card offer 
Scammers are impersonating Starbucks and offering fake “social distancing” gift cards in an attempt to capitalize on the COVID-19 crisis, warns the Better Business Bureau. 

Facing layoffs during the COVID-19 crisis? Know your rights
Hundreds of thousands of people have already been given layoff notices, leading to what's being called a 'historic" number of employment income applications across the country

Canadians stranded overseas concerned window to return is closing
As Canadians hunker down in their homes, settling in for the long battle against COVID-19, some are more isolated from their families than others, and are anxiously hoping loved ones stranded overseas can find a way to get back home. 

BC Liquor Stores aren't closing, but they are taking some precautions
No, the rumours that B.C. liquor stores are closing aren't true, but the attorney general says provincially-run shops are taking some precautions when it comes to COVID-19. 

Quebec City patient arrested for defying quarantine

Quebec City police have arrested a woman, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, for being out in the city's Limoilou neighbourhood despite being under a quarantine order.

The woman, who is potentially contagious, was arrested by order of the regional public health authority at around 2 p.m. ET Friday while out for a stroll. 

"This is the first time that we have executed this type of warrant," said police spokesperson Sandra Dion.

The woman co-operated with police and was transported to hospital, according to Radio-Canada. It is not yet clear if she will face charges.

COVID-19 case reported at Ladysmith 7-Eleven store

7-Eleven Canada has notified the Ladysmith community of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff memeber at the 434 Esplanade Avenue store.

“The health and safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve is the top priority for 7-Eleven Canada. We have temporarily closed the store to thoroughly clean and sanitize the location, and we will re-open the store on April 2,” the company said in a press release.

Store staff are being asked to self-isolate with pay for 14 days as per the B.C. provincial health guidelines. Any customers who may have visited the store between March 5 to March 11 are being asked to monitor their health, and contact a healthcare provider at 811.

Possible case reported at Ladysmith Boys and Girls Club

Loaves and Fishes food bank remains open

Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank remains open.The non-profit said then eedy in Nanaimo will still be able to fill their needs, as staff and volunteers will continue distributing food. However, in light of coronavirus, it will only supply food through the depot at 1009 Farquhar St. from Monday to Friday, and Generations Church, 1300 Princess Royal Ave., on Saturdays.

Peter Sinclair, Loaves and Fishes’ executive director, said social distancing protocol will be followed by volunteers and clients. He also said more donations are needed to meet demand. FULL STORY

Vancouver Island University status report

This week has seen lots of changes for our community as we made the decision to transition to alternate course delivery and assessment and moved most of our employees to a work from home model.

Understandably, this rapidly evolving situation is causing anxiety and stress for both students and employees. We wanted to remind everyone of the counselling supports that are in place for both students and employees and encourage people to reach out and access support if they find they are not coping. And, if you think someone needs help, please share this information with them. FULL STORY

Economic Alliance plans information teleconferences

Questions, questions, questions. The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance is hoping to provide some answers.

Information is flowing like never before, yet there are more questions than answers. Major emergency funding announcements indicate help is on the way, but do you qualify? And, how do you apply?

VIEA is holding a series of brief video conference events to provide close-to-the-ground “how to” information, says President George Hanson. Islanders can hear from thought leaders and network with peers to help their decision-making during this COVID-19 pandemic crisis. FULL STORY

BC Ferries cancels extra sailings in April

BC Ferries is cancelling the additional sailings scheduled in April on four routes. This allows the company to continue to provide essential services to coastal communities, while safeguarding resources of the ferry system for when traffic increases.

The ferry service has seen an approximately 40-per-cent decline in traffic as a result of COVID- 19. 

Supplemental sailings that were originally scheduled for popular travel times in April are now cancelled.

 NEW SCHEDULE AND FULL STORY

News Bulletin cuts back to one issue a week

The News Bulletin is switching to a single issue a week – on Wednesdays – during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The newspaper has closed its office in support of social distancing, but remains open for business via telephone and e-mail, said Publisher Sean McCue on the paper’s website.

We are living in unprecedented times brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Orders from various levels of government have greatly affected our daily lives and that is certainly true here in Nanaimo, McCue said.

This will allow our editorial team to focus more on breaking news on our website and to be able to bring you news as it happens in Nanaimo, B.C., Canada and the world.

FULL STORY

  • United Way launches Covid19 support campaign

    0320 - United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI) reaching beyond its borders with a funding appeal to help vulnerable citizens and frontline agencies during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Local Love in a Global Crisis Fund asks people to donate to support those most in need and has established a website uwcnvi.ca/covid-19 with information.

  • RCMP counter service restricted due to Covid19

    The Nanaimo RCMP has implemented changes for services provided by front counter staff. Other changes are also being implemented which may impact others. These changes are necessary to restrict and limit the amount of daily contact the employees of the detachment and officers have, on a daily basis with the general public.

Partial burning ban in place for Nanaimo

Nanaimo Fire Rescue has instituted a partial burning ban and will not issue backyard burning permits this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Permits are normally issued for properties greater than one acre and on Protection Island in April to dispose of large amounts of organic waste. Any that have already been issued are rescinded. 

Small cooking fires such as camp fires will still be permitted on private property. To prevent spread of COVID-19, it is recommended to maintain social distancing (keep one to two metres apart from one another), wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, avoid contact with people who are sick, stay home unless you need medical care and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

For full regulations on cooking fires, visit the Burning Regulations page on www.nanaimo.ca or call Nanaimo Fire Rescue at 250-753-7311. For more information on the City's response to COVID-19, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/COVID-19

  • HMCS Nanaimo's mission cut short, coming home

    HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse are on their way home, expected back at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt in early April.

    Two ships from Canada's Pacific fleet are cutting short their operations in Central America and returning home early amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

    The coastal defence vessels deployed in early February for what was to be the longest-ever deployment of their ship class from Canada's West Coast.

    The vessels are participating in Operation Caribbe, a wider U.S.-led multinational effort to suppress drug trafficking and organized crime in the eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

    Approximately 80 service members are aboard the two vessels.

  • Save-On-Foods won't take reuseable cloth bags

    Leave your reuseable grocery bags at home, Save-On-Foods across western Canada is banning reusable bags as the global coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

    Starting today, March 20, the grocery chain will temporarily suspend the use of environmentally friendly reusable bags and hand out plastic bags to customers. The plastic bags will be offered free of charge.

    And don’t bring in your bottles, Save-On-Foods has temporarily closed its bottle returns. Team members and customers had expressed concern about bottle returns and ng reusable bags, said Save-On-Foods president, Darrell Jones.

    Save-On-Foods has 178 locations across Western Canada.

  • Ottawa suspends passport services for Canadians

    The federal government has suspended its passport services until further notice.

    Canadians will only be able to obtain or renew passports if they need to travel for urgent reasons. This includes serious illness, the death of friend or family member, humanitarian work or would otherwise lose a job or business.

    Service Canada says anyone who does not meet the criteria for urgent travel — or is experiencing symptoms such as a fever, coughing, having trouble breathing — will have to wait.

