With at least three cases of COVID-19 in the valley and more tests underway, MLA Doug Clovechok is imploring residents to stay home to keep the disease from spreading.

“COVID-19 is in our riding now, and we’ve got to do everything we can – everything we can – to make sure it doesn’t get out of control here because we just don’t have the capabilities to deal with it,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve seen anywhere close to where it’s going to be plateauing. It’s going to continue to escalate.”

As of Tuesday morning (March 24), Clovechok said there were two cases in Invermere and one in Canal Flats.

Invermere mayor Al Miller is calling for people to stay calm and to take all precautions including keeping their hands clean, keeping a distance from others and isolating themselves if they have the slightest hint of any kind of illness.

“I really want people communicating with their neighbours, but via text, via email, via phone call. Check in on people. This is the time to care for your neighbours more than ever,” he said in a phone interview.

Miller said the District’s office doors are closed to the public to protect staff and citizens. Residents can still call 250-342-9281, email or visit www.invermere.net.

Also closed to the public are the Columbia Valley Centre, the Invermere Public Library, all public washrooms and the community’s playgrounds and parks.

“Please, for our safety and well-being, we must practice social distancing. Stay two metres/six feet apart from one another. It’s the only way we will curb this virus,” he added in a Mayor’s Update.

In his message to the community, Miller also said:

  • The electronic community sign at AG is not working properly. This is the reason we have not been able to erase old info and put on current info. You will be seeing a new trailer mounted reader board arriving and being put into use hopefully by the weekend if it arrives in time.
  • To our 2nd home owners and visitors who enjoy coming to our Valley, we need you to stay home at this time. We simply don’t have the resources in place to keep you or our citizens safe. Our Hospital is running at capacity.
  • I would like to send out a huge shout out to our healthcare workers for their tireless efforts, trying to keep us informed and healthy through these times. Please support their efforts by staying at home and keeping six feet apart while enjoying a walk in our great outdoors.
  • If you happen to be out grocery shopping or picking up some essentials from another store, don’t forget to thank all the front line staff for what they do.
  • Stay safe and enjoy your time together at home.

Toilet paper consequences

Some residents haven’t been able to find toilet paper, Miller said, asking everyone to buy only what they need.

“We do not want people resorting to other tissues and towels or wipes being flushed down the toilet. This can cause huge issues in our lift stations and pumps.”

Your actions matter

“It’s almost like your country is at war … There’s this hidden enemy that we’re fighting right now,” Clovechok said. “It’s coming after you unless we stop it.”

But there’s a little bit of good news, he added. “It’s up to us, right? How this thing ends is truly in our hands and that’s what people have to remember. We are the masters of our own destiny here.”

He encourages residents to be kind, to buy gift cards for local businesses and to give to the Columbia Valley Food Bank.

For help and more information

Anyone can do a COVID-19 self assessment here: https://covid19.thrive.health

Those interested in volunteering and those who need help with tasks like getting groceries can get matched up here: https://volunteercv.ca/organizations/columbia-valley-covid-19-community-response (See story on page 7.)

For more information, visit the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website at: http://covid-19.bccdc.ca

For help over the phone, call 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or 811.