When the Coast Guard begins its search and rescue operations along Nootka Sound between May 24 to Sept. 8, it will have proper COVID-19 protocols in place.
The Canadian Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Boat Program is a seasonal search and rescue service and operates to ensure the safety of boaters in Nootka Sound and the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Trent Tabor, Coast Guard search and rescue program officer, said that while charting the water training activities of the search and rescue program, they took into consideration the community’s concerns about visitors in the area. Tabor made the comment in a statement posted onto the Village of Tahsis website.
Earlier in April, the mayor of Tahsis, Martin Davis, along with several other mayors from smaller Vancouver Island communities, issued a statement asking visitors to avoid trips to the village to avoid the spread of the virus.
Tabor said in the statement that a “number of measures have been put into place” to prevent any virus transmission among the personnel and the community.
“We want to let you know ahead of time that we are taking the necessary precautions to keep your community safe. Our top priority is to ensure the safety of our personnel, and the people in the communities we serve.”
In observing protocol, the three-person team will be in self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days prior to arrival at the station. They will undergo health screening and temperature checks prior to arriving and daily while on site.
The team will be physically distancing from the community and will be housed in self-contained accommodation and will avoid any engagement with community members.
“We have established quarantine procedures in the event that anyone gets ill while on site. These procedures include immediate isolation of the infected person as well as anyone that they have been in contact with.”
Last year, the construction of a search and rescue centre began in Tahsis with an aim to respond to emergencies on Nootka Sound and the northwest coastal areas of the Island. The Tahsis station was one of the four Coast Guard centres on Vancouver Island announced by the federal government as part of its Oceans Protection Plan.