Mayor Lori Ackerman statement on COVID-19

Last night across British Columbia, Mayors joined in on a conference call with Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and Lori Halls, Deputy Minister for Emergency Management BC. 

Minister Robinson said that this will be the first of regular calls.

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- Daily at regional level for Community Emergency Managers

- Weekly calls with Mayors to hear first hand the updates

Dr Bonnie Henry spoke of the challenging time and that changes are rapid and we need to manage the spread. Travelers MUST self - isolate so we no longer have to focus on them. Many cued up for questions.

I asked if there was some kind of online platform that we can work together and share ideas to keep communities caring. And pointed out that  the Emergency Management Act and Compensation and Disaster Financial Act Regulations does not recognize “pandemics” as disasters or emergencies for Local Governments or First Nations communities. If it did, we could have the authority to declare an emergency and deal with our local issues and restrictive operational policies in this situation. The Deputy Minister acknowledged that the current policy does fall short and she is expecting a revision to allow for an all government response.

This would be hugely beneficial for Communities as we have MANY asking what we are doing. At this time, we can only manage our operations. Without the tools, we cannot do anything else.

My colleague Mayor Lee Brain of Prince Rupert asked about the 4 confirmed cases in the Northern Health region. People are understandably wanting answers to where those folks are, and which communities are affected. (Thank you Lee for letting me copy and paste this!)

All 4 cases in the north have these factors in common:

- They know where they originally contracted the virus (they had just return from travel).
- They know exactly how they got home (drove home under strict conditions) and who they were in contact with.
- They know they did not go anywhere but straight home into isolation.
- Those individuals are currently at home in isolation.

Because these cases did NOT originate within any northern community itself, under the law, Northern Health won't identify or release the location of these individuals for their privacy/protection as they are technically not a threat to public health, and to not incite panic / speculation / rumors in any one community.

We will get through this and I hope we will see a better, more understanding world.

Take care, be kind and wash your hands!

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