“Although it feels like COVID-19 turned everything upside down, it led to great partnerships, improved communication and new collaboration efforts, both internally and externally.”
“I’m a medical health officer and medical director. I’ve been incident commander for the Population Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, and I’ve also been leading the Community Partnership Coordination Centre, responsible for supporting COVID-19 response in municipalities, schools, child care facilities, places of worship, food processing plants, restaurants and other community workplace settings. When COVID-19 hit, our existing community partnerships and dedicated community interfacing teams were exactly what we needed to support this coordinating centre.
Part of my job is to consult with the teams who investigate and manage COVID-19 cases in community settings. Many of the individuals with COVID-19 that we work with have extremely challenging circumstances. This includes people who are precariously housed or who work in settings with limited opportunities for physical distancing. Many don’t have adequate housing or income to support quarantine measures like staying away from work or self-isolation from others within the home. My proudest moments are when we’ve been able to create supports for these individuals. Population Public Health, in collaboration with Mental Health and Substance Use, have worked intensively with BC Housing to create spaces for people to isolate when there were no other options. We’ve also worked with our community partners to mobilize their resources around people that we know are struggling. We’ve hired social workers to help link people to various government supports. We’ve worked with employers to support people with limited sick leave options to stay off work and quarantine.
The South Asian Health Institute, Health Equity and Population Health Unit, Public Health nurses, community health specialists, social workers, interpreters and other partners have been working tirelessly to help vulnerable people in the community get through their COVID-19 experience in a way that’s safe for everybody. Although it feels like COVID-19 turned everything upside down, it led to great partnerships, improved communication and new collaboration efforts, both internally and externally.
I am grateful for our entire Public Health team, including everyone mentioned above, as well as our epidemiologists, communicable disease nurse coordinators, environmental health officers, community health specialists, managers and directors – who continue to overcome challenges and support Fraser Health communities through these extraordinary times.”