As of March 18, 2020, the Province of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency to support response to COVID-19. The priority is to protect British Columbians and ensure that the province is best positioned to effectively respond to the pandemic. See Provincial COVID-19 News for daily updates from Government and the Provincial Health Officer or download the COVID-19 BC Support App for news and alerts.
As of March 25, 2020, at midnight, the Government of Canada is enforcing the Quarantine Act, meaning that all travelers to Canada must enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine. This excludes those deemed essential workers.
United Way of Northern BC has initiated the COVID19 Relief Fund to assist communities all across the region. Working with community partners, United Way has identified the following needs, while anticipating they will continue to grow:
• Seniors Isolation – this is a long-running issue, particularly for our rural and remote region. Unfortunately, the current situation has amplified this exponentially and these seniors don’t just have a lack of socialization, they need food, prescriptions, and personal care items to sustain a healthy way of being.
• Food Security – people need food and we are getting reports of food banks closing or having no food or funding to help. Many programs across the north that need to close due to social distancing, are also the opportunities that people have to get necessary food and care items. This is being reported across the region.
• Capacity for Community Services – a significant number of responses from communities include a reduction of hours, closures of programs, or complete closure of the service agency. Resources would help them to continue to do their vital work.
• Mental Health & Addictions – not only is there more stress on the entire population at this time, our population that deals with mental health and addiction issues have become particularly vulnerable, especially with their support programs needing to close their doors.
• Volunteer Support – while some volunteers are moving into isolation, others want to help out. We are hearing that critical programs are at risk because their volunteer support has dropped or completely gone away. We are looking for opportunities to deploy volunteers where they are needed.
Even in these uncertain times, no one is powerless to make a difference. Small acts, taken together in our community, and across the region, can change the course of the pandemic, bolster those facing economic challenges, and protect the most vulnerable. UWNBC truly hopes that the development of the COVID-19 Relief Fund will help in these efforts.