  • Financial donations urged for local food banks

    B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson is urging British Columbians to donate money to food banks.

    "If you’re able to, please consider a financial donation to your local food bank to help the most vulnerable in our communities get through this together," he said in an email to party members. "For your safety and others', please call ahead before considering an in-person donation," he added. www.foodbanksbc.com.

    With the COVID-19 situation evolving rapidly, remember to be kind, be calm, and be safe. You can find the latest reliable information at www.bccdc.ca.

Illegal border crossers will be sent back to U.S.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced Canada will send illegal border crossers back to the United States.

Trudeau made the announcement Friday morning, hours before the Canada-United States border is slated to close for non-essential travel. This is a temporary measure that will be in effect as Canada grapples with COVID-19, Trudeau said.

Earlier in the week, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair indicated illegal border crossers would continue to be accepted as they had been prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, though with added medical screening and mandatory quarantine.

Friday, March 20, 2020

'COVID-19 scams are spreading like the virus,' says B.C. RCMP
With B.C. in a public state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial RCMP are warning British Columbians of a rise in scams and fraud cases related to the health crisis.

Victoria byelection postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak
The B.C. government has postponed three municipal byelections, including in Victoria, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Coho ferry to suspend operations beginning on March 30
Another direct ferry link between British Columbia's capital city and the United States has decided to suspend its operations amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Small Island seaplane companies suspend operations due to COVID-19
Floatplane companies on Vancouver Island are starting to close their doors due to health and safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

How first responders are adjusting in face of pandemic
Vancouver's fire department is preparing to stop responding to the site of non-critical medical calls to preserve its ability to respond to major fires and other emergencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

B.C. family alarmed by presumptive COVID-19 diagnosis
A young Langley family of four has been told to self-isolate after they say they have been given a presumptive positive diagnosis of COVID-19.  

'This is not optional': Public told to follow COVID-19 advice
B.C. health officials are stressing the importance of following their COVID-19 precautions as the case count and death toll continue to grow in the province. 

How accurate are B.C.'s COVID-19 infection numbers? No one knows
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections continues to rise, there are growing questions about how accurate and useful those figures are in British Columbia. 

TransLink suspending all bus fares to promote social distancing
Bus riders in Metro Vancouver will no longer have to pay a fare as part of the transit provider's latest effort to promote social distancing. 

How retailers are keeping customers at a safe 'social distance'
Costco in Surrey is already a busy place, but now the line-ups are so long, it looks like people are waiting outside a stadium to buy concert tickets. 

Some seniors could face greater isolation during pandemic 
At a time when many people are trying to stay home and stay further apart, some seniors may be at risk of greater isolation. 

Growing calls to suspend rent, halt evictions due to COVID-19 pandemic
As more and more workers face possible layoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are growing calls for the government to step in and ensure no one is left homeless during the crisis. 

'Isolation cake': Vancouver Island cafe offering miniature cakes for one
The four-inch cake is a sight to behold: Mint and lavender icing with sprinkles that mimic balloons and streamers. 

Vancouver real estate board warns against holding open houses
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is "strongly recommending" against its members holding open houses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Vancouver is now in a state of emergency following a city council vote
The City of Vancouver has voted in favour of a motion declaring a state of emergency, an option put forward by the mayor earlier this week

PoCo closes playgrounds in effort to encourage social distancing
Parents in Port Coquitlam have one less activity option for their children, after the city ramped up its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and closed city playgrounds. 

Surrey city-run day camps and two daycares in civic facilities to shut down
The City of Surrey issued a clarification after the news conference to confirm that the daycare closures would only apply to two centres that are in civic facilities.  

How to cope with COVID-19 anxiety: Tips from a psychiatrist
Psychiatrist Dr. Shimi Kang shared tips with CTV Morning Live on how to reduce and cope with anxiety related to COVID-19

Ferries ends all onboard and terminal food services

B.C. Ferries crew members take food for donation.

BC Ferries is suspending all food services onboard ships and at terminals, with the exception of our northern routes, which will have limited offerings. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, customers have changed their food purchasing habits and are choosing not to buy grab-and-go items, leading to terrible food waste. Vending machines are still available.

Ferries’ crew suggested donating existing perishable food to a local food bank. The Rainbow Kitchen picked up more than 2,400 pounds of food from Swartz Bay. The food came from five ships and Lands End café. The items included mashed potatoes, coleslaw and fresh produce like cucumbers and onions.

Rainbow Kitchen serves Esquimalt and area from week day cold breakfasts or hot lunches and food to thousands. For more information see www.rainbowkitchen.ca.

BCAA closes service locations, available electronically

BCAA will close all service locations as of today until further notice. They will provide service by phone 1-888-268-2222 or through their online tools at bcaa.com.

BCAA is equipped to offer ICBC auto insurance by phone so if your policy is due, call 1-888-268-2222.

Roadside Assistance service continues to operate but with some adjustments to support social distancing for everyone’s safety and all our BCAA Auto Service Centres remain open.

B.C. has 40 more new Covid-19 cases

British Columbia has 40 new cases of Covid-19 and one new death, bringin the provincial total to 271 cases and eight deaths.

Parks and Rec using shutdown time for early maintenance

The City Parks, Recreation and Culture department isn’t letting any grass grow under its feet while its facilities are closed to the public.The department is starting several projects now which would normally be scheduled to start later. 

The Aquatic Centre and Beban Park Pool are getting a head start of their annual maintenance. The hope is that by doing the bulk of this work now, staff can limit or avoid closures that were slated for August and September.

Other facility improvements or projects, originally scheduled for later this year, may be worked on during this time.

"We are taking advantage of this time to improve our facilities by getting projects done in advance to lessen potential service disruptions once we get the green light to open our doors again”, said CEO Jake Rudolph.

Food Bank forced to cut back during high demand

The Nanaimo food bank is scaling back operations at a time of increased demand and a decline in donations. Food distribution sites have been reduced to only for from the regular 11

The amount of food normally donated from local grocery stores has nosedived recently. Peter Sinclair, executive director of the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank, speculates that food stores are seeing people stocking up, leaving less food for the Food Recovery Program.

Air Canada grounds some Vancouver Island flights

Air Canada will temporarily suspend service on a number of domestic routes to help battle the COVID-19 pandemic, including a route linking Nanaimo.

Beginning Monday, March 23 the airline will ground the Nanaimo to Calgary route, along with flights departing from Victoria to Toronto and Calgary.

On Wednesday, April 1, Air Canada also plans to ground the Comox to Vancouver run. MORE

Canadian dollar dips below 70 cents U.S.

The Canadian dollar is taking a hit on world currency markets. Royal Bank of Canada listed the dollar at 67.47 cents U.S. at 3 p.m. today.

Canada’s main stock index climbed Thursday. The S&P/TSX composite index rose 449.10  points at 12,170.52

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average made a little comeback today, up to 20,087.29, a jump of 188.27 – almost one per cent. The S&P 500 index gained 11.29 points at 2,409.39, while the Nasdaq composite was down 354.01 points at 6,980.77.

