Saturday, March 21, 2020

Province of British Columbia outlines measures to protect most vulnerable during COVID-19 crisis

Selina Robinson, British Columbia's Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing hosted a Saturday  morning briefing to outline some of the measures that the BC Government will be taking to address concerns for those that are most vulnerable in communities across the province.

Noting the work of those on the frontline of community access, Ms. Robinson reinforced the government's commitment to their workers to ensure that they can continue to do their work.

“Frontline workers are working tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable residents are protected across the province, recognizing the significant added risks that vulnerable people face in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. We are committed to making sure these frontline workers have the support they need to do their job – whether that’s in the form of safe spaces for people who need isolation or personal protective equipment for staff working in the field. We are all in this together.”

The Minister also recognized that vulnerable people in different circumstances face distinct risks, with the government using a Vulnerable Population Working Group to identify, assess and address the immediate challenges that face five groups of our society.

With their focus to be directed towards six groups.

People living on the street, people experiencing homelessness living in encampments, shelter residents, tenants of private SROs and tenants in social and supportive housing buildings.

Some of the initial actions that the province has put in place include:

A ban on evictions for non-payment of rent in BC Housing-funded buildings

The development of distinct protocols and identification of sites to support isolation for vulnerable people experiencing homelessness – sheltered or unsheltered – and those in private single room occupancy (SROs) and social housing buildings

Sustaining service providers through continued payments to ensure they can pay their staff and operating costs 

Centralized procurement for critical supplies needed by frontline providers, including gloves and cleaning products.

In addition to those measures, the province is instituting Isolation protocols are being developed in partnership with local governments and health authorities based on the needs of vulnerable residents in each region.

The province notes that while in some situations self-isolation may be possible within a unit, additional locations have been identified throughout the province for those situations where off-site isolation of one or more people is required.

In addition, recognizing that many providers have identified difficulty in sourcing necessary medical and cleaning supplies, BC Housing is now procuring personal protective equipment needed by frontline workers on a central basis and is distributing them directly to housing providers.

More on those measures could be delivered by the City of Prince Rupert and Northern Health as the roll out of the protocols begins to take shape.

You can review the full statement from the Province today from their information release here.

For more background on the COVID-19 crisis you can access information from the the BC Centre for Disease control which has some valuable Coronavirus notes related to COVID-19 you can explore that information here.

You can learn more about the outbreak from both the Province and the Federal government from the links below:

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.

More from  Northern Health can be reviewed here 

You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.

Local governments and organizations have also provided for increased awareness of COVID-19 issues, the string of statements that came quickly at the end of the week can be reviewed here.

For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints

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