Century-old Cornish Library reopens Tuesday after years of renos

6May

Century-old Cornish Library reopens Tuesday after years of renos

by admin

Winnipeg readers who want to check out the new look at the historic Cornish Library will have the opportunity beginning Tuesday afternoon, when the 105-year-old building officially reopens as a pickup location for online holds.

The Cornish, a familiar site on West Gate, has been undergoing much-needed renos since 2018 and has been redeveloped to meet modern needs — including an extension, new lounge spaces, accessible washrooms, a 24-hour book return, a children’s ‘family literacy playground,’ and redesigned computer areas.

Read more:
Winnipeg libraries move to fine-free model, outstanding fees waived

The $3.47-million renovation project, the city said, aimed to maintain the character of the heritage building by refreshing and preserving original woodwork.

“With over a century of library service to the community, it’s great to see the Cornish Library receive some much-needed renovations and repairs,” said Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman.

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6May

Grant supports jobs for youth facing barriers to employment

by admin

Young people with persistent and multiple barriers to employment or education, including youth directly affected by COVID-19, will have better access to services through a new employment program.

The Province is providing Foundry with a one-time grant of $5.1 million to administer Foundry Works! over the next three years. Foundry Works! is a youth employment program that integrates health and social services.

“We know social and emotional well-being matters, and support can prevent or minimize future mental health and substance-use challenges in a young person’s life,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Foundry’s research-backed employment initiative will support youth to have the greatest chance for success and happiness.”

Foundry Works! is designed to provide integrated and individualized wraparound assistance to youth aged 15 to 24 in B.C., including health, mentoring, education, skills development and job placement services. Foundry Works! will deliver programs and services to youth, who are not employed or involved in an educational program, to help them develop skills, gain paid work experience and eventually transition into the labour market.

“Young people in B.C. are full of potential. Especially now, during COVID-19, they are facing unprecedented challenges – including to their employment,” said Steve Mathias, executive director, Foundry. “Foundry envisions all young people in B.C. having the supports they need to live the life they want to lead. That includes vocational and employment services integrated with other health and social services young people need, delivered in a personalized way. We are excited to launch Foundry Works! through the Foundry Virtual BC platform and in our Foundry centres in 11 B.C. communities starting this summer.”

Foundry is a provincewide network of integrated health and social services centres where young people can access a variety of wraparound supports and services, including individualized mental health care, substance-use services, primary care and social services, as well as youth and family peer supports. Online resources and first-of-its-kind, provincewide virtual services further broaden Foundry’s reach. Referrals are not required to visit a centre or to receive online support, and all services are free and confidential.

“For young people, especially those who have mental health or substance-use challenges, meaningful employment can make a huge difference to their life,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Using an innovative approach, the Foundry Works! program integrates both health- and employment-related services to help put youth on a successful pathway.”

Interested participants can contact their nearest Foundry to enquire about Foundry Works! and do not need a referral from another organization.  

“Children, youth and families facing mental health and substance use challenges can learn new skills and participate in the workplace, which will make a tremendous difference in their lives,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Foundry is a leader in our communities and this investment in Foundry Works! will give youth and young adults access to the supports they need as they transition to adulthood.”

Quick Facts:

  • Over 123,000 young people in B.C., aged 15 to 24, are affected by loss of employment due to COVID-19.
  • Foundry services can be found online and in 11 B.C. communities, with another eight centres in development.
  • Foundry Works! is expected to support up to 600 individuals each year to improve their employment readiness, social and emotional well-being, and to achieve success in the labour market.
  • Foundry Works! is expected to launch provincewide in summer 2021.
  • This grant is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement (WDA).