Regional Library laying off staff after shutdown

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries is laying off the majority of its staff after VIRL closed all of its library branches indefinitely in order to prevent to spread of COVID-19.

“As a result of the closures and as per the two collective agreements that VIRL staff fall under, we made the decision to issue notices of layoff to the majority of staff,” said the announcement.

The statement went on to clarify that BCGEU and CUPE staff will get their full pay and benefits for up to eight weeks and 30 days, respectively. Benefits will also be extended for all unionized staff for at least an additional 30 days after the layoff period notice ends. All casual or on-call employees will be paid for shifts scheduled during those notice periods. READ MORE

Be aware of scams, they are all over the place

This is the scam posting. Don't open it.

Stop and think before you share personal information over the phone or click on COVID-19-related links — that's the advice coming from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, as reports of coronavirus scams pop up across the country. 

For instance, the attached is NOT from the Red Cross and it is not giving away masks.

"Fraudsters are quick to pick up on world news," said Jeff Thomson, a senior RCMP analyst with the anti-fraud centre. "[They're] really good at creating that situation of urgency or panic when they want people to react and do what they're saying right away."

See a list of the scams HERE

 

Chamber sees Legislature recall as waiting too long

The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce is not impressed with the delay in recealling the Legislature. A limited quorum of all parties will reconvene on Monday to pass legislation about the economic impact of COVID-19.

“Waiting until Monday is not an answer today,” president and CEO Kim Smythe told NanaimoNewsNOW. “People are trying to figure this out by the hour, not having any direction, any way of sorting out what their future is going to be.” 

Public safety minister Mike Farnworth announced on Wednesday the B.C. government would reconvene on Monday, for what’s expected to be a half-day session, to amend the Employment Standards Act.

Price at the pump show major decrease

The coronavirus pandemic combined with falling world oil prices may be translating in lower gasoline prices. GasBuddy shows most Nanaimo prices at the pumps have fallen to #1.159.

Metro Vancouver gas prices have hit a 17-year low, and could drop further. Fuel going for $1.10.9 per litre was spotted in the region on Wednesday morning, a price not seen since 2003.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: How is the COVID-19 outbreak affecting gas prices in Canada?

Petroleum analyst Dan McTeague says prices could dip into the range of $1 per litre by Wednesday night.

Thursday, March 19

Will Vancouver declare a state of emergency? Council to vote soon
A day after Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart suggested the city should declare a state of emergency, council is expected to make the decision. 

Workers, operators and advocates question decision not to close all childcare facilities
Struggles to maintain staff ratios and locate and buy necessary cleaning supplies are just two of the concerns being raised by childcare workers, operators and advocates regarding the B.C. government’s decision not to close daycares during the covid-19 pandemic

Officials confirm another 45 COVID-19 cases in B.C.
Health officials have identified another 45 cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, bringing the provincial total to 231. 

Some Vancouver renters get reprieve as COVID-19 restrictions take hold
The City of Vancouver has asked developers to voluntarily hold off on evicting tenants if the eviction is for redevelopment, and therefore falls under the city’s tenant relocation policies

B.C. declares provincial state of emergency over COVID-19 pandemic
The B.C. government has now declared a provincial state of emergency over the growing COVID-19 pandemic. 

No login required to watch CTV News Vancouver newscasts
As national and international health officials grapple with the novel coronavirus pandemic, CTV News is making our live local newscasts open to watch without a login.  

Vancouver Aquarium encourages public to watch its live webcams during shutdown
Like most attractions in B.C., the Vancouver Aquarium has closed their doors to the general public - with no set date to reopen - to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. While it's closed, however, the aquarium is offering "an-otter" way to enjoy its exhibits. 

Loneliness an issue in B.C. care home hit by COVID-19
A woman whose father suffers from dementia and lives at a B.C. care home where six people have died of COVID-19 says he is becoming increasingly lonely and anxious at the facility where few visitors are allowed. 

Vancouver food banks urgently need donations in face of COVID-19 pandemic
Food banks in Metro Vancouver are in dire need of donations as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread worldwide. 

ICBC allowing brokers to conduct more business by phone and email
Drivers hoping to take a road test in the near future will have to wait at least two weeks, as ICBC is temporarily suspending evaluations province-wide over COVID-19 concerns. 

This online tool helps determine if you might have the coronavirus
Health officials in B.C. have unveiled a new online questionnaire designed to help people determine if they might be carrying the novel coronavirus – and if so, what they should do next

BC Liquor Stores to remain open
The BC Liquor Distribution Branch is assuring its customers there are currently no plans to close liquor stores in the province amid the COVID-19 pandemic

St. John Ambulance closes branches, halts training courses

St. John Ambulance has closed all of its branch locations in the province and halted all training courses until April 6 when the situation will be reassessed. The decision was based on the ever-changing information.

Change or cancellation fees will be waived for existing future first aid course bookings. For classes that are currently in session that are now canceled, classes will be moved to a future date to ensure appropriate training. 

If you were hoping to purchase any St. John Ambulance safety supplies during the time when our branch offices are closed, you can still find everything you may need online at shopsafetyproducts.ca. If you have any further questions, please contact the provincial customer care centre at 1-866-321-

 

A never-ending cruise for Nanaimo passengers

Holland America's Zaandam stuck on the high seas

Cruise ship passengers from Nanaimo have been stranded off the coast of Chile because of COVID-19, even though no one aboard is sick.

Maggie Tilley, in an e-mail to the News Bulletin, said she and her husband David Andrews are one of at least three couples from Nanaimo aboard the Holland America Line cruise ship Zaandam, and Chilean authorities are refusing to let the ship pull into port and disembark passengers. FULL STORY

Regional transit won't charge bus fares

The old sayingthat there is no free ride, well there is. RDN Transit won’t charge bus fares because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RDN said it has issued a directive for the health and safety of bus operators and customers, whereby bus riders should not approach the driver.

In addition, riders are also asked to board and exit buses from the back door, although riders with accessibility needs may still use front doors.

Officials confirm another 45 COVID-19 cases in B.C.
Health officials have identified another 45 cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, bringing the provincial total to 231. 

Langley family claims sick son was denied COVID-19 testing
A Metro Vancouver father who believes his son should be tested for COVID-19 is sharing his concerns about the province's testing system. 

Border agents not trained for COVID-19 screening at YVR, union says
The union representing border service officials across the country is lobbying Health Canada to send more qualified health screeners to Vancouver International Airport since they themselves are not trained to monitor for signs of COVID-19. 

How to apply for federal emergency benefits

Workers and businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for part of the $82 billion aid package announced Wednesday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which includes $27 billion in direct support for those struggling to find work or care for family members.

The emergency benefits aren't yet available, but the government has released guidelines on who can apply, and how much relief Canadians can expect. Here's how they'll work.

Who qualifies for EI?

Whether you qualify for EI will still depend on your specific situation, such as regional rate of employment, and the number of hours worked in the last 52 weeks. The government recommends people apply as soon as possible to find out if they qualify; waiting more than four weeks after your last day of work means you could lose access to those benefits. 

