Tag Archives: Bernice McGowan

Cortes Island ‘opioid crisis’ as seen by two medical professionals

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative

According to a recent report from the BC coroners service, there have been 30 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in the North Vancouver Island Health Service Delivery area during the first eleven months of 2020. Fentanyl was detected in 22 cases. That’s in a population of more than 122,000, which probably explains why there have been no opioid related deaths reported on Cortes Island so far this year. The number of drug overdoses is far higher. Campbell River’s Fire Chief said there were times his men saved the same drug user more than once in the same day. Cortes Currents asked two medical professionals from the Cortes Medical Clinic for their observations of the Cortes Island ‘opioid ‘crisis’. 

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Cortes Island’s First Virtual Town Hall Meeting

More people participated. At its peak, seventy listeners connected to the conference by computer or phone and an unknown number listened to the radio broadcast. Yet Cortes Island’s first virtual town hall meeting was essentially a continuation of the recent online conferences Regional Director Noba Anderson has been having with local businesses and organizations. 

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Organizing A Collective Response To COVID-19

At the first virtual Community Conference, Cortes Island organizations and businesses described their preparations for the impending COVID 19 pandemic. The process of reporting continued into the second conference, where callers also discussed off-island travel. At the third, on March 27, 2020, callers were divided into ten break out groups as Cortes organises a collective response to COVID -19. 

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Second Cortes Community COVID-19 Response Conference

Around 29 local businesses and organizations signed in to the second Cortes Community COVID-19 Response Conference. This session was more topical: front line services like medical response and stores, off-island traffic, and enforcing the provincial guideline.

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A Remote Island Prepares: Can Cortes Self Isolate?

Regional Director Noba Anderson invited many of Cortes Island’s key businesses and community groups to a Zoom conference call to explore responses to COVID-19. Thirty-nine people connected by phone or computer and a second person appeared on several computer screens. Many embraced the idea that we should act as if the virus is already here. In-so-far as is practical, most attendees appeared to want to see Cortes self isolate.

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