Learn More:

Learn more about Foundry: https://foundrybc.ca/get-support

For further details about the launch of Foundry Works! in summer 2021, visit: https://foundrybc.ca

If you or someone you know needs help, reach out. Supports can be found online: www.gov.bc.ca/Covid19MentalHealthSupports

Learn more about the Canada-British Columbia WDA:
https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/training-agreements/workforce-development-agreements/bc.html  

6May

COVID-19 update for May 6: 572 new cases, no deaths | Road checks begin

by admin

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

Article content

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for May 6, 2021.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on May 5:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 132,925 (6,877 active cases)
• New cases since May 4: 572
• Total deaths: 1,597 (no deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 481
• Intensive care: 161
• Total vaccinations: 1,943,230 doses administered (93,656 second doses)
• Cases under public health monitoring: (not available)
• Recovered: 124,252
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 9

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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS ON COVID-19 IN B.C.

3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

12 a.m. –Roadside travel checks start

The B.C. RCMP will set up COVID-19 travel restriction road checks on four highways starting on Thursday.

In a prepared statement, B.C. RCMP spokesperson Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said there was a ban on non-essential travel between the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and North/Interior due to COVID-19.

The “COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Road Checks” will be located on Highway 1, near Boston Bar, Highway 3 in the Manning Park area, Highway 5 in the Old Toll Booth area, and Highway 99 in the Lillooet area.

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Shoihet said there would be signage before each road check advising of the upcoming stop, with safe u-turn routes close by.

12 a.m. – 572 new cases reported Wednesday, no deaths

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 572 new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths on Wednesday. She said there were 6,877 active cases in B.C., of which 481 were in hospital, including 161 people in intensive care. Most of the new cases were in Fraser Health (362), followed by Vancouver Coastal Health with 118 cases.

Henry said B.C.’s COVID-19 death toll was actually three fewer than the 1,597 reported on Tuesday due to a data correction.

B.C. is expected to hit the two million vaccination point over the next two days. So far, 1,943,230 doses have been administered at a rate now of between 30,000 and 40,000 a day.


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

– With files from The Canadian Press

Comments

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5May

B.C. artists stage Chicago-inspired performance spotlighting disrespect faced by people with disabilities | CBC News

by admin

The cast members in a theatrical performance being staged virtually this week aren’t likely to attack anyone who parks in a handicapped spot, but their fictional characters might.

Wheel Voices: Tune In! is a mashup of original scenes, rap, spoken word and songs featuring 14 Lower Mainland artists. It is the latest production by Realwheels Theatre, a company dedicated to telling stories that deepen people’s understanding about disabilities.

The show premiers online at 7 p.m. Wednesday and includes a parody of the famous Cell Block Tango song from the 1975  musical Chicago in which six female prisoners share via song the details of the murders they committed that put them behind bars.

“They had it coming, they only have themselves to blame,” the women sing.

In Wheel Voices, the song is titled Disability Cell Block Tango and the victims are people who cut in front of wheelchair users to access public transit, people who take up handicapped spots and others who have disrespected people living with disabilities.

Amelia Cooper says it’s frustrating when people cut in front of wheelchair users to access public transit. (Facebook/RealwheelsTheatre)

“We always think about what we would do to those people,” said performer Amelia Cooper, during an interview with CBC’s The Early Edition guest host Michelle Eliot.

As a wheelchair user,  she’s irked by people who cut in line through the wheelchair gate at transit stations. Another move she finds offensive is when people offer to bring up her situation with God.

“I’ve had multiple people come up to me and try to pray for me,” said Cooper.

The chorus of Disability Cell Block Tango reveals the characters sought the ultimate revenge on all these offenders: “Compass gate, prayer circle, parking spot … they had it coming,” is the parody’s chorus.

Cooper said creating these characters and their costumes was a blast. She plays an incarcerated drug dealer who trades narcotics for crafts while in jail. A jail where the cells have wheelchair buttons.

“Part of the reason we do it is to bring about awareness so that people know and they can try and help reduce the amount of struggles that people with disabilities have to go through,” said Cooper about staging productions with a purpose.

Wheel Voices: Tune In! can be watched online at 7 p.m. PT on Wednesday, May 5, with American Sign Language  interpretation. A second performance will be presented at the same time on May 14 with audio description.

Both performances are followed by a Q&A with cast and crew.

The Early Edition8:00“Comedic revenge fantasy” by people with disabilities

Amelia Cooper is the writer, and one of the performers in “The Disability Cell Block Tango.” It’s one of the pieces tonight as part of RealWheel’s online show “Wheel Voices: Tune In!” It’s a “pay-what-you-can” show, starting at 7 pm. And if you miss it, there’s a second show on May 14th. You can get tickets at realwheels.ca 8:00

5May

COVID-19: B.C. to offer Pfizer vaccine to kids 12 and up, possibly before end of school year

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B.C. health officials are working on a plan after Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in kids 12 and up.

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B.C. kids aged 12 and older could receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine before the end of the school year, according to health officials.

Following Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine for use in children as young as 12, B.C. will integrate them into the province’s vaccine rollout, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday.

“We’re working on how do we do that and how do we do it in the most efficient way possible,” she said. “There’s lots of possibilities including making sure we can get that done prior to June.”

Henry said kids aged 12 and older could be fully immunized with two doses before the next school year, although younger children may have to wait until the end of the year because clinical trials for those ages are still ongoing.

Asked about vaccinating students at schools, Henry said B.C. is looking at how to vaccinate kids most efficiently.

“The good news is we have a lot of vaccines. If all goes as planned in the next few months, so between May and June, we will have quite a lot of vaccines, so we should be able to fit this into our program, and still reach that goal of having at least first doses into the entire population by the end of June,” she said.

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There are about 300,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17 in B.C.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Teri Mooring said the news comes as a “big relief” to teachers.

“I hope the plans include going to school sites to start vaccinating,” she said.

Mooring also wants to see the province’s the vaccination program for essential workers, like teachers, sped up so teacher have their second doses before September.

On Wednesday, Health Canada said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can now be given to kids as young as 12, making Canada the first country to authorize its use for children 12 and older. The vaccine was previously authorized for anyone 16 and older.

A trial of more than 2,200 youth in that age group in the United States recorded no cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated kids. The trial used the same size doses, and the same two-doses requirement, as the vaccine for adults.

Health Canada’s chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said the evidence shows the vaccine is safe and effective for adolescents.

Sharma said about one-fifth of all cases of COVID-19 in Canada have occurred in children and teenagers, and having a vaccine for them is a critical part of Canada’s plan.

She said while most kids don’t experience serious illness from COVID-19, protecting them with a vaccine also helps protect their friends and family, who may be at higher risk of complications.

“It will also support the return to a more normal life for our children, who have had such a hard time over the past year,” she said.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company expects to have data on trials in kids between two and 11 years old in time to apply for authorization in the United States in September. The company has generally applied to Canada for approval around the same time.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expects to authorize the vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds next week.

More to come …

With files by the Canadian Press and Katie DeRosa

gluymes@postmedia.com

twitter.com/glendaluymes

5May

Concrete barriers coming to Stanley Park Drive to keep cars and bikes apart | CBC News

by admin

New plans unveiled for the hotly-debated roadway bike lane through Stanley Park show concrete barriers will be installed the length of Stanley Park Drive later this summer.

A statement  from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation says changes will be rolled out in three phases and will provide safer and more accessible ways to bike, drive, walk and roll though Stanley Park.

“The plan builds on public and stakeholder feedback and user data to ensure safer access for all park users during a period when many Vancouverites are looking for ways to stay healthy outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the statement.

Phase one coming later this month calls for traffic cones to separate the bike and vehicle lanes on Stanley Park Drive, from Pipeline Road North to Second Beach.

Signs and other traffic devices will be installed to direct drivers and cyclists. The seawall is remaining open to bikes, giving cyclists the option of either route.

Phase two slated for mid-June calls for staff to evaluate the section of Park Drive from the roundabout near Lost Lagoon and Pipeline Road North. 

Phase three in July is when the concrete barriers arrive to replace the traffic cones. They will be installed the length of Stanley Park Drive, with access gaps at intersections and crosswalks and for emergency and service vehicles.  

The City of Vancouver has unveiled a three-phase plan for the spring and summer of 2021 for walkers, cyclists, skaters and motorists in Stanley Park. (City of Vancouver)

The statement says work on the long-term Stanley Park mobility study continues and will incorporate feedback from this spring and summer’s roll out.