If approved, the maximum amount paid out for EI is $573 a week. 

How do I apply?

Applicants usually need a medical certificate along with records of employment, though the new rules allow quarantined workers to apply without the former. If you can't apply because you are quarantined, you can also file for EI sickness benefits later and have the claim backdated.

To apply for EI benefits, you can visit the website. Afterwards, you can apply to have the one-week waiting period waived by calling the government's toll-free number at 1-833-381-272, or teletypewriter at 1-800-529-3742. 

MORE AT CBC

 

RCMP station front counter services closed

Front counter services of the Nanaimo RCMP will close to the public at 5 pm today, The main door to the detachment facing Prideaux Street will also close to the public, effective 8 am Thursday. These closures will remain in place until further notice. These closures do not have any impact on 911 services.

To report a minor incidents where there are no suspects, please go to the Nanaimo RCMP homepage and click on Online crime reporting or call 250-754-2345.

If you attend in person to the detachment, and need to report a crime, there are two small speaker boxes, one red and the other black, situated to the left of the main door. Both are clearly marked. Simply pick up the appropriate one, and it will ring through to the detachment switchboard operator. EARLIER STORY

Manly calls for relief funding for farmers

MP Paul Manly

Nanaimo-Ladysmith member of Parliament Paul Manly has welcomed the financial support for the large numbers of Canadian workers who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance.

“The new measures announced today aimed at helping small businesses retain their employees, are positive steps. One area that specifically concerns me though is food production. We have a looming crisis in agriculture.

"We need a relief package for farmers, and we must find solutions for farmers who rely on temporary foreign workers. We cannot let our local and regional food production supply chains fail, we urgently need to protect them," said Manly.

United Way compiling information on homeless services

The United Way and the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition are canvassing agencies and compiling information on changes in services provided by NHC members. 

As many local agencies alter their operations or close their doors, vulnerable populations are at increased risk. As the situation is constantly changing and emails regarding program shifts keep coming in, the United Way updates the list as often as possible. HERE

The Nanaimo United Way is working with United Ways across Canada to act quickly to respond to what is happening in our communities across the island. They are connecting with agencies to find out what they need, what they are doing and how this pandemic is affecting their clients. By gathering this data, we are can better understand the challenges faced by our partners and make recommendations to all levels of government as to where is the greatest need.

Vancouver Island distillery making and donating sanitizers

Filling an emergency local need by filling bottles with Island-made hand sanitizer, Wayward Distillery CEO, David Brimacombe combines ingenuity, community spirit and product diversification for public good.

A Vancouver Island distillery to stepping into the breach by producing sanitzers to help alleviate the supply shortage in light of some hoarding.

Wayward Distillery in the Comox Valley has ramped up production of hand sanitizer and spray sanitizer, distributing them free to people and organizations in need. Priority is to first responders, medical staff and charitable organizations, followed by individuals and families that are unable to buy sanitizer.

Hand Sanitizer is prebottled and (owing to shortages in Aloe Vera gel) in very limited quantities. Most of the initial production is going to first responders and organizations, with smaller bottles for individuals hopefully available by the weekend.
 
Spray Sanitizer is in bulk and intended primarily for surfaces. Bring in your own spritzing container and they will fill it (up to 250ml for individuals, no limit for first responders or health workers.)
 
Remember that you are part of your community in times like these. If you don't need it, don't stockpile it. Check in on your neighbours. Stay home if you feel sick and practice good hygiene. Without your support many of the local business that you love will not make it through this, says CEO David Brimacombe.
 
Wayward Distillery is an Island Good company with Island Good products.

Public-access city facilities shut down, including city hall

Mayor Leonard Krog

On March 17 – Provincial Health Officer,Dr. Bonnie Henry has declared COVID-19 a public health emergency. In an effort to support social distancing and for the health of City employees and residents, the City will close the remainder of facilities that are open to the public, effective noon on  March 18. These include, the Service and Resource Centre, City Hall and Public Works. 

All City services will remain operational and staff will conduct business online, via conference calls, virtually or, where necessary, by appointment only. City online services are available on the City website at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/OnlineServices. As well, residents may call 250-754-4251, public works at 250-758-5222 or parks, recreation and culture at 250-756-5200.  

Since March 9, the City of Nanaimo Emergency Coordination Centre response team began working on business continuity plans in the event that senior levels of governments and officials escalated the response to COVID-19. The City continues to take its direction from the Provincial Health Officer and health authorities and any measures taken by the City will be aligned with their recommendations. For more information on the City's response to COVID-19, please visit the information page on the City website at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/COVID-19 or follow the City on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cityofnanaimo) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/cityofnanaimo).

Jake Rudolph, Chief Administrative Officer
and
Leonard Krog, Mayor

Infectious disease specialist offers Covid-19 overview

From the Joe Rogan webcast

Michael Osterholm is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. He is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota. SEE THE INTERVIEW

British Columbia declares health emergency

British Columbia has declared a public health emergency after recording three more deaths related to COVID-19 and identifying another 83 infections.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said two of the new fatalities are connected to the continuing outbreak at a North Vancouver care home where four seniors previously died.

The third is a man in his 80s who lives east of Vancouver, in the Fraser Health region that spans from Burnaby to Hope.

Those deaths and the alarming jump in cases – the largest single day increase recorded anywhere in Canada so far – helped convince the government it was time to declare a provincial emergency.

Prime minister announces multi-billio-dollar aid package

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy and help Canadians affected by the impacts of this challenging period.

These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals to help stabilize the economy. Combined, this $82 billion in support represents more than 3 per cent of Canada’s GDP. This wide-ranging support will help ensure Canadians can pay for rent and groceries, and help businesses continue to pay their employees and their bills during this time of uncertainty. MORE

All bars and pubs closed, restaurants take-out only

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued an order Tuesday saying any establishment that cannot meet the province's test for social distancing must close indefinitely. 

"Effective immediately, businesses with liquor primary licenses, such as bars, pubs and night clubs, must close as they are unable to adequately meet the requirements of social distancing. Restaurants and cafes that cannot maintain social distancing of one to two meters between patrons will need to move to takeout and delivery models," Henry said.

She says those businesses and services that remain open, like grocery stores and pharmacies, need to incorporate distancing measures for workers and customers. 

Public gatherings of more than 50 people — indoors or outdoors — must be cancelled.

Grocery stores add seniors-only shopping hours

Quality Foods has reserved its first two hours of service for seniors and other vulnerable customers. Store hours will change on Monday, March 23 to allow for seniors-only shopping between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Most major grocery store chains have adjusted hours and special shopping times dedicated to seniors and those who are immunocompromised.

Real Canadian Superstore, Save-On-Foods, Quality Foods and Country Grocer all announced reduced hours in the wake of growing social distancing measures put in place to fight COVID-19.

Canada - U.S. border shut down

President Donald Trump has announced that the border between Canada and the United States will be temporarily closed to tourists and visitors, by mutual consent.

