As the province became aware of COVID-19 becoming a potential health issue in early 2020, StarNorth prepared an Alert document that explored the increased risks and potential impacts on BC’s smaller Interior communities.
The report was a brief examination of factors that could potentially elevate the potential risk of the COVID-19 virus and the substantial impacts it might have on its population if the “challenging situation” developed and was not properly attended.
It was intended as a conversation starter, a place where local governments could begin discussion with local partners, peer governments in the region, service providers such as the Interior Health Authority and the Okanagan Similkameen School District, and the provincial government, including the region’s local MLA representative.
It encouraged a review of business continuity documents to determine potential impacts, an immediate drafting and implementation of a crisis communication strategy to supplement a pandemic response within the Emergency Response Recovery Plan framework, discussion with administrative representatives at local senior residences and with other senior representatives in the community and consideration given to cancelling any upcoming local events that involve large gatherings of people.
Although much of the pandemic response was coordinated through the provincial government and its Provincial Health Officer, there was still opportunity for local governments to participate by monitoring circumstances locally and providing services as required. The report received substantial review — not all of it positive because of the potentials included — and has proven prophetic with events unfolding in the United States, where a more limited reponse was embraced.