March 17, 2020 – 7:00pm
COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE – CITY OF NELSON
Nelson, BC – Over the last few days, there have been a number of developments by both the federal and provincial governments, including orders and recommendations related to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Today the Government of BC declared a public health emergency emphasizing four key strategies to reduce the spread of the virus that include: social distancing, self-isolation, testing (where most appropriate), and protecting those most vulnerable (seniors and those with underlying health conditions).
As part of this strategy, the Government of BC has announced the closures of schools (K-12) in the province, and the mandatory closure of bars and clubs due to the limited capability for these establishments to provide social distancing of 1-2 meters. Restaurants and cafes must implement social distancing requirements and/or transition to a pick-up/delivery service.
In light of the local impact of this pandemic and to ensure the ability to maintain essential services in our community, the City of Nelson’s Director of Emergency Management, Len MacCharles, opened the City’s Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) as of 9:00 am Monday, March 16th. The purpose of the EOC is to coordinate the City’s business continuity planning, liaise with agencies and other levels of government, to collect and disseminate information, and to determine where the EOC can assist our community.
The following measures have been taken to maintain a healthy workforce and protect the public:
- City policies have been aligned with Provincial Public Health Officer recommendations, including self-isolation following out-of-country travel.
- The City has cancelled all business travel for employees and is using virtual meetings or teleconferences where possible.
- The City has provided virus awareness information to staff emphasizing personal hygiene best practices, including when and how to use appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Cleaning and disinfectant supplies have been provided to all work areas, including vehicles, for staff to maintain a sanitized workspace.
- Nelson Transit is meeting BC Transit cleaning and disinfectant standards for COVID-19.
- Notices have been posted on the entrances of City buildings indicating that anyone with flu-like symptoms, or those that have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days, should not enter public buildings.
- Identified and shared alternative options to do business with the City. Click here for options for bill payments, pet licensing, etc. We are encouraging residents to use these alternative options as opposed to attending in person, where possible.
- The Council meeting scheduled for Monday, March 23rd, 2020 has been cancelled. Further updates for future meetings will be provided.
To meet the ‘social distancing’ strategy, the following actions have been taken:
- The Library Board and the City of Nelson closed the Nelson Public Library at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Click here for more details on the Library closure.
- All programming at the Youth Centre has been suspended, with the exception of this week’s Spring Break Camps. The Centre will be closed indefinitely as of Friday, March 20th at 5:00 pm, until further notice.
- The City is implementing social distancing strategies in the remainder of our buildings.
Many people in our community have travelled or they (or their family members) will be returning. It is critical that you follow the requirements of the BC Public Health Officer. Currently, information supports that approximately 90% of all confirmed cases are a result of travel outside of Canada.
The City of Nelson relies on Interior Health, BC Public Health, and the Federal Government for information related to the virus itself. If you believe you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your physician, or call the COVID-19 telephone line at 1-888-COVID19, to be assessed or call the testing clinic hotline at (250) 551-7500 to be triaged for testing. Symptoms of COVID-19 include coughing, fever, sore throat, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms may not present themselves for up to 14 days, but you may be a carrier of the virus; therefore it is important to follow the guidelines set out by the health experts.
We thank you for doing your part to help maintain a safe and healthy community and for understanding the importance of this evolving situation.
Ginger Lester, EOC Information Officer firstname.lastname@example.org