In March, the park board voted to reinstate a bike-only lane along the two-lane Stanley Park Drive, reducing vehicle traffic to a single lane.

Critics have argued the decision is unfair to park businesses and people with accessibility concerns.

5May

COVID-19: Roadside travel checks to start in B.C. on Thursday

by admin

Roadblocks on Highways 1, 3, 5 and 99 to ensure no non-essential travel between three health regions

Article content

The B.C. RCMP will set up COVID-19 travel restriction road checks on four highways starting on Thursday.

In a prepared statement, B.C. RCMP spokesperson Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said there was a ban on non-essential travel between the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and North/Interior due to COVID-19.

The “COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Road Checks” will be located on Highway 1, near Boston Bar, Highway 3 in the Manning Park area, Highway 5 in the Old Toll Booth area, and Highway 99 in the Lillooet area.

Shoihet said there would be signage before each road check advising of the upcoming stop, with safe u-turn routes close by.

“People travelling for essential reasons through those areas can expect traffic delays,” she said.

Commercial vehicles will not be subject to road checks.

At the road check, police officers will ask for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel.

If an officer determines that a person is travelling for non-essential reasons, they will be directed to leave the region. Those refusing to do so may face fines under the Emergency Program Act.

More to come.


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5May

COVID-19 update for May 5: B.C. CDC admits virus is airborne | Active cases continue to fall | Pregnant women now prioritized for vaccine

by admin

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

Article content

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for May 5, 2021.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on May 4:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 132,353 (7,161 active cases)
• New cases since May 3: 697
• Total deaths: 1,597 (1 new death)
• Hospitalized cases: 486
• Intensive care: 173
• Total vaccinations: 1,910,162 doses administered (92,244 second doses)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 10,961
• Recovered: 122,383
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 11

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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19 FAQ: What you need to know about the vaccine rollout in B.C.

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS ON COVID-19 IN B.C.

3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

5 a.m. – B.C. Centre for Disease Control now accepts virus can linger in the air

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has changed its definition of COVID-19 spread, confirming the virus can be transferred by tiny aerosolized droplets and not just large droplets that fall quickly to the ground.

On Tuesday, the Centre updated its website, stating “COVID-19 spreads from a person with COVID-19 to others through smaller droplets known as aerosols.”

Until now, the Centre had stated the disease spreads only through large droplets.

That means the threat of catching COVID-19 isn’t only from large, virus-laden droplets that fall to the ground, but from small particles that can linger in the air for hours, building up in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, while quickly dispersing outdoors.

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Therefore the size of an indoor space, how many people are in it, the length of exposure and air circulation all factor into how easily viral particles might spread.

The Centre states the risk of transmission of the disease by touching surfaces is very low.

-David Carrigg

5 a.m. – B.C. fears cross-border transmission as virus rages in Alberta

With signs on the B.C.-Alberta border the only thing to deter our provincial neighbours from vacationing here, there’s growing concern that Alberta’s high COVID-19 rates could spill into B.C., just as cases edge downward here.

Alberta has more than 23,000 active COVID-19 infections and has the highest case rate of any jurisdiction in North America. A record 154 infected people were in intensive care on Monday.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is warning that as Alberta grapples with the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita in Canada, interprovincial travel could increase transmission in B.C.

Alberta’s daily COVID cases have been on a steady upward path since March, nearing 40 cases a day for every 100,000 people. In comparison, B.C.’s daily cases have been trending down since the second week of April, hitting about 17 dacases a day for every 100,000 people for the week of April 23 to 29.

On Tuesday night, Premier Jason Kenney announced all school students will move to online learning. Alberta will close restaurant patios, hair salons and tattoo parlours and reduce the capacity of retail shops to no more than 10 per cent of customer capacity. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people instead of 10.

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-Katie DeRosa

12 a.m. – Active and new cases continue to fall

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has reported 697 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and one death. Henry said there were 7,161 active cases of the disease, of which 486 were being treated in hospital including 173 in intensive care.

