Mar 13, 2020

Ladysmith working closely with Cowichan region to coordinate COVID-19 preparedness and response

The health and safety of our citizens and staff are of utmost importance and the Town of Ladysmith is taking a number of measures to help safeguard them against the public safety risk posed by COVID-19 (coronavirus). This is a long advisory, but we have a lot of information to share.

As a member of the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD), Ladysmith is working closely with our partners, including member municipalities, First Nations, school districts, and the Vancouver Island Health Authority to fully understand the situation across the region and coordinate decision-making. Throughout the region, we are reviewing essential service levels across all aspects of our workforce, recognizing that this situation is likely to worsen and require reduction or periodic elimination of services. We are also following the directions from the Provincial Health Officer.

While the BC Ministry of Health has confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island, the public health agency has no evidence of community-based transmission in BC’s Island Health region. However the Provincial Health Officer is strongly recommending the cancellation of non-essential travel outside of Canada and has directed the cancellation of mass gatherings of 250 people and more at this time. Ladysmith and its partners throughout the Cowichan Valley Regional District will be following this direction.

This means that Ladysmith is keeping the Frank Jameson Community Centre open at this time. We will continue to follow the direction of the Provincial Health Officer in this regard.

In an effort to encourage the practice of 'social distancing,' we ask that the public consider their patronage at public facilities and determine whether their business with the Town could be conducted online or over the phone. If in-person attendance is essential, you are asked to try to a 2-metre distance from staff and other citizens as much as possible. Ladysmith has also implemented "handshake-free zones" in all Town facilities. The filming of the SyFy television series Resident Alien, which was supposed to take place in Ladysmith between March 15 and 17, has been voluntarily postponed for two weeks to allow production staff to assess the COVID-19 situation.
As for what you can do: follow the same advice that public health officials recommend for the cold and flu season, wash your hands often with soap and
water, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoid others who are unwell, and stay home when you are sick.

What Are We Doing?
Installing additional hand sanitizer stations

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available to the public at the front counter of City Hall, Development Services and Public Works as well as the Frank Jameson Community Centre (FJCC).

We have additional hand sanitizer units throughout the FJCC for the public to use in the FJCC lobby as well as on the second floor near the fitness studio. Staff will evaluate the use of these hand sanitizer units and install additional dispensers as required.

Cleaning Town facilities

Regular cleaning of common surfaces such as doors, counters and windows is part of the daily tasks performed by staff across our departments to help limit the spread of harmful bacteria and provide a high standard of cleanliness.

In response to COVID-19, FJCC facilities staff are cleaning all door knobs, handles and push plates every three to four hours using alcohol-based disinfectant wipes.

Fitness Centre staff are also completing additional wipe downs throughout the day of all fitness machines, dumbbells, mats and all other gym equipment, including the upholstery and hand grips.

Working together with patrons of the Frank Jameson Community Centre
Sharing gym equipment and machinery means we all have a role to play maintaining a sanitary workout environment.

The Town supplies microfibre clothes and spray bottles filled with a disinfectant cleaner that’s diluted with water to be used in the gym area by patrons. We also wash and replace these microfibre clothes several times over the course of the day.

We appreciate the efforts of all FJCC patrons who continue the routine practice of wiping down surfaces they come into contact with in the fitness centre or while participating in drop-in classes. Class equipment such as mats and spin bikes also receive an additional cleaning by staff.

Complimentary hand towels are available for the public in the Fitness Centre. Please consider carrying one during your workout to wipe sweat away from your face instead of using your hands.

We ask that if you are feeling unwell that you consider staying home as a precaution and visiting the FJCC and/or our Town offices at a later time. It’s also best to contact your health-care provider.

What Else Can You Do?
Call 8-1-1 if You Think You Have COVID-19 Symptoms - Do Not go to Your Doctor or a Hospital
If you think you might have symptoms of COVID-19, the most important thing to do is stay at home, and call 8-1-1. The experts on the other end of that call will ask questions to help determine if you might have COVID-19. If they determine that you need to be tested for the Coronavirus, they will tell you where to go. You do not need to go to a hospital unless you are experiencing difficulty breathing.

Practice Information Hygiene
Don't believe rumours or everything you see on social media. Fact check what you see and hear by going to one of the trusted, official sites such as Public Health Agency of Canada, World Health Organization, BC Centre for Disease Control, Island Health.

COVID-19 Information Links: