Revelstoke Mountaineer COVID-19 community update newsletter: March 27

Revelstoke patient ventilator availability; new online farmers market; city utilities payment extension; Community Connections carries on; Revelstoke Credit Union waives fees

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Seeing solo walkers along the River City Trail is becoming common place as people practice physical distancing in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. This resident was off to give fishing a go. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

The Mountaineer’s daily COVID-19 update is a community collaboration, providing a centralized information resource highlighting Revelstoke’s response to the public health and economic crisis.

Add your community news to the daily newsletter by submitting it via the revelstokemountaineer.com homepage via this link: https://revelstokemountaineer.com/submit-a-story/

Today, we want to challenge the community to share a story of a small local business that is going above and beyond to adapt to change brought on by COVID-19.

Seeing solo walkers along the River City Trail is becoming common place as people practice physical distancing in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. This resident was off to give fishing a go. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Businesses get a bit of relief as city extends deadline for commercial utilities

Revelstoke City Hall. Photo: Revelstoke Mountaineer file photo

 

The City of Revelstoke is extending the deadline for businesses to pay commercial utilities. Revelstoke city council extended the due date of April 30, 2020 for commercial utilities to two equal payments. The first payment is due July 31, 2020 and the second due October 31, 2020.

In a report to council, City of Revelstoke director of finance Tania McCabe said extending the deadline “aligns with the council priority emergency planning by providing businesses with an option to manage their cash flows while they respond to the crisis.”

The report further stated that while the city is limited in what it is able to alter with respect to property revenue in take and property tax penalties, the city can offer some financial relief to Revelstoke’s business community.

Quarterly revenues from the utility invoices is $341,000. McCabe said delaying the due date for the second quarter billing, will postpone the receipt of 50 percent of this cash flow for three months, and the other 50 percent for six months.

“It is believed this will be a manageable cash disruption for the city,” said McCabe.

“Our industry has never faced this type of crisis before,” the letter states.

The Revelstoke Mountaineer reached out to Mayor Gary Sulz for any other COVID-19 news related to the city, but he was not immediately available for comment.

Revelstoke School District working on at-home learning opportunities for students

Revelstoke Secondary School. Photo: Jonathan Morgan & Company Limited. www.jmclimited.ca

 

Revelstoke elementary and high school students won’t return to class after spring break. Students were on a two-week break from school and would have returned to classes on Monday, March 30. On March 17, the Ministry of Education announced it was suspending all in-class instruction indefinitely, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,

Revelstoke School District 19 superintendent Mike Hooker confirmed students will not be returning to class in a March 26 letter to parents. Hooker said parents can expect to receive information from the children’s school principal during the week of March 30. You can read the School District 19 letter to parents here.

“[I]n respect of the social distancing practices, I am confirming that students and parents will not be coming to school,” Hooker said in the letter.

Hooker said staff have begun planning and preparing for continued learning opportunities for students which can take place at home.

“I have confidence in our staff, and our community, that we will create new and innovative ways to support the needs of our students in the coming weeks and months while honouring our collective responsibility to act in a manner consistent with the most recent medical advice. Our teachers will be connecting with students and families as those plans and supports are created.”

The school district is working on establishing a safe way for students to access personal items they may need, but will place an emphasis on maintaining a safe environment for students, families and all school district employees.

Will Revelstoke have enough ventilators for those with severe COVID-19 cases?

A treatment room in Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine file photo

 

The Mar. 27 daily briefing by Dr. Bonnie Henry outlined the projected number of severe COVID-19 cases requiring acute care in hospitals versus the equipment and staff available to treat them.

The modelling showed variability between B.C. health regions, finding that Vancouver Coastal Health would have 32 leftover ventilators when existing patients and new patients were factored in.

Fraser Health, Northern Health and the Revelstoke-area Interior Health were all shown to have a deficit in ventilators based on a scenario where 80% of patients in ICU require ventilating. Interior Health has 77 ventilators and the model showed 82 would be needed. Of course, this is just one set of projections in a very dynamic situation.

The Mountaineer contacted Interior Health spokesperson Susan Duncan, asking her if there were any plans to increase the number of ventilators here in Revelstoke. In an email reply, Duncan did not directly answer our question as to whether there are plans to add ventilators or staff to operate them in Revelstoke.

She did say that patients with respiratory illness can be supported in “a number of hospitals.”

“Any patient who requires a higher level of care not available in their community would be transported to the appropriate location,” Duncan said. “These decisions are made by the attending physician, in consultation with a medical health officer or medical microbiologist, along with our patient transport team.”

Duncan said that IH hospital occupancy is below 65 per cent, down from the normal 100 per cent, due to preparations for the COVID-19 pandemic. Many non-urgent medical procedures have been suspended in preparation for the pandemic.

“For Interior Health, we have not seen an influx of COVID-19 patients to our hospitals,” Duncan added.

Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary Society thrift store closed

The Revelstoke Hospita Auxiliary thrift store is closed due to COVID-19 and not accepting donations. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

 

A reminder that the Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary Society thrift store is closed and not currently accepting donations.

