The mayor of Vernon said changes to city operations will be announced when they’re ready to be implemented following announcements from the province and prime minister on Monday, March 16, 2020. (File photo)

COVID-19: Necessary changes to city operations coming, says Vernon mayor

‘We have not seen a global health event of this scale in more than 100 years’

The City of Vernon is reviewing its operations and will be making necessary changes following updates from both the federal and provincial government Monday, March 16, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The changes, Mayor Victor Cumming said, will be announced as soon as they are ready to be implemented.

The mayor extended his gratitude to Vernonites for taking the novel coronavirus seriously and adjusting their daily lives.

“We are currently facing an extremely unusual situation,” he said. “We have not seen a global health event of this scale in more than 100 years, with the influenza pandemic of 1918.

“This current event is significant,” Mayor Cumming said.

The federal and provincial government said the “window to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Canada is narrow and quickly closing,” the mayor said.

“This is why the City of Vernon and so many others are taking immediate and serious action.”

City staff will continue to diligently monitor the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and has taken intentional steps to reduce the spread of infection in its facilities, while promoting safe and healthy practices for the public and employees.

Several events and businesses have been cancelled, or closed shop temporarily, after the provincial health officer urged further social distancing and self-isolation to curb the spread of infection within communities.

READ MORE: Vernon Aquatic Centre shuts down hot spots; pools, weight room still open

Currently, there are only two cases of COVID-19 within the Interior Health region, but the exact locations of the patients has not been released to protect their privacy.

READ MORE: Number of COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region remains at two

READ MORE: ‘We are in this together,’ Vernon mayor says amid coronavirus concerns

Thirty new cases in British Columbia were announced on Monday, March 16, bringing the total coronavirus cases to 103 in the province. Six of these are in hospital, five have fully recovered, four have died and the rest are recovering in isolation at home, according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

The City of Vernon announced it is equipped with a pandemic plan last week in a prepared statement.

“Up to this point, a lot of work has been done to contain the spread of the virus,” Mayor Cumming said. “But, we can’t stop here.

The mayor said he urges the residents of Vernon to continue practising healthy hygiene techniques, stay at home if sick and practice social distancing.

“But also, stay connected with one another,” he said.

Echoing the prime minister’s comments Monday, the mayor said residents should continue socializing with friends, family and neighbours.

“Call them, write them, check on them regularly,” he said. “Let’s support each other and remember that we all have people we care about who could be seriously impacted.”

The mayor also encouraged residents to stay active, engaged and “find new and creative ways to interact,” he said.

“We’re still in this together.”

READ MORE: B.C. dentists to suspend all elective, non-essential dental work due to COVID-19

READ MORE: COVID-19: What’s open and closed in B.C. as a result of the novel coronavirus


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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