The B.C. health ministry is holding five “virtual town halls” around the province during the week starting April 17 to give people a chance to ask questions of those in charge of day-to-day response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The events will be one each for each regional health authority, Northern Health, Interior Health, Fraser Health, Vancouver Island Health and Vancouver Coastal Health. They will be hosted by local MLAs, one government and one opposition, and offer responses from regional medical officers of health and health authority CEOs.
“I think it’s very important we have an opportunity for the people who are leading our efforts in these regions, the CEOs of health authorities and medical health officers to be able to answer directly questions that people in regions have,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said April 15, adding that times and call-in details are coming soon.
The first event is set for April 17 in the Vancouver Coastal region.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry described the province’s efforts to extend pandemic prevention and response to remote and Indigenous communities. One of those is the use of portable testers called Genexperts, which B.C. has on hand and has converted for use to detect the novel coronavirus.
“We have been able to deploy testing to better support our more remote and Indigenous communities around the province, and that’s something that I think is going to be incredibly important for us to be able to detect cases early, to detect clusters of cases, and to appropriately and safely manage in these communities,” Henry said.
Earlier in the day, Premier John Horgan responded to calls for more enforcement of group gatherings and vacation travel on ferries or into small communities.
“I think public scorn is as effective a tool as a fine or a ticket or some other action of government,” Horgan said.