Black Press is providing full coverage of the COVID-19 virus (also known as the novel coronavirus) and how it impacts British Columbians and Canadians. For the latest stories, go to https://bit.ly/2WkxT3A.
The situation regarding COVID-19 is fluid and rapidly changing. All information in this article is accurate as of press time (noon on Tuesday, April 21), but could change without notice.
Local COVID-19 help line
Do you—or does someone you know—need assistance with local pick-up of groceries, medicines, or other supplies? Do you need mail picked up? Do you need spiritual support or want someone to talk to?
A number of local organizations, governments, and volunteers have come together to offer the COVID-19 help line for Ashcroft and Cache Creek. Residents can call (250) 457-3422 to arrange for local pick-up and delivery of items, find an organization that can help them with what they need, or find someone to talk to.
The phone number is active 24/7 and is staffed by volunteers who have contact information available for a wide variety of services and supports. Help is only a phone call away.
Community Info Board
For continuously updated news and information about businesses, services, and organizations in the Ashcroft/Cache Creek/Clinton area, and how they are being impacted by/responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Ash/Cache/Clinton COVID-19 Community Info Board on Facebook.
Interior Health online town hall
B.C.’s regional health authorities have started collecting questions for a series of regional online COVID-19 town halls, to be hosted weekday evenings from April 17 to April 23.
There will be one event for each regional health authority, and they will be live streamed on the Government of British Columbia Facebook page and ProvinceofBC YouTube channel. Questions can be submitted in advance on these pages, or live during the regional events.
The COVID-19 regional town hall for Interior Health will run from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. Participants will include MLA Katrine Conroy, MLA Norm Letnick, IH CEO Susan Brown, and Medical Health Officer Dr. Sue Pollock.
Interior Health issues work camp warning
Interior Health (IH) has issued a warning after health officials identified a COVID-19 outbreak at a work camp in northern Alberta, which has resulted in at least seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C.
The outbreak was at the Kearl Lake oil sands project, north of Fort McMurray. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has ordered anyone who worked at the site to self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone who experiences signs of illness, such as a fever or dry cough, is being urged to call 8-1-1.
“Right now I am ordering anybody who has been in the Kearl Lake project since March 15 and has returned to British Columbia that they must self-isolate for 14 days after their return,” Henry said on April 20. “For many people, this will mean that their return was over 14 days ago. If they had symptoms during that time, or if they continue to have symptoms, we want you to connect with 8-1-1 and tell us about that.”
Henry said there are more coronavirus test results pending, and Alberta health officials are working to contain the outbreak.
ICBC waives some fees
ICBC will be waiving its $30 cancellation fee and $18 re-plating fee for people who choose to cancel their insurance temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers will be required to remove the plate from the vehicle while it is not insured, and the vehicle must be kept off the road.
“Customers who reinsure May 30 or thereafter will be able to reuse their plate,” ICBC said in a statement. “Customers reinsuring prior to that date will be issued a new plate at no charge and at that time are expected to surrender their plate.”
ICBC has also confirmed that customers can use their vehicles for delivery of food or medical products and services, without changing their vehicle use insurance or paying an additional premium. This includes volunteers helping isolated seniors.
For learner licences that are expiring during the pandemic restrictions, the fee for the first knowledge test will be waived once testing resumes. Road tests are currently suspended due to the pandemic.
COVID-19 auto crime
April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month, and vehicle owners need to T.H.I.N.K. about protecting property inside their vehicles.
As people practice safety, they might not be using their cars as much, leaving vehicles at the mercy of thieves, who have added items such as disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to the list of things that are commonly reported stolen from vehicles.
The RCMP encourages vehicle owners to:
T: Take your valuables, or
H: Hide valuables out of plain sight
I: Immobilize your vehicle
N: Never idle unattended
K: Key security (keep track of your keys)
BC Hydro bill relief
BC Hydro has received more than 3,000 applications from its small business customers for its COVID-19 Relief Fund after it began accepting applications last week. Under the program, BC Hydro small business customers that have closed as a result of COVID-19 can apply to have their electricity costs waived for up to three months.
To be eligible for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, business customers must be on BC Hydro’s Small General Service Rate and have temporarily closed or ceased operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. BC Hydro estimates that around 40,000 small businesses in the province will be eligible for the program.
Last week, BC Hydro began accepting applications for its COVID-19 Relief Fund from its residential customers that have lost employment or their income due to COVID-19. Since then, more than 57,000 British Columbians have applied for the program so far. BC Hydro estimates this to amount to approximately $16 million in credits.
Customers have until June 30, 2020 to submit their application. To apply online for the BC Hydro COVID-19 Relief Fund, go to www.bchydro.com/covid19relief.
BC Business COVID-19 support hot line
The BC Business COVID-19 Support Hot Line service is a one-stop resource to answer questions about supports available to help businesses get through the COVID-19 pandemic. Advisors from Small Business BC (SBBC) are available to help answer questions about supports available to businesses from the provincial and federal governments, industry, and community partners.
There are also a variety of resources available, including webinars and practical tools. In addition, SBBC will continue to provide its usual services, such as access to expert business advisors, educational services, and free resources in the context of COVID-19.
The hot line is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 1-833-254-4357. You can also email email@example.com; to learn more, or chat live with someone, go to https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca.