CVRD sets up emergency response centre due to COVID-19. (File photo)

CVRD sets up emergency response centre due to COVID-19. (File photo)

CVRD sets up emergency operations centre in response to COVID-19

Daily meetings will be held to assess evolving situation

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has established a Regional Emergency Operations Centre to assess and respond to the public safety risk posed by COVID-19.

“The CVRD is working closely with its partners, including member municipalities, First Nations, school districts, and Island Health to fully understand the situation across the region and coordinate decision making,” said Brian Carruthers, CAO of the CVRD.

“We are reviewing essential service levels across all aspects of our workforce, recognizing that this situation is likely to worsen and require reduction or periodic elimination of services.”

While the BC Ministry of Health has confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island, the public health agency has no evidence of community-based transmission in B.C.’s Island Health region.

However, Carruthers said the provincial health officer is strongly recommending the cancellation of non-essential travel outside of Canada and has directed the cancellation of mass gatherings of 250 people and more at this time, and the CVRD will be following this direction. Last Thursday night an almost sold out performance by fiddler Natalie MacMaster was cancelled at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, and Friday morning, the CPAC website indicated that a show by Completely Creedence scheduled for Saturday night was also cancelled. More cancellations are expected to follow.

“In an effort to encourage the practice of ‘social distancing,’ the CVRD and its member municipalities ask that the public consider their patronage at public facilities and determine whether their business with local governments could be conducted online or over the phone,” he said.

“If in-person attendance is essential, the public is asked to maintain at least a one metre distance from staff and other patrons as much as possible.”

Carruthers said it’s anticipated the REOC will convene daily for the foreseeable future to assess the evolving situation with representatives from partner governments and agencies, and continue to share information with the public as required.

Health

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