The thrift store, which raises funds to purchase medical equipment for the community, announced on March 17, 2020 the Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store will be closed indefinitely because of the COVID-19 virus.

“Most of our members are vulnerable as they are 50-plus, and with the threat of the virus we feel that it is important to protect our members and volunteers,” the post states.

The thrift store is asking people to respect the signs in place for no donations during the closure.

Community Connections adapts services, will continue to offer support to individuals and families

Individuals and families who would like to access Community Connections’ services but do not have access to a phone or a computer can leave a message in a lock box located outside the Community Connections Main Office back door. Photo: Community Connections/Facebook

 

Community Connections Revelstoke Society says it is doing all it can to continue providing services to people in Revelstoke.

”We recgniize the added stress and changes that our community is facing and we want to let you know we are here and continuing to provide our services to the individuals and families of Revelstoke,” Community Connections executive director Sheena Bell wrote in a March 27 public notice.

Bell said due to concerns relating to COVID-19 Community Conections has put temporary measure in place for the safety, support and health of both staff and the community. The changes and suspensions to aspects of services offered will continue until further notice, but Bell said Community Connections is still open during regular office hours and receiving referrals and requests for all programs.

Programming that is available in an adapted capacity includes:

– Counselling; Child, Youth and Family Support

– Supported Child Development and Infant Development Services

– Women’s Support Services

– Community Inclusion, Outreach, and Residential Services for Adults

– Social Justice Advocate

– Housing Outreach and Tenant Support (Monashee Court)

– Food Recovery and Food Bank

“We have been working hard to make adaptations that will allow us to continue to connect individuals, families, and groups with supports and resources, and with each other,” said Bell.

Individuals and families who would like to connect with staff or a program can make general inquiries by calling the office at 250-837-2920, or through email to info@community-connections.ca. Those who do not have access to a phone or computer can leave a message in a lock box located outside the Main Office back door (located in the alley behind the building at 314 Second Street East) with instructions on how Community Connections can reach then with a response and connect them to services. Referrals from other service providers can be made in the same manner as for individuals and families.

Community Connections is also providing updates via its Facebook page.

Province announces plans for virtual farmers markets

The Revelstoke Farmers Market. File photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

 

Province announces plans for virtual farmers markets

The B.C. government has announced plans and a limited amount of funding to help farmers markets transition to online sales.

The new online portal will be located at https://bcfarmersmarkettrail.com/ and the system will operate using the www.localline.ca platform.

In a Mar. 27 announcement, the B.C. government said it was providing $55,000 to the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) to cover fees for individual farmers markets.

An image of a Local Line farmers market portal. Photo: Local Line

“The critical importance and resiliency of local food and farmers has never been clearer than now, and B.C. farmers markets are an essential retail sales channel for British Columbians to access local food and sustain the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and food processors across our province,” said Heather O’Hara, executive director of BCAFM.

Here in town, Revelstoke Local Food Initiative (LFI) Executive Director Jodi Kay said her organization is adapting to many changes and started looking into Local Line today following the announcement.

“The LFI Farmer’s Market has started to work with Local Line through the BCAFM. We are doing everything we can do support our farmers and help them bring fresh, healthy local food to our community,” Kay said, adding that, like with many things in life now, they’re adapting on the fly.

Currently, Kay said the LFI is working to support Wild Flight Farms, the largest produce supplier at the local market, to bring in their next scheduled delivery on April 3.

For more on the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative, see their website here: http://www.revelstokelocalfood.com/

Some service charged to be waived at Revelstoke Credit Union effective March 1, 2020

Revelstoke Credit Union is waiving some fees starting April 1, 2020. Photo: Revelstoke Credit Union

 

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Revelstoke Credit Union is waiving a series of service charges including for ATM use, point of sale devices, and bill payment transactions. The changes come into effect March 1.

This measure will allow RCU Members to make point-of-sale (POS) transactions without handling cash for transactions under $250. Collabria has increased the tap limit from $100 to $250, and using the tap feature will help reduce contact with POS keypads.

”We are open for business, and with our offices not accessible to the public, we feel that eliminating fees is the right thing to do as we encourage you to use these alternate methods of banking,” said Revelstoke Credit Union community liaison Jamie Hobgood.

”Please feel free to reach out to us at 250-837-6291 or, info@revcu.com with any concerns you have regarding your financial relationship with RCU. As your community partner, we are here to help. We will periodically reassess the state of this COVID-19 crisis and will provide notice of any further measures if the need arises.”

Have an update on COVID-19 you want to share?

Revelstoke, we need your help to keep the daily COVID-19 updates going. Each day, we will compile newsworthy local briefs about COVID-19, highlighting Revelstoke’s response. Do you know someone in the health care industry, who is on the frontlines helping fight the COVID-19 crisis here in Revelstoke? Maybe a care aid, nurse or even an instrument sterilization technician? We want to share their stories.

How can I make a submission?

The Mountaineer is only accepting submissions for the daily Revelstoke COVID-19 update via our Submit-a-Story feature (here’s the link: https://revelstokemountaineer.com/submit-a-story/). All submissions require a photo and a write-up of around 200 words.

Due to limited resources emailed submissions will not be accepted for inclusion in the daily update.