Quesnel’s mayor will be following the directive from B.C’s provincial health officer and self-isolating for 14 days after traveling.
“I’ve been out of town this past week dealing with some family matters that are related to situations as a result of COVID-19,” Bob Simpson told MyCaribooNow noting that he would be heading back home yesterday. “Because I’ve been traveling a little bit I will go into my own 14-day self-isolation.”
In today’s world of technology and communications such as email, FaceTime, Zoom, and phones, Simpson added he has not stopped providing the leadership that he needs to provide to City Hall.
“We have regular conference calls and then if anything pops up during the day we can get on the phone and deal with, and I’ve been keeping Council apprised of what’s going on with respect to the City as well,” Simpson said. “So the electronic world we live in allows us to continue to manage even if we’re not physically present.”
“I’ve just been traveling in areas that have reported cases down in the Coast and so on, so just out of an abundance of caution and again most people who can work at home are now working at home,” he added. “So even if I wasn’t self-isolating as a precautionary piece we’re trying to move a lot of folks in City Hall to work at home so that they can protect themself as well.”
As of Saturday, 27 positive cases in the Interior Health Authority and 4 in Northern Health have been identified.
Because of freedom of information and privacy restrictions on both Interior Health and Northern Health, the City according to Simpson would not be aware within the community of any positive case of COVID-19.
“We do have protocols set up with Northern Health and BC Housing and other agencies that we meet to have a kind of a ‘no surprises’ communications protocol with them, so we are getting the information flow that we need but it is not within our purview for Northern Health or anybody to be telling us about individual cases or even about individual communities,” Simpson said. “Again that could just cause some fear, and if we indeed don’t have a case in one of our communities, it’s also not an excuse for people not to take the various protections.”
Simpson adds as of now everybody just needs to do what health officials are asking us to do.
“I think both the Canadian and provincial governments are doing the right things to try and prevent the uncontrolled spread of this virus at this time,” he said, adding that he will be having phone calls with various Ministers and possibly the Premier this upcoming week.
“They are interested in what is happening at the community level so they can adapt their levels accordingly. As a community, and certainly, in our region, the communities all share the same concern. We had the 2017 forest fires, we had the 2018 forest fires, we had the 2019 mill closures and job losses, and now here we are in early 2020 and we have a pretty significant impact on our entire economy. So that will be part of the messaging I will be giving to the provincial government is yes we have this current situation but it is a compounding situation relative to the last three years and we need to work together to come up with some support programs for communities that this is the fourth year in a row that we’ve got a pretty significant hit to our economy and to individual’s livelihoods.”