Betty Ann MacQuarrie

INVERNESS COUNTY: The municipality’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had been solid and continues to be working, according to the warden.

Betty Ann MacQuarrie explains the municipality already faces unique challenges involving phone and Internet services, but understands they were required to follow public health measures to limit the spread of the virus throughout the community.

Provincial officials have only announced one new case throughout the eastern zone in the past 24 days – something MacQuarrie feels optimistic about.

“We’re kind of holding our own, [but] I really hate to say it because it’s very unpredictable what can happen.”

During their regular council meeting on May 7, Donna MacDonald, Inverness’ director of tourism and culture, and Charlotte MacDonald, their recreation manager, provided council with a municipal pandemic response update.

They advised recent funding applications from the municipality to address COVID-19 have resulted in the approval of $55,000 in funding, and sources include; the Canadian Good Food Resource Fund, the Atlantic Compassion Fund, the Breakfast Club of Canada, Communities Culture and Heritage, Seniors Safety Emergency Funding, and the New Horizons Fund.

Additionally, on April 29, municipal staff, in partnership with SchoolsPlus and Strait Area Transit, organized the second delivery of emergency food hampers to students throughout the county. Approximately 130 hampers containing dried goods and non-perishable items were delivered.

The municipality’s Pandemic Response Team continues to partner, communicate and work with fire halls, food bank staff, and Meals on Wheels programs. The hamper program is scheduled to occur every two weeks as long as funding is available.

After receiving numerous requests to reopen the municipality’s waste transfer station, after it was shut down to residents in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, council decided to reopen it on a limited basis.

“You can imagine the lineups that would be there if we just say ‘Okay, it’s open,’” she said. “So, we’re going to try and open it incrementally, by appointment.”

Fourteen community Facebook pages have been created to help county residents to connect with one another and access resources or information.

The municipal helpline (1-888-258-5550) continues to be monitored by municipal staff, the networking communities are being used to help develop the vulnerable persons list. Residents have been encouraged to self-identify through the helpline.