Hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Williams Lake might be provided with a new tool to be able to connect with their families.

Williams Lake City Council will be considering authorizing the purchase of four iPads at an estimated cost of $549 each, excluding taxes, for loan to the Cariboo Memorial Hospital on Tuesday.

Chief Administrative Officer Milo MacDonald said this would be a gesture of goodwill and compassion to enable patients to communicate with family and loved ones during these extremely difficult times when they will not be permitted visitors, and for some, tragically, who may not be fortunate enough to recover and be with them again.

He added that the need for a supply of iPads was identified following conversations with local physicians and IH Clinical Operations Director, Thalia Vesterback.

If approved by Council at Tuesday’s regular meeting, the iPads which MacDonald said is becoming difficult to obtain will be purchased from Staples that agreed to set them aside.

The 7th generation iPads would be loaned to Cariboo Memorial Hospital and in the aftermath of the crisis be returned to the City to support continuing operations. 

“While the pandemic has not yet critically impacted Cariboo Memorial Hospital, it is extremely likely that there will soon be patients who are admitted to intensive care who would benefit greatly from a way to communicate with their loved ones,” MacDonald wrote in a report to Council.

“Interior Health is not in a position to expend funds for this type of support, and this provides a meaningful opportunity for the City of Williams Lake to show its appreciation for our medical community while supporting affected families.”

Tuesday’s regular Council meeting will be via teleconference on Zoom. It will be live-streamed for the public to view on Youtube.