It remains unclear when non-essential travel will be restricted across the border, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to speak to this shutdown and unveil major new economic measures that the federal government is taking in response to COVID-19 shortly.

Trudeau will be followed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, who will elaborate on the new economic supports aimed at offsetting the wide-ranging impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak and subsequent shutdowns. MORE

Online tool helps determine if you might have Covid-19

B.C. health officials have unveiled a new online questionnaire designed to help people determine if they might be carrying the novel coronavirus – and if so, what they should do next.

The COVID-19 symptom self-assessment website was launched on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website on Monday night, and has already been used more than half a million times.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the tool helps people determine whether they need to be tested for COVID-19, including those who are already in self-isolation at home and feeling concerned as they develop mild symptoms. MORE

BC Ferries cuts back food services on ships and at terminals

BC Ferries is reducing food and retail services to minimal levels on board ships and terminals effective today (March 18)

“Grab-and-go” items will be available through designated outlets only, either the Coastal Café or Coastal Café Express and Lands End Café. These outlets will not serve hot food and all other outlets will have service suspended until further notice.

  • Minimal “grab and go” prepackaged food items will be available for purchase on board.
  • Beverages including coffee, tea and fountain drinks will continue to be available. We ask customers to use disposable beverage containers only
  • Single use disposable cutlery will be available

Customers should expect minimal food service at terminals, as vendors assess their operations

The following on board amenities will be closed until further notice:

  • Passages Gift Shop|
  • SeaWest Lounge
  • Coastal Café on select vessels
  • Arbutus Coffee Bar
  • Pacific Buffet
  • Sitka Coffee Place
  • Kids Zone play area
  • Video Zone arcade

Northern services with lengthy sailing durations will continue to provide hot food services.

STILL OPEN – The Network Hub remains open – you can connect Mystiah on: Toll Free: 1-888-491-8847 or 250-591-8847 Email: nanaimo@thenetworkhub.ca Office hours at 256 Wallace Street: 9 am - 3 pm Monday to Friday.

HARRAH'S LAKE TAHOE – Covid-19 is every where. Susan McKerrihan who works at Harrah's Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino, informs that the club is closing. She figures it will  probably be at least four weeks. 

Liquor stores will remain open for now

While social distancing remains a priority for British Columbians amid the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Liquor Stores will remain open for now.

In an email to Black Press Media Thursday, a spokesperson for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch said they are watching the COVID-19 situation closely.

The province declared it a public health emergency Tuesday afternoon and there are now seven deaths in B.C. linked to the novel coronavirus, while at least 185 people have tested positive for the virus. MORE  

RCMP changing front counter service due to COVID-19

Nanaimo RCMP is implementing changes at 8 am, Wednesday, for services provided by front counter staff due to Covid-19 concerns. Other changes are also being implemented which may impact others. These changes are necessary to restrict and limit the amount of daily contact the employees of the detachment and officers have, on a daily basis with the general public. FULL STORY

Cases of Covid-19 almost double in one day in B.C.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer reported 83 new confirmed cases of COVID-19  in B.C. including five additional cases in the Island Health region. It brings the total number of cases in British Columbia to 186.

There are now 186 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C., after health officials announced 83 new cases Tuesday.  

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 116 cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) region, 47 in the Fraser Health region, 12 on Vancouver Island Health and seven in the Interior Health region and four in Northern Health. 

SCAM ALERT - don't give out your credit card information

SCAM ALERT: **CORONAVIRUS SCAM HEADS-UP** It starts out with a very legit-sounding voicemail from a lady, saying: “Hello, this is Nurse Jen calling to follow up on your tests from yesterday. Unfortunately you DID test positive for coronavirus. No need to panic, but call us back with your credit card handy so we can overnight you your antibiotics. It’s important that you and any family or roommates STAY HOME. Call us so we can get you your meds and give you further quarantine instructions.” So be aware this is happening, in case any older or otherwise vulnerable relatives or friends get this call!

Also scam on a vaccine available and caller asks for your credit card information.

Ottawa extends income tax deadline by one month

Canadians will have one extra month to file their taxes. The announcement will be made tomorrow by federal ministers as part of a larger series of financial measures to assist Canadian individuals and governments through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So instead of a May 1 filing deadline for the 2020 tax season, Canadians will have until June 1 to submit their income tax return to CRA. The deadline to pay off any outstanding balances interest-free will also be extended by a month, to July 31. 

Covid-19 contact leads to closure of Court House

The Nanaimo courthouse was closed today after a link to a positive COVID-19 test.

The Provincial Court of B.C., advised that a court participant … has been in contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. The notice mentioned that court participants in Campbell River and Chilliwack had been in contact with the same individual.

Some hearings have been cancelled and they’ve been postponed, pushed to the summer, but the actual law courts are closed until March 23 to the public. 

A&W closing dining rooms, offering take-out only

A&W Restaurants are closing their dining areas effective Wednesday until further notice. They will continue to offer take-out, drive-through mobile ordering and third-party delivery services. 

A company statement said they may make further temporary modifications at restaurants to help slow the spread of COVID-19. For more information on COVID-19 coronavirus, we suggest you visit Canada.ca

Cineplex to close movie theatres till April 2 due to COVID-19

Cineplex wil close its Nanaimo moview theatres until April 2.CEO Ellis Jacob said the suspension of movie showings was to comply with senior government health regulations.

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said earlier on Monday that all gatherings of 50 or more people should be cancelled.

B.C. closes all schools until further notice

B.C.'s public schools will be closed until further notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province announced Tuesday.

At a news conference in Victoria, Premier John Horgan called the decision to suspend classes for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 as difficult, and provided few details on when schools might resume.

"The decision on how to return will be made in partnership with school districts and independent schools," John Horgan said.

Ahousaht First Nation closed for non-residents

The Ahousaht First Nation has closed its community to non-residents as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19, Ahousaht Elected Chief Greg Louie confirmed to the Westerly News on Monday.

The isolated island community, located a roughly 30-minute boat ride from Tofino, is closed to tradespeople for at least two weeks and to tourists indefinitely.

Chamber of Commerce cancels all events

The Chamber of Commerce Wednesday luncheon has been cancelled. The Chamber has postponed, rescheduled or cancelled all events leading to social interaction. This includes luncheons, meetings at Chamber offices and public spaces and professional development workshops. For the time being, the office remains open for essential business activities.

“The importance of social distancing to mitigate risk due to Covid 19 cannot be undervalued” said Chamber CEO Kim Smythe. “We’ll focus on business continuity and recovery activities advocating with government for support and relief. We look forward to rebuilding the health of our local economy.”

March 17

Vancouver Island doctor wants locations of COVID-19 patients made public
Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Bonnie Henry continue to stand side-by-side to give daily updates on the growing COVID-19 situation, but at least two health professionals on the mid-island are calling for more transparency

Trudeau says emergency measures are under consideration
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is looking into recalling Parliament for a brief period in order to pass additional emergency legislative measures, such as changes to employment insurance, as Canada continues to ratchet up its response to COVID-19. 

