The District of Sooke is moving rapidly to address growing concerns about COVID-19.
The district activated a Level 1 Emergency Operations Centre on March 12 with Deputy Fire Chief Matt Barney in charge. Sooke Fire Rescue and Emergency Program personnel are monitoring the situation and are engaged in discussions with federal and provincial agencies.
The district is not the lead agency on the current situation, and will follow guidelines from the federal and provincial governments, as well as Island Health, the B..C Centre for Disease Control and the Capital Regional District, said Norm McInnes, chief administrative officer for the District of Sooke.
The EOC is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the fire department’s training room at 2205 Otter Point Rd.
COVID-19, also commonly referred to as the coronavirus, was designated as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.
“It’s a situation that’s rapidly changing,” McInnes said.
Residents are asked to proactively help mitigate the spread and impact of the disease through personal hygiene and regular review of updates through the links below. Municipal staff are working to address any potential disruptions to district services to ensure a quick response as circumstances may change.
The CRD said in a media release that as a local government, it takes direction from the provincial health officer through Emergency Management B.C.
The focus is on maintaining essential service levels and following the advice of public health officials. Planning is underway to ensure they are prepared if the situation or recommendations change.
Following a CRD board meeting on March 11, the CRD activated an Emergency Operations Centre and increased cleaning protocols at all facilities with a focus on public areas and frequently touched surfaces. Signs have been places reminding people to follow public health guidelines
Public health officials strongly recommend washing your hands frequently with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, avoiding others who are sick and staying home if you are not well.
Visitors to CRD facilities and participants in programs should remain at home when they are sick. Check out bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases for updates. Visit healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus-covid-19 or call 811 for answers to health questions. There’s also information available at canada.ca/coronavirus.ca or at 1-833-784-4397.
The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce suggests businesses check sookeregionchamber.com/pandemic-preparedness and sookeregionchamber.com/tourism-covid-19-update-from-destination-bc for information and updates.
The Sooke Food & Brew Festival scheduled for March 21 at the West Coast Grill is cancelled due to the outbreak.