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Local governments asked to follow BC CDC, PHO and PHAC

UBCM organizing a COVID-19 communications hub

Friday March 13, 2020 ~ BC

~ West Shore Voice News

Today the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) has made a simple statement in their regular e-newsletter about COVID-19.

The UBCM statement about COVID-19 and Local Government Response, asks for collaboration among various levels of government:

“In order to strengthen collaboration among all orders of government in our collective response to COVID-19, local governments are advised to monitor updates provided by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control the Provincial Public Health Officer and the Public Health Agency of Canada. While the risk to British Columbians continues to be low, the number of cases within British Columbia and worldwide are increasing and the approach by the provincial and federal governments is evolving.”

More UBCM advisories about COVID-19 management for their member towns and municipalities is posted on the UBCM website, essentially a consolidated list of links to various agencies and updates on things like the attendance limit at public events (presently that is 250 people).

Adding another layer of information gathering to the already complex COVID-19 mix out there, UBCM has announced it is building a COVID-19 Communication Hub. They say they are working with the Province “to ensure that local governments and the public have a single access point for information specific to overarching provincial initiatives”.

UBCM says: “The Province is developing this online hub to coordinate COVID-19 public information. UBCM will provide an update to members once the hub is online and will work with EMBC and other provincial agencies to support content development specific to local governments.”

The UBCM membership includes all BC cities, towns, regional districts and eight First Nations. It is unclear whether all member municipalities want this centralized level of COVID-19 information management beyond what BC Health is already doing.

The World Health Organization this week declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, meaning that there is spread around the globe and recognizing that some public health systems may not be able to contain it.