B.C. dentists asked to suspend all elective, non-elective dental services 
Dentists across the province have been urged to stop all elective and non-elective dental services indefinitely, according to the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC). 

BC Ferries cancels more sailings as coronavirus reduces demand 
BC Ferries has issued a travel advisory for this week, warning of reduced sailings between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. 

Victoria suspends city programs, asks province to cancel byelection
The City of Victoria is suspending community centre programs and asking the province to cancel the city's upcoming council byelection in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Drive-thru COVID-19 test clinic open in Victoria
A COVID-19 testing clinic with a drive-thru has been launched along Victoria’s Cook Street. 

Island Health launches new visitor restrictions amid coronavirus
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow across B.C., Island Health has launched a new series of restrictions at hospitals and health care facilities. 

'Don't come': B.C. health officials urge Americans to stay away
In one of the most stark and serious moves taken yet by the B.C. government, the provincial health minister is urging American travellers to stay away.  

B.C cancels surgeries, ramps up COVID-19 response
B.C.'s health care response to COVID-19 has been increased, with most hospitals now in Phase 2 of the provincial outbreak response plan. 

B.C. woman waits days on hold trying to be tested for COVID-19
Jennifer Godin flew to Cabo, Mexico the first week of February for a month-long holiday, but a day after arriving she began feeling sick. 

How the pandemic is playing out on the B.C.-Washington border 
Although the government announced Monday that Canada would be closing its borders to most non-Canadian citizens, this new rule does not apply to U.S. citizens -- causing concern in British Columbia, home to one of the busiest border crossings and the country's highest death toll from COVID-19.  

Vancouver restaurant staff member tests positive 
Public health officials are warning people who visited Showcase Restaurant and Bar in Vancouver about a possible exposure to COVID-19 and is advising patrons to monitor for symptoms. 

The Keg closing all restaurants beginning Tuesday, including 20 in B.C.
The Keg has announced it's closing all of its restaurants across Canada and the U.S., effective Tuesday. 

3 more Canadian deaths connected to COVID-19 recorded in B.C.
Three more deaths connected to the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 have been recorded in B.C., health officials announced Monday

Non-essential dental services should be suspended immediately, college says 
Dentists across B.C. are being urged to suspend all "elective and non-essential dental services," effective immediately. 

WestJet to temporarily suspend international and transborder flights
WestJet Airlines says it is suspending all international flights -- including to the U.S. -- for the next 30 days to help control the spread of COVID-19. 

Bars, restaurants in downtown Vancouver ordered to close for St. Patrick’s Day 
St. Patrick’s Day will be much quieter this year than most, at least in downtown Vancouver. 

Whistler preparing for hard times as COVID-19 cancels international travel
The latest COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by the federal government — barring most non-Canadian residents from entering the country — promise to hit local tourism operators hard. 

Uncertain times for B.C. restaurants, bars as COVID-19 precautions increase 
There’s growing uncertainty for the restaurant and bar industry as increasing coronavirus precautions have also led to some mixed messages from government

 

New tools added by government for Covid-19

Important and helpful tools in the pandemic were have been launched. There is now a second information line for non-medical COVID-19 questions. The number is 1–888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319). Service reps can answer non-medical questions, travel recommendations, social distancing and can help connect you to federal and provincial resources. The lines are available seven days a week from 7:30 am - 8:00 pm. You can also text your non-medical questions to 604-630-0300 for a quick reply. Please SHARE the information about this important resource.

188,435 Covid-19 cases reported world wide

7:55 a.m. The latest world count shows 188,435 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 7,503 deaaths while 80,855 are listed at recovered. That's a mortality rate of 3.98 per cent. Canada has reported 449 cases, with eight new ones in Ontario. There have been four deaths in Canada, all from British Columbia. Our procince has 103 cases confirmed with four deaths and 11 recovered.

Restaurants feeling the bite from Covid-19

Nanaimo restaurants are feeling the pinch from Covid-19 Coronavirus. Many restaurants are closing their doors or reducing seating capacity in the wake of the province limiting public gatherings to 50 people.

The Queens has closed while otheras lke White Sails Brewing and the Vault Cafe, are operating on limited hours and reduced capacity. Longwood Restaurant and Brew Pub has removed half of it stbles and thoroughly sanitized the restaurant. MORE

Lantzville Legion suspends operations.

Lantzville Royal Canadian Legion branch 257 has suspended all operations in line with health advisories across Canada. 

Service Officer Anne-Marie Smith is available by phone and email for veterans and members at 250-751-2285 or 250-616-9143, email Smith.Anmemarie@shaw.ca Office staff will be in as available, do not hesitate to call Dindy Pleasance in emergencies at 250-756-2940.

City Council suspends all committee meetings

The News Bulletin reports from the Nanaimo city council meeting tonight that Council will suspend all committees, even finance and audit and governance and priorities. The decision is a COVID-19 precaution. #Nanaimo

City closes down recreation facilities and programs

The city closed all recreational facilities  – Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, Nanaimo Ice Centre, Beban Park recreation and social centre (pools and arenas included), Bowen Park complex and Oliver Woods Community Centre and other rental facilities. All registered recreation programs including day camps and drop-in activities are cancelled. All facility rentals are cancelled. MORE

Chemainus Theatre cancels performances

4:15 p.m. The Chemainus Theatre Festival has temporarily suspended operations amid the COVID-19 crisis, resulting in the cancellation of the final two weeks of The Marvelous Wonderettes show.

Managing director Randal Huber anticipated providing an update by Friday, March 20 regarding upcoming performances of The 39 Steps.

Those with tickets to cancelled performances of The Marvelous Wonderettes will receive a credit for the full amount of the ticket purchase in their Chemainus Theatre account. Ticket holders for cancelled performances will be contacted directly by the box office. The Theatre Festival asks ticket holders not to call the box office regarding tickets until contacted. MORE

Regional Library closing all branches today

3:45 p.m. Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) is closing all branches to the public as of 8pm tonight (March 16).

In coming to this difficult decision, we paid particular attention to the Province’s prohibition on gatherings of more than 50 people, and the strong appeal for everyone to stay home during this critical time. In this rapidly changing environment, we believe this is the best decision for our staff, customers, and larger public.

DUE DATES - VIRL has extended all due dates by six weeks and asks customers not to return any library materials until branches have reopened to the public.

eLIBRARY – Throughout the closure period, VIRL’s eLibrary — which includes thousands of ebooks and audiobooks, scores of downloadable music, and hours of streaming movies and TV — will remain open for anyone with a VIRL library card.

Visitor restrictions for Island Health facilities

Island Health is limiting the number of visitors entering its facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One adult caregiver or support person is allowed at the following: hospital emergency departments, critical care areas, perinatal units, inpatient areas — along with the additional precautions in place — primary and urgent care area and outpatient clinics. MORE

Three more deaths in B.C. – 30 new cases

Three more deaths connected to the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 have been recorded in B.C., health officials announced Monday.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced 30 new cases at a news conference Monday. This brings the province's total up to 103. The new cases are recorded in the Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Island Health and Interior Health regions. MORE

Hospitals restict surgery to urgent and emergency cases

New temporary changes are coming to B.C.'s health care system, particularly in acute care facilities, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced. 

