The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and City of Port Alberni have opened a Level One Emergency Operations Centre to plan proactively for coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We are not aware of any additional cases in the Vancouver Island Health Authority today (Friday, March 13), and local medical professionals in the community have indicated that there are not any cases in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District,” newly-appointed ACRD protective services manager Heather Zenner said.
“The EOC has been opened to help with internal communication, as a way to be proactive, so we are as prepared as possible.”
The purpose of activating the Emergency Operations Centre is to gather and share information related to COVID-19, she explained, and to carry out advance planning in the event the COVID-19 pandemic hits locally. Gathering resources this way will also help municipal officials anticipate operational impacts to local government services.
Both the ACRD and the city have developed a COVID-19 response plan “to help prepare for the potential arrival of COVID-19,” she noted.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk as low for the general population in Canada.
The City of Port Alberni on Friday followed a province-wide ban on large gatherings by cancelling any events of 250 or more people until further notice. Any third-party events booked into city facilities are being encouraged to follow the same recommendation from the province of B.C.
The Sunshine Club at Echo Centre has suspended all activities, programs, meetings and events effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Zenner noted.
“We are continuing to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 globally, nationally, locally and are proactively preparing for potential impacts.”
The provincial health officer is recommending against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States. Anyone re-entering Canada from a foreign country has been asked to self-isolate for 14 days after returning.
Residents are asked to contact HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 with health-related questions (day or night). Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should call HealthLinkBC, their family doctor or walk-in clinic and ask for help; people are being asked not to simply show up at a medical office, clinic or hospital.
To read more about coronavirus (COVID-19), you’ll find all our stories at www.albernivalleynews.com/tag/coronavirus. You can also sign up for Black Press’ daily COVID-19 newsletter with relevant links and articles about the pandemic.