For the past three weeks I have heard the concerns from Gulf Islanders about the threat that COVID-19 poses to their communities.
I’ve received hundreds of emails and phone calls. This concern has dominated every conversation with elected officials from the CRD and Islands Trust. Of course there is cause for significant concern. We have extremely limited health capacity on the islands, and significant risks come from people travelling onto the islands from elsewhere.
Two weeks ago when I stood in the Chamber and asked my single question in the truncated Question Period during the emergency sitting, I shared the concerns that I was hearing and asked if the provincial government was going to move to restrict access to the Gulf Island communities.
Minister of Health Adrian Dix did not answer the question directly, however, was direct in asking all British Columbia to self-isolate. He and Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Chief Medical Officer), were emphatic that they needed 100% of British Columbians to follow 100% of the rules (and orders) 100% of the time. They have continued to be clear on this message.
While Dr. Henry has strongly encouraged people not to travel to rural and remote communities. It seems to be increasingly clear that neither the provincial nor the federal government, are going to take the extraordinary step to issue an order restricting access to rural, remote and isolated communities.
The call is not just coming from the Southern Gulf Islands. It is coming from rural, remote and isolated communities throughout British Columbia and across Canada.
As travel patterns change resulting from the reduced service announcement for the Southern Gulf Islands, I will continue to speak with BC Ferries and government about this issue.
By continuing to work together and taking personal responsibility to follow all the orders and recommendations entirely, we can safeguard against exposing vulnerable communities to unnecessary risk and we can ensure we stay safe and healthy and are able to get through this pandemic. Please listen to our public health and safety officials and do not travel to the Southern Gulf Islands unless it is absolutely essential!
“Coastal Celebration 100_6622” by Kam’s World is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Some smaller communities and towns have used testing for the virus to find who has it and who doesn’t. Those that test positive can be isolated and treated while everyone else carries on as normal. This greatly helps people giving them security, including keeping the economy going and critical information for health care workers. Ideally we could all be tested. As it is, it looks like this will be with us forever with all the other flus and new ones coming either from our proximity and abuse of wild and domestic animals and/or biological weaponry. Hopefully now the regular flu season will be taken more seriously and sick people supported to stay isolated and the general population respectful of others health.
I have said this numerous times, the easy way to control this to a large extent is to limit payment to an experience card…with transport of essential goods excepted. That would seem fairly straightforward to me….that would mean limiting traffic to people who live here…unless they just want to leave 🙂
Happy Easter all….
BC Ferries must be ordered to restrict all ferry access to essential services. This weekend too many people thumbed their nose as polite requests to stay home but the ferry worker’s hand were tied to do anything about it.
Government is responsible to do what it is empowered to do and that is to do everything it is able to do to protect its people.
Act now because the long weekend in May will only be much worse.
Thank you for your efforts to restrict travel on BC Ferries to essential travel. Even here on Salt Spring, cases of CV 19 would quickly overwhelm the hospital and the situation would be so much worse on the other islands. Allowing non-essential travel on the ferries is a very stupid move of the government, and I hope you keep pushing to stop it.