"Hospitals will only undertake urgent and emergency procedures and will postpone all non-urgent scheduled surgeries," Dix said. "This will result in the cancellation of thousands of schedule surgeries."  MORE

Public gatherings now restricted to 50 people

The province announced new measures banning gatherings of over 50 people.

"In this challenging time, this is what we need to do now. This is what we need to do to keep people in our community safe, to keep our families safe and to stop this virus from having the impact that we've seen in many other countries around the world," provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. MORE

Ferry passengers can remain on lower vehicle decks

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced today that passengers on B.C. Ferries will be allowed to remain on the lower vehicle decks if they wish. 

 

International travellers arriving at Canadian airports will now have to make a declaration on the customs and immigration touch screens WITH THEIR FINGERS. Really?

Monday March 16

Canada restricting who can enter the country due to COVID-19
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada will be shutting the border to non-Canadian citizens, with the exception of their immediate families, permanent residents, diplomats and U.S. citizens at this time. MORE

Mount Washington shutting for now
Mount Washington Alpine Resort is suspending winter operations for the time being in response to the ongoing coronavirus situation.The resort announced at 8:20 a.m. on Monday that it will not open. The announcement on its website states it is awaiting an update from the Prime Minister regarding efforts toward “more drastic measures” to stem the spread of COVID-19. 

Metro Vancouver cities shut down facilities due to COVID-19
With B.C.'s cases of COVID-19 continuing to rise, some cities across Metro Vancouver are closing their facilities to stop the spread of the virus. 

Canada now has 342 confirmed cases 
There are 73 confirmed cases in British Columbia with one death, the only death in Canada to date. Ontario has 146 cases while Alberta has ballooned to 56. Quebec reports 39 cases. World wide there are 174,850 cases with 6.693 deaths.

Washington state to order all bars, restaurants to close to fight coronavirus
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday will order all bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation facilities to temporarily close to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the state with by far the most deaths in the U.S. from the disease. 

PM Trudeau to announce international flight restrictions
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his federal cabinet will be updating Canadians on the measures being taken to combat the spread and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday. This will include announcing additional flight restrictions, CTV News has learned

Panic-buying is hurting food-insecure children on Vancouver Island, charity says
A B.C. charity that fills the "weekend hunger gap" for children living in poverty says panic-buying amid the global COVID-19 pandemic has been hampering its work. 

B.C. courts reducing operations during COVID-19 pandemic
B.C.'s provincial courts are reducing operations until further notice as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate. 

Canucks staff member tests positive for COVID-19
A staff member of Canucks Sports & Entertainment has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Surrey to close civic facilities, including pools and libraries
The closures start Monday, but spring break camps and licensed childcare facilities will continue to operate.

Africa braces for the spread of COVID-19 

U.S. Federal Reserve slashes rate to near zero 

Why Italy was hit so hard and so fast by COVID-19

 

Cancellations

Conditions are changing by the second over the developing COVID-19 threat, resulting in countless cancellations after the province ordered shutdowns of gatherings of more than 250.

  • Two cruiseships slated for Nanaimo this spring have been cancelled
  • All events of more than 250 at the city’s facilities like pools and arenas.
  • The Nanaimo Clippers playoff series and all BC Hockey League games
  • School District 68 International field trips over spring break 
  • Midget Tier 1 March 15-20
  • Canadian University women’s basketball championship March 19-21
  • Volleyball BC tournament 15U Girls Super 
  • Curling Club leagues and bonspiels cancelled
  • Some churches are closed indefinitely, check with your congregation
  • MS Regatta on June 3
  • Port Theatre is closed until further notice
  • VIU Open House for Trades event on April 4.
  • St Paul’s Anglican church Community Neighbours Lunch March 20. 
  • Nanaimo Family History Society March 16
  • Rotary Daybreak Meetings
  • "Steps to Our Ancestors" March postponed

EVENTS STILL SCHEDULED

  • Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce March 18 luncheon, 11 .m. Coast Bastion Inn
  • Mount Washington remains open
  • Rotary Nanaimo Daybreak 10th Annual Shredding, May 9, 10-2 PM, Nanaimo North Town Centre (by Montana's)

School district cancellations and closures

2 p.m. March 16, 2020

The school district posts all cancellations or closures on this page. If it is not listed, assume that the program, event or school is open.

  • Cashier training (John Barsby) – March 16 & 17
  • Fun and Fit (Brechin) – March 16-19
  • Kid’s Yoga (Brechin) – March 16-19
  • Kid’s Zumba Camp (Seaview) – March 16-19
  • Art Fun (Park Ave) – March 17-19
  • Barista Training (John Barsby) – March 18
  • Emergency First Aid/CPR Level C & AED (Cedar Secondary) – March 18
  • Super Host (Cedar Secondary) – March 19
  • Shed Your Threads swap meet & fun fair (VIU) – March 21
  • Red Cross Babysitter Course (Cedar Secondary) – March 23
  • Cashier Training (NDSS) – March 23 & 24
  • Fun Camp (North Oyster) – March 23-25
  • Art Fun (Rock City) – March 24 & 25
  • Super Host (NDSS) – March 25
  • Georgia Avenue Ready, Set, Learn event – April 1
  • Ecole Quarterway Ready, Set, Learn event – April 2
  • Skills Canada Provincial Competition (Abbotsford) – April 15
  • Ready Set Learn (Brechin) – April 21

Trudeau to address nation at 10 a.m.

Prime Minister Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is due to address the nation again today after a weekend that saw health officials strengthen their tone on COVID-19 as provinces took more drastic measures to stem the virus’s spread.

News of Trudeau’s press conference, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. Pacific time, came hours after cabinet ministers left a meeting on Sunday promising big action. Some of those same ministers are set to speak to reporters after Trudeau’s address.

BC Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will have another update for BC at 11. (Originally 9 am).

Coronavirus victims over 80 in Italy will not get treatment

Coronavirus victims in Italy will be denied access to intensive care if they are aged 80 or more or in poor health should pressure on beds increase, a document prepared by a crisis management unit in Turin proposes.

Some patients denied intensive care will in effect be left to die, doctors fear.

The unit has drawn up a protocol, seen by The Telegraph, that will determine which patients receive treatment in intensive care and which do not if there are insufficient spaces. Intensive care capacity is running short in Italy as the coronavirus continues to spreadMORE

 

VIU shuts down classes
Vancouver Island University announced Sunday evening that it is “pausing all face-to-face classes” for the week of March 16-20 as it plans for the rest of the semester. A statement from university president Deborah Saucier noted that the decision came following a recommendation from VIU’s academic continuity committee. 

 324 cases in Canada and only one death
Canada's count of Covid-19 cases climbed by 70 today to 324 and only one death has been reported to date. B.C. has had no new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours with 73. Ontario has 145 case, and increase of 42 since yesterday. Quebec has 39 cases, with 18 of them coming since yesterday. Alberta stayed steady at 39 cases while Manitoba had three more, rising to seven. 

