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EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE : COVID-19


LAKE BABINE NATION

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER (EOC)

LOCATION: COUNCIL CHAMBERS

Lake Babine Nation COVID-19 Bylaw

Click here to view the bylaw

Funeral Protocol

Click here to view the Funeral Protocol

Dr. Henry’s Updates:

Today (May 28, 2020)

BC Update:
9 new cases
1558 total test-positive cases
241 ACTIVE cases right now in the province.
W/ NO new test positive cases in Northern Health
899 Vancouver Coastal Health
1274 Fraser Health
127 Vancouver Island
195 Interior Health
63 Northern Health
33 people are currently hospitalized throughout B.C.
6 are in ICU.
2 new deaths

164 total deaths as a result of COVID-19

From March 28, 2020:

Covid 19 by Region:
444 → Vancouver Coastal
291 → Fraser
66 → Islands
77 → Interior
12 →Northern
396 → Recovery
17 → Deaths
42,028 → Tests completed

Link to Dr Henry’s Survey:

bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19-survey

EOC TEAM:

Organization Chart:

Fort Babine: Vickie West
Tachet: Mark Power

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE TEAM

In March 2020 lives changed when the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) hit the world. Dr. Henry announced that mass gatherings, family outings, concerts, all sporting events and all other major events were cancelled indefinitely.

The Corona Virus is a disease caused by the new virus that emerged in China in December 2019.  Symptoms include: cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, unexplained loss of taste in smell, diarrhea, and headache.  This virus can be severe, and in some cases cause death.  It can be spread from person-to-person.  There is no vaccine yet and there may not have one for approximately a year. Prevention involves washing your hands for 20 seconds, coughing into your arm, not touching your face, and staying home.

Bernard Patrick, Capital Infrastructure/Housing Director activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and developed a team from LBN staff.  The following staff were part of the team until the fulltime crew was set: Marilyn Joseph-Williams, as EOC Finance but had prior plans with audit so Lori West had stepped in; Mary Lynn Crouse, was EOC Deputy Operations and was part of the team for a few weeks; Roxane Williams, assisted with EOC Deputy Planning for one week; Beatrice MacDonald, EOC Liasion Officer but had other commitments to her job with no replacement.  Our current EOC team are the following:

  • Bernard Patrick, EOC Director and his responsibilities include: considering policies, set expenditure limits, request outside support/resources, authorize “state of local emergency”, assist with public information, supervise the EOC team, and acknowledge contributions.
  • Rick Dobbs, Capital Asset Officer was assigned to EOC Operations and EOC Risk Management. As Operations Rick maintains communications, participate in EOC action planning meetings, coordinate response, coordinate resource requests, share operational information, and manage the operations section. As Risk Manager Rick manages risks, ensure EOC safety, and ensure EOC security.
  • Murphy Patrick Sr., Liaison Officer was assigned to the EOC Planning position who oversees the team’s overload, planning, and works closely with finance and logistics.  Assess the situation, prepare EOC action plans, track resources, keep records, plan for EOC demobilization, anticipate future events, plan for recovery, coordinate technical specialists, manage the planning section and prepare after action report.
  • Kerry Alec, Communications Media Coordinator/Indian Registration Administrator  was assigned as the EOC Media/Information position. Working along side Kerry was Petra West-Bayes who shared announcements from the Chief via Facebook Live Feed.
  • Sheena Joseph, Economic Development Assistant was assigned EOC Finance. Sheena’s job includes recording personnel time, coordinate purchasing, coordinate compensation and claims, record costs, and manage the finance/administration section.
  • Rose Johnny, Executive Director’s Assistant was assigned EOC Logistics to provide telecommunication and information technology services, support EOC operations, supply and equipment and material resources to sites, coordinate personnel, and manage the logistics section.
  • Beatrice MacDonald, Human Resources (HR) manages of any HR issues, employee forms, and schedules for security, and in-house announcements  regarding COVID-19.
  • Tim Sheehan, LPN (Health Rep with Solutions RN) oversees the information flowing to and from the members and the EOC team. Tim relays information on COVID-19 from FNHA, BC Center for Disease Control (BCCDC), Provincial and Federal Government and Health Canada to the Nation.
  • Mark Power, Operations Manager assigned EOC contact for Tachet,  and Vickie West, Operations Manager assigned EOC contact for Fort Babine.

