Monday May 18, 2020 is the Victoria Day Holiday
BC’s Careful Restart Plan
The Provincial government announced their BC Restart Plan last week, with the next phase beginning on May 19th, after the long weekend. It is a very gradual plan where health and safety and controlling the risk of infection are still the primary considerations. Spectrum as an employer and service provider must also consult with WorkSafeBC and CLBC to determine the necessary safety procedures that must be in place as we consider changes to services.
Stay tuned for more information as we get guidance from the Provincial Health Officer, WorkSafe BC and CLBC.
Dear self advocates and families,
We were all pleased to hear last week from Premier John Horgan and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that the spread of the COVID-19 virus has gone down due to the efforts of all British Columbians and that plans have begun to re-start our province. You can read their announcement here.
Your actions have made a difference
The actions of individuals and families to take steps to stay at home and practice physical distancing are paying off.
According to the provincial health analysis, actions to date have reduced peoples’ contact with others to about 30 per cent of what it was. While there have been some cases of COVID-19 among those we serve, they have so far remained low and unchanged for several weeks. It would have been much worse if not for the steps you took to follow the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer.
The government approach to re-starting the province
The government approach to re-starting the province will focus on continuing to slow the spread of the virus and keep people safe, while considering the physical and mental health impacts and the need to get people back to work.
We know that physical distancing has taken an emotional toll on self advocates. We understand that many families have taken on extra caregiving duties. Some of you want to see services restored soon. This must be done carefully to keep self advocates, families, home sharing providers and agency staff safe.
According to the scientific model, in this second stage people can safely return to up to 60 per cent of the kinds of contacts with others that we used to have – but we need to do this together in a coordinated and measured way to make sure we keep people safe.
How do we keep people safe in this stage?
How do we adjust and restore CLBC funded services to this safe new level? Some individuals and caregivers may be very worried about any increased contacts. Others will be eager to get their services back as quickly as possible. The shift to stage two needs to be based on guidance from the Provincial Health Officer, WorkSafeBC and the unique needs of individuals and families. It also needs to be coordinated with the agencies that are involved in many individuals’ lives.
Some people have asked about re-starting services as early as May 19. Please be patient. The government has been clear to say this is not like an “off” and “on” switch. Services cannot immediately return to what they were. We have asked service providers to keep services as they are now until they receive further guidance.
Services cannot immediately return to what they were
As you know, many individuals we serve are at greater risk of harm should they contract the virus. This is also true of some families, home sharing providers and staff. Therefore, we need to proceed with plans that have input from individuals and families and that are coordinated with service providers and with other agencies involved in individuals’ lives.
CLBC is using core guidelines announced by the government and Provincial Health Officer on May 6 and found here to develop guidance for community living services in stage two of COVID-19 recovery. We plan to distribute this guidance by the week of May 25 to our service providers.
CLBC is developing guidance for stage two
Once they get this, service providers can begin to plan to adjust their services over the next months in a way that is safe for individuals, families, home sharing providers and their support workers.
After we distribute the guidance we will organize teleconference calls to provide an update on community living services in stage two. Stay tuned for invitations that will be distributed and posted on our CLBC COVID-19 web site pages at www.communitylivingbc.ca .
We know that while the current situation has helped reduce transmission it has not been easy on people. We won’t be able to immediately go back to the way it was before COVID-19, but we will work carefully and base our actions on public health guidance to start moving in that direction.
Community Living in Isolation: Responding to COVID-19 – Webinar
Like other social justice movements, the Community Living movement has worked to support and empower a group that has been historically oppressed and disenfranchised. Central to that work is the creation of communities where people with developmental disabilities are fully included and have socially valued roles. What then does Community Living look like in a pandemic – when access to community is limited? Below is a graphic recording of the presentation, and below that is link to a recording of the webinar. Thank you to Larry Greco for sharing his experiences!
COVID-19 Survey for BC Centre for Disease Control
BC COVID-19 SPEAK: Your story, our future is a population health survey to elicit citizen experience, knowledge and actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This survey is the first of several activities that will strengthen our pandemic response and our understanding of the impacts of COVID-19 to date (social, economic, mental wellness and community wellness).
The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete online. If you can’t do the survey on the website, you can complete the survey by phone at 1-833-707-1900, seven days a week between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Language interpreting services are also available for assistance with completing the survey over the phone.
Help the people in your life to participate
If you know someone who may have difficulty accessing or using a computer, open the survey via the link above, give them a call, and go through all the questions, inputting their answers into the online survey on their behalf. We need your help to prepare for B.C.’s future, and every voice counts.
Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
As we have mentioned in previous updates, Judy and Jeriah have done an amazing job of sourcing and purchasing equipment and cleaning supplies to assist us with keeping people safe and healthy. We have been able to buy some washable fabric masks that are available for staff and people we support who want to use a mask when they are in community places where physical distancing is difficult (eg. Transit or grocery stores).