She said one person had died, bringing that tally to 1,597. The bulk of all new cases are occurring in the Fraser Health region, specifically Surrey.

Parts of northwest Surrey including Whalley and Newton had an average of 40 COVID-19 cases a day for every 100,0000 people, more than double the rate of most other areas of Metro Vancouver. In Whalley and Newton, more than 20 per cent of COVID-19 tests were positive, compared to 11 per cent for the whole province.

Henry said 1,817,918 British Columbians have received at least one dose of vaccine, as the province’s seven-day average daily case count and active cases continue to fall.

12 a.m. – Pregnant women in B.C. now prioritized for vaccine

Pregnant women are now being prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine, B.C. announced Tuesday.

The move follows Ontario and Quebec, which have moved pregnant women up the vaccine priority list as a result of increased risk of severe illness linked to COVID-19.

“All Health Canada-approved vaccines are safe and effective, and I encourage everyone to register and receive their vaccine as soon as they are eligible. Today, this includes people who are pregnant,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement Tuesday.

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Pregnant people over the age of 16 can register at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated and phone 1-833-838-2323, identifying as being pregnant. Online booking for pregnant people is not available.

-Katie DeRosa


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

– With files from The Canadian Press

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

4May

COVID-19: B.C. Centre for Disease Control now accepts virus can linger in the air

by admin

Until now, the BCCDC had stated the disease spreads only through large droplets

Article content

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has changed its definition of COVID-19 spread, confirming the virus can be transferred by tiny aerosolized droplets and not just large droplets that fall quickly to the ground.

On Tuesday, the BCCDC updated its website, stating “COVID-19 spreads from a person with COVID-19 to others through smaller droplets known as aerosols.”

Until now, the BCCDC had stated the disease spreads only through large droplets.

That means the threat of catching COVID-19 isn’t only from large, virus-laden droplets that fall to the ground, but from small particles that can linger in the air for hours, building up in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, while quickly dispersing outdoors.

Therefore the size of an indoor space, how many people are in it, the length of exposure and air circulation all factor into how easily viral particles might spread.

The BCCDC states the risk of transmission of the disease by touching surfaces is very low.

Article content

On Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 697 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and one death. Henry said there were 7,161 active cases of the disease, of which 486 were being treated in hospital including 173 in intensive care.

She said one person had died, bringing that tally to 1,597. The bulk of all new cases are occurring in the Fraser Health region, specifically Surrey.

Parts of northwest Surrey including Whalley and Newton had an average of 40 COVID-19 cases a day for every 100,0000 people, more than double the rate of most other areas of Metro Vancouver. In Whalley and Newton, more than 20 per cent of COVID-19 tests were positive, compared to 11 per cent for the whole province.

Henry said 1,817,918 British Columbians have received at least one dose of vaccine, as the province’s seven-day average daily case count and active cases continue to fall.

Meanwhile, pregnant women are now being given priority for the COVID-19 vaccine in B.C.

B.C. follows Ontario and Quebec, which moved pregnant women up the vaccine priority list because of increased risk of severe illness linked to COVID-19.

“All Health Canada-approved vaccines are safe and effective, and I encourage everyone to register and receive their vaccine as soon as they are eligible. Today, this includes people who are pregnant,” the provincial health officer, Henry said.

— with files from Katie DeRosa and Bloomberg

dcarrigg@postmedia.com


Get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


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4May

‘They failed me’: High-profile Mountie walks away from B.C. RCMP after struggles with PTSD

by admin

VANCOUVER —
A high-profile Mountie is walking away from the RCMP after what she calls “unforgivable” neglect from the institution.

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pound was the face of Integrated Homicide Investigation Team for years, a role that eventually left her suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.

After years of struggle, she has decided to retire early, saying she could no longer in good conscience, represent the organization.

Deep roots in the RCMP

Pound says she knew she wanted to be a police officer when she was 15, following in her father’s footsteps.

“He really did enjoy his work and came home and raved about how much he loved working every day,” she told CTV News Vancouver. “So, I kind of wanted to mimic that and have a career that you know, felt a part of a family to and really enjoy the camaraderie and a sense of purpose.”

