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On Monday, the City of Merritt declared a state of local emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the release from City Hall, CAO Scott Hildebrand referenced the City moving to only essential services, including “new 24-hour policing service”.

Many Merrittonians have long spoken to their belief the City needs to have 24-hour police coverage. Until now, the message from City Hall and the Merritt RCMP was simple; we agree, but we don’t have the ability to institute it due to current staffing levels.

Merritt RCMP Cpl. Brock Hedrick joined Q101 to discuss the operational changes at the detachment that allows for the new coverage.

“Unfortunately, with everything going on right now, we’ve had to collapse our general investigation section, or plain-clothed section back into the uniform section, back into general duty. Also, our first nations policing section has been re-deployed, or the majority of it, to general duty,” said Hedrick.

“That’s something we can do short-term, not sure how long we can maintain that for. We don’t have any on-call period, there are always members on,” added Hedrick.

The new coverage is currently set to last for the duration of the state of emergency.

“We would love to have 24-hour policing in Merritt at all times, unfortunately, it also starts to affect coverage and member wellness,” said Hedrick.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

 

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Merritt Flourish Under the Sun

Last night Merritt City Council held a virtual council meeting. The meeting was held via video conferencing to allow for proper social distancing.

Council passed a pair of motions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, it was unanimously approved that all in-person committee meetings be paused until further notice.

Council also passed a motion stating; Council direct staff to defer the Q1 commercial utility billing cycle and send out a combined Q1 and Q2 invoice in July, with an extended discount date of August 31, 2020.

City Hall has already stated that citizens should not be worried about renewing their dog or business licence by the assigned due date.

During the state of emergency, City Staff will be working from home as much as possible, the City Hall switchboard will still be able to connect citizens with staff members should problems, or questions arise.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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Update -

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are providing case updates for two 24-hour reporting periods: March 22 to 23, and March 23 through to this morning.

"In the first reporting period through March 23, 2020, we had 67 new cases, for a total of 539 cases in British Columbia.

"In the last 24 hours, we have had 78 new cases, for a total of 617 cases in British Columbia.

"This represents 145 new cases since we reported yesterday morning.

"Two additional residential care homes have confirmed cases. One is a health-care worker at the Little Mountain Place residential care home in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, and one is a resident in Evergreen Heights assisted-living residence in the Fraser Health region. Public health officials are providing staff support to implement outbreak protocols.

"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 330 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 194 are in the Fraser Health region, 44 are in the Vancouver Island Health region, 41 are in the Interior Health region and eight are in the Northern Heath region.

"In total, there have been 13 deaths from COVID-19 in British Columbia, in large part as a result of the clusters in long-term care homes.

"We are very pleased to report that 28% of cases, or 173 individuals, have now recovered and are no longer in isolation.

"Additionally, of the total COVID-19 cases, 59 individuals are currently hospitalized, 23 of those are in intensive care, and the remaining people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"As the escalating numbers across B.C. show us, there is circulation and risk of COVID-19 throughout British Columbia. While the majority of known cases are in the Lower Mainland, no community or individual is immune - whether in the North, on Vancouver Island, young or old.

---

Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest figures of COVID-19 in BC.

(Previous numbers in brackets)

The latest numbers cover 48-hours, not the usual 24. 

New Cases – 145

Total Cases – 617 (472)

Patients in Hospital – 59 (33)

Patients in ICU – 23 (14)

Recovered – 173 (100)

New Deaths – 0

Totals Deaths – 13 (13)

Health region breakdown;

Vancouver Coastal – 330 (248)

Fraser – 194 (150)

Island – 44 (39)

Interior – 41 (30)

Northern – 9 (5)

Dr. Bonnie Henry did not make any new public health orders.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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Merritt City Council will be holding its regular council meeting this evening, however, the delivery will be somewhat different.

The City will be conducting a virtual council meeting, with the individual councillors and staff members joining the discussion via video conferencing.

City Staff are currently ironing out the final details and will be releasing the link to the meeting shortly across the City’s social media platforms.

Anybody wishing to address Council, during the regular public input period, is asked to email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The meeting is slated to begin at 7:00 pm. The full agenda can be seen here - https://www.merritt.ca/meetings-calendar

 

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Merritt Flourish Under the Sun

The City of Merritt has declared a local state of emergency.

“This is not a measure that we take lightly, but we feel it is warranted given the gravity of this situation. We are in complete support of the measures the Province is implementing, but as a municipality, we must retain the ability to take swift action, should a necessary situation arise”, said Mayor Linda Brown.

Scott Hildebrand, the CAO for the City of Merritt stated, “our team is scaling back to ensure the provision of only essential services, including fire and new 24-hour policing service, wastewater and garbage collection, communications, as well as the critical work of connecting our most vulnerable sector with supports.”

The full release can be read here - https://www.merritt.ca/news/declaration-state-local-emergency-covid-19

 

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