Great Canadian Gaming shutting down its 10 casinoes
Great Canadian Gaming Corporation will close its 10 casinos in British Columbia tonight at midnight. Great Canadian operates six casinos in Metro Vancouver and gaming centres in Victoria, Nanaimo, Esquimalt and Dawson Creek. There have been no cases of COVID-19 reported but this measure is deemed in the best interests of the public’s health, the company said on its website

COVID-19 is affecting B.C.'s arts and entertainment industries
Film and television productions have been shut down and live performances cancelled as the global coronavirus pandemic continues. 

2,299 minutes on hold: Canadian airlines are inundated with flight cancellations 
B.C. residents say they've spent hours on hold, or haven't been able to get through on phone lines at all, as people rush to cancel flights in the wake of new travel warnings from the Canadian government. 

B.C. union calls for suspension of mortgage and rent payments 
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation plans to support lenders to defer mortgage payments, but doesn’t currently have a way to help renters. 

Charity says it can't provide meals for needy children because of panic-buying
A B.C. charity that fills the "weekend hunger gap" for children living in poverty says panic-buying amid the global COVID-19 pandemic has been hampering its work. 

March 15 COVID-19 headlines

 March 15

B.C. health officials announce 9 new COVID-19 cases, clarify testing procedures
Health officials in British Columbia announced nine new cases of the novel coronavirus in their province Saturday, bringing the provincial total to 73.  

Passenger on Vancouver to Kelowna flight tested positive for COVID-19
Kelowna International Airport says it has been informed by health officials about a passenger who flew from Vancouver to Kelowna on March 10 who has tested positive for COVID-19.  

Canadian couple describe life under Italian COVID-19 emergency measures
Staying at least a metre apart, shuttered shops and carrying a note declaring your destination are all part of life in one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic. 

Shutting border and mandatory isolation? Trudeau says nothing's off the table'
In an exclusive interview with CTV's Question Period, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is 'not taking anything off the table' when it comes to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, including shutting down the border, and says the reason he hasn't been tested is because he doesn't want to 'use up' a test kit.  

BC Ferries cancels sailings amid pandemic-lowered demand
BC Ferries is reducing service on its primary route between Metro Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island "in order to meet current traffic demands," the ferry company announced Saturday. 

Amazon blocks thousands of resellers during COVID-19 crisis
The online shopping company said it is "disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis."  

Shortage has Vancouver doctors turning away patients seeking COVID-19 testing
CTV News Vancouver has learned that a shortage of personal protective equipment for physicians and support staff has Vancouver doctors turning patients away from their offices as the provincial health-care system begins to show the strain of potential COVID-19 infections. 

Cruise cancellations to cost Vancouver tourism businesses millions
The financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread as dramatically as the virus, and one Thursday development will suck millions of dollars out of Vancouver’s tourism industry.  

COVID-19 forces closure of all national museums
Concern about the novel coronavirus is leading to the shuttering of numerous public gathering places 

Ministers announce international travel restrictions to prevent coronavirus spread
Overseas flights coming into Canada will soon only be allowed to land at a limited number of airports, which have yet to be announced

Canadians scrambling to leave Europe as borders close and flights are suspended
Canadians in Europe are scrambling to make their way back home as several European countries are restricting traffic, closing borders and suspending international flights in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Epidemiologist: 'March Break is a terrible idea'
Experts worry travellers may be bringing home more than they bargained for. 

Opportunistic travellers can score a cruise for as low as $119 to the Bahamas
They may be floating 'petri dishes' of COVID-19 with no way to escape, but for some those deals are too good to pass 

Passengers clamour for pre-flight screening to keep people who are ill from flying
Passengers report people who are clearly sick are allowed to board domestic flights in Canada "I had two flights cancelled in the space of 12 hours and then I found out in the morning I had to get to Rome to catch this last flight." 

Disney to shut California parks through March over coronavirus
Walt Disney Co will close its Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim, California, from Saturday through the end of the month due to the global outbreak of coronavirus, the company said on Thursday. 

Princess Cruises suspends global operations for two months over COVID-19
Princess Cruises, the operator of two coronavirus-stricken ships, said on Thursday it would suspend global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months, sending shares of its parent company Carnival Corp down 22% in premarket trading 

Weekly Travel Roundup: Has coronavirus altered your vacation plans?
Plus, four other travel stories that were trending on Canada.com this week. Canada is a big place and so is the internet. 

What you need to know

  • B.C. officials say there are now 73 cases of COVID-19 in B.C.
  • Four people have recovered, and one person has died from the illness in the province.
  • COVID-19 testing in B.C. will focus on care homes, health workers and active outbreaks.
  • The federal government has advised against international travel, including to the United States, telling citizens who are abroad to come back home while commercial travel options remain available.
  • B.C. Ferries has reduced sailings on Sunday and Monday to meet current traffic demands.
  • Whistler Blackcomb closed today for one week to reassess its approach toward coronavirus.
  • Cypress Mountain Resort has announced it will suspend operations at 4 p.m. on Sunday until further notice.
  • Premier John Horgan has warned British Columbians against hoarding supplies, encouraging them to look out for one another and be reasonable. 
  • Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will provide her next update at 10 a.m. PT Monday.

City's response to COVID-19

Jake Rudolph

March 13 No. 2

This year’s cold and flu season has certainly become more challenging due to the emergence of a new virus named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

On behalf of Nanaimo City Council and staff, I want to start off by saying that we understand and empathize with the growing concerns surrounding COVID-19 around the globe and in our community.

As we have all seen, the situation regarding the impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve. Earlier this week City staff took a proactive approach and initiated operational readiness meetings. These meetings evolved to the activation of the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) at a level 1, so that key staff could begin identifying and planning for the various stages of the City’s response to COVID-19.

Over the weekend, City of Nanaimo staff will continue to actively monitor and respond to the direction and recommendations being made by the Government of Canada and the BC Provincial Health Officer. We will continue to communicate any updates to City operations or services when and if the situation changes. 

Spring Break Camps and recreational classes run by the City will continue as planned as the number of participants, with a limited number exceptions, are less than 250. Parks, Recreation and Cultural staff are in the process of contacting registrants about cancellations. City staff will continue to review all events and programs and take action consistent with advice and recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer. Arenas and swimming pools will be limited to a capacity of 250 at any one time but will remain open. All gatherings with 250 or more people will be cancelled or postponed, as per the Provincial Health Officer’s directive given on March 13, 2020. 

Given that the City takes its direction from the Provincial Health Officer, we encourage all families to consider a scenario where the City has to cancel Spring Break Camps. If there are any cancellations to recreational programming, Parks, Recreation and Cultural staff will contact participants. You can also contact our switchboard to confirm if your program is running during business hours at 250-756-5200.

A reminder that an informational page called “City’s Response to COVID-19” has been created on the City’s website where updates regarding this matter are provided as information becomes available.

Jake Rudolph, 
Chief Administration Officer, 
City of Nanaimo