Her brother, husband and many other family members also became members.

At 23, Pound began her career in the University detachment, before heading to North Vancouver.

“I went on to a legal gaming section, the missing women unit and then the Richmond detachment is where I really started to get into the media component of policing,” said Pound.

A slow burn

After years of commitment, Pound was brought onto the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team where she was promoted twice, eventually becoming a staff sergeant.

“People that want to go there want to see justice and they want to see people held accountable for the most horrific crime that you can encounter,” she explained.

As the unit’s spokesperson she worked closely with the families of victims, shouldering the burden of some of the province’s most brutal murders in a very public way.

She believes those interactions triggered the initial symptoms of PTSD.

“On camera, I can be stoic, and I can be whoever I need to be to get that message across. But at the end of the day, I’m walking in my own door to go home. And my family’s not getting the best of me.”

She began experiencing what she described as flu-like symptoms that she couldn’t seem to shake.

“Thankfully, it manifested itself physically or I don’t really know when I would have stopped to take a break and get myself well,” she said.

She was forced to seek medical attention and was put on a two-week medical leave.

“It was just slipping more into an abyss of illness and not being able to get out of bed and hitting just a really, really deep, dark depression within those two weeks,” she told CTV News.

Seeking treatment

Pound was diagnosed with PTSD by her family doctor and was put on another three-month leave.

“The crucial time for in my opinion for the RCMP to get involved with individuals that are off work are from the very, very initial stages,” she said. “You can’t have your people off work sick and not be checking in on them and not at least be acknowledging that you play a role in their recovery.”

She says her direct supervisors were supportive, but RCMP health services was not.

“The very first call that I received from the RCMP was from the graduated return to work people to say, ‘When are you going to get back to work?’ Which is really, really damaging when an individual is trying to figure out what’s wrong with them,” Pound said.

She says that call only exasperated the guilt and shame she was already feeling.

On top of that, she was faced with a six-month waitlist to see a psychologist.

“There’s a real pressure to get members back on the road. And that pressure can be dangerous when you’re dealing with first responders and policing you don’t want sick members on the road.”

It ended up taking her more than a year to see a psychologist that had experience working with first responders.

“What I needed is some from somebody health services to go, ‘Here’s the process. Here’s what you can expect,’ and offer up some psychologists, some doctors, something tangible and helpful for me to move forward in my healing process,” she explained.

RCMP health services

National Headquarters says RCMP health services operates through three programs:

  • Occupational health: which assesses an officer’s fitness to perform law enforcement duties.
  • Disability management and accommodation: which recommends limitations or restrictions to ill or injured members.
  • Health benefits: which determines whether illness or injuries are work-related.

“When you describe yourself as a health services unit, there’s an expectation from the members that they’re going to help you get healthy,” Pound said.

The RCMP says its members are covered for basic health care under provincial/territorial health care plans.

“The health and safety of our members is a top priority for the RCMP and is essential to public safety,” said the RCMP in a statement to CTV News.

“Although, we can’t comment on specific cases, we take work-related stress and mental health issues very seriously and are committed to enhancing the health, safety and resiliency of all our employees. Our work on mental health will never be done.”

Pound says the institution needs to play a bigger role in securing mental health support in a timely manner.

“Health services within the RCMP are ineffective,” she said.

“They failed me right out of the gate.”

‘Stay on the Line’

Pound has been blogging about her struggles with PTSD through a blog called “Stay on the Line,” referencing what 911 dispatchers often tell people in crisis before help is on the way.

She says she’s been inundated with responses from other first responders who have faced similar challenges accessing care.

Going forward she hopes to use the platform to let people with PTSD know they are not alone.

She says the decision to take an early retirement wasn’t an easy one, as she still had many things she wanted to accomplish in policing.

“I knew I couldn’t go back and feel good about myself and feel good about myself for working for an organization that I knew had forgotten me as soon as I stepped out the door.” 

This is part one of a three-part series. Check back for more this week.

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