The EOC Team works with the Health Department employees: Tim Sheehan, NR; Toby Rienhart, Nurse (FNHA); and Beatrice Michell, Language (Education). Both teams reviewed and discussed COVID-19 information packages and were delivered to the members door to door in all three communities and provided on LBN website.  Violet Findlay, Lisa Mercer, and Irene Williams worked with the elders in the community, to check in and assist with any medical prescription needs. Beatrice Michell worked with staff and a few well known elders to create audio and video announcements in carrier translation.

The team immediately distributed notices door-to-door informing Tachet, Fort Babine, and Woyenne of the office closure.  Following the closure, there were employees laid off.  Staff in the EOC team were in office to run the Emergency Operations Centre.  March 19, 2020 the EOC team was officially activated.  Bernard searched for funding to run the operation and met with Emergency Management BC (EMBC) for coverage while running the operations centre.  Funding was received from PGNAETA, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and FNHA.

The EOC team organized and set up security check points in each community. 18 security in Woyenne; 6 stationed inTachet; and 6 stationed in Fort Babine, all working three different shifts.  Dennis Crouse was hired Head Security to coordinate all of the security.  A COVID-19 By-law was needed and to be enforced to keep all members safe.  After lengthy discussions and reviews, the By-law was presented to Chief and Council for approval. After further review and advice from LBN’s lawyer, Dominique Nouvet, it was ready for the approval process.  The COVID-19 By-law was approved, supported, and signed by Lake Babine Nation’s Chief and Council on March 27, 2020.  It distributed door-to-door in each community and released on the LBN website.

A safety measure to protect our employees were to order Plexiglas guards from All West Glass for the gas station cashiers in Woyenne, Tachet, and Fort Babine communities.

To assist Elders and Single mothers in each community, the EOC provided a food hamper consisting of canned goods, meat, sanitizers, tissue and cleaning supplies.  Items ordered and received were from the following companies: Grizzly Jim’s, Priestly Meats, Bulkley Valley Wholesale, Burns Lake Wholesale and Midway Purnell in Burns Lake, Vanderhoof, and Smithers.  During the second week of May, the EOC team assembled the hampers and delivered to the Elders and Single Mothers in Tachet, Fort Babine, and Woyenne.

The EOC team developed a funeral protocol which was reviewed by the EOC team, health department, and chief and council.  LBN’s lawyer, Dominique Nouvet, again assisted with the legal terminology for the protocol.  May 4, 2020 the funeral protocol was approved and released on the LBN website.  A copy was also provided to all the Directors.

Dr. Henry has re-opened British Columbia post May long weekend.  LBN is now working on a plan for part of the essential staff returning, for this reason Plexiglas guards are on order for the reception areas of each administration and health buildings in Woyenne, Tachet, and Fort Babine. Social Distancing, direction, and warning signs will be provided for each entrances for the buildings.

The EOC team produce COVID-19 daily update for the staff and members when Dr. Henry completes her daily updates. The EOC team participated in a two day EMBC Training via Zoom in April and two days in May with Cam Challenger.

“We are changing and modifying the testing strategy.  Random testing with people who have no symptoms is of very little value to us.  Continue to wash your hands and don’t touch your face or eyes.  87 people confirmed with the dental conference in BC.”

First Nations Public Service Secretariat Webinar

First Nations Public Service Secretariat (FNPSS) hosted a webinar this morning and will do so at regular intervals hereafter.  On the webinar today was: (1) Leah Wilson-George, Co-Chair First Nations Summit, and; (2) Bill Guerin, Associate Regional Director General ISC BC Region.

Here are some notes that I took for the time that I was able to listen in:

Bill Guerin/ISC:  What is ISC doing?

  • ISC is working collaboratively with FNHA/Emergency Mgt BC/First Nation Leadership Council et al to ensure access to ISC programs and services
  • Administration issues:
    • Reporting requirements have been temporary suspended and ISC BC Region is focusing on assisting FN communities. No funding to FNs will be stopped because of reports not being submitted
      • No funding will be recovered if not all spent before fiscal year-end.
      • FN with cash flow difficulties are to contact their FSO
    • Concern: Band Offices scaling back staff/operations and some FN have concerns regarding laying off staff – this is not a directive from ISC. ISC is recommending ‘telework’ and working from home using technology.
  • Funding
    • Allocation in two streams have already gone out to FN.  In BC this is $7.2 Million for Emergency Mgt and $2.7 Million for Social Programs.  Amendments have already gone out to all BC First Nations last week.  Electronic signatures are accepted so that the process can be expedited so that Councils are not required to have in person meetings for the amendment(s).
      • Emergency Mgt – and what this funding could be spent on include:
        • Emergency Operations Centre costs
        • Essential Services
      • Social Programs – intent is to ‘mirror’ what the provincial Income Assistance programs are doing
        • Social / Cultural Supports – whatever that is determined to be
        • Buy food for Elders
        • Hot Lunch Programs
          • Questions on Social Programs at FN community level:
            • There are additional people applying for Income Assistance – can these ‘new hires be reimbursed’?
              • ISC has streamlined measures in place for IA application process (taking into consideration social distancing / health and safety of clients and staff)
              • ISC recognizes that there will be ‘case load’ increases – nothing in place for new hires. Bill Guerin will see what can be used within ISC funding for this
            • Can off-reserve members be assisted – ISC funding is targeted only for on-reserve program and service delivery.  Off-reserve will have to access other resources i.e. Friendship Centre’s have federal emergency funding.
      • The next allocation round of Emergency funding will be sent out via a simplified amendment process. Formulas are being worked on at ISC BC Region
      • The Emergency Funding FN receive – can be carried forward beyond March 31/2020!
      • Contact Band Social Development Program at ISC BC Region for clarifying questions anyone may have
    • Federally – there is $305 M Canada is providing for Indigenous community supports
      • $215M – FN communities and formulas for this will be created by each Region (i.e. BC ISC Region). There is no word yet on how BC Region will be formulating how this money will go to FN in BC.
      • $15M Urban organizations (i.e. Friendship Centre etc)
      • $45M Inuit
  • Summary List of Resources for First Nations
    • ISC is working on this now along with BCAFN and First Nations Public Service Secretariat and others
      • ISC / FNHA / EMBC have set up a ‘window’ approach so that when requests come in, they share the request with each other and collaborate on how best to respond to FN requests. This will also be on FNPSS website.
    • ISC has a dedicated Covid-19 email set up – this is on their website. They have a 48 Hour response time for any questions sent in
  • Templates/Plans for Band Offices and Covid-19 – nothing seems to be available yet

The government has set aside a different pot for people living off reserve and non-native people and that is the $2,000.00 per month. 

 

BC Hydro:

“We recognize the financial impact COVID-19 may have on our customers due to changes in employment from workplaces closing, or reducing staffing levels and want to provide some relief during this challenging time,” said Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro President and Chief Executive Officer. “In addition, some customers may experience higher electricity bills due to increased consumption from spending more time at home.”

The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program provides customers the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Customers are encouraged to call BC Hydro’s customer team at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) to discuss bill payment options.

Customers facing temporary financial hardship and possible disconnection of their service due to job loss, illness, or loss of a family member may also be eligible for BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund, which provides access to grants of up to $600 to pay their bills.

RENT:

To support people and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province is introducing a new temporary rental supplement, halting evictions and freezing rents, among other actions.

The new rental supplement will help households by offering up to $500 a month towards their rent, building on federal and provincial financial supports already announced for British Columbians facing financial hardship.

The Province is implementing a number of additional measures to keep people housed and protect their health. The full list of immediate measures includes:

  • The new temporary rent supplement will provide up to $500 per month, paid directly to landlords.
  • Halting evictions by ensuring a landlord may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason. However, in exceptional cases where it may be needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the property, landlords will be able to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing.
  • Halting the enforcement of existing eviction orders issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns. The smaller number of court ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government.
  • Freezing new annual rent increases during the state of emergency.
  • Preventing landlords from accessing rental units without the consent of the tenant (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), except in exceptional cases where it is  needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit.
  • Restricting methods that renters and landlords can use to serve notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no personal service and allowing email).
  • Allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.

Learn More:

For information on B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan and other government resources and updates, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19

 

CERB:

March 25, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

The Government of Canada continues to take action to help Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more about the latest measures at Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

The Government of Canada is taking strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and the economy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. No Canadian should have to choose between protecting their health, putting food on the table, paying for their medication or caring for a family member.

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

The government is working to get money into the pockets of Canadians as quickly as possible. The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April. EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.

Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

This benefit would be one part of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, to support Canadian workers and businesses and help stabilize the economy by helping Canadians pay for essentials like housing and groceries, and helping businesses pay their employees and bills during this unprecedented time of global uncertainty.

GST:

We are providing a one-time special payment starting April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.

The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.