British Columbia News
Correction: B.C. COVID-19 response update
See revised case numbers below
Friday, March 20, 2020 6:00 PM
The COVID-19 situation in British Columbia is continually evolving and the information below is current as of 3 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020.
- Total confirmed cases in B.C.: 348
- New cases since March 19, 2020: 77
- Hospitalized cases: 22
- Intensive care: 10
- Deaths: 9
- Recovered: 6
Confirmed cases by region:
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 200
- Fraser Health: 95
- Island Health: 30
- Interior Health: 19
- Northern Health: 4
- 17,912 individuals tested as of March 20, 2020.
- At least 50,000 Canadians have been tested.
- Testing is available for all who need it, but not everyone requires a test.
- If you have no symptoms, mild symptoms or you are a returning traveller self-isolating at home, you do not require a test.
- For each of these situations, the public health advice remains the same, regardless of test results: self-isolate for 14 days to monitor for the development of symptoms or until your symptoms are completely gone.
- Those who have severe illness, require hospitalization, are residents of long-term care facilities or are health-care workers will continue to be tested.
- Anyone part of an active investigation or outbreak cluster will be tested so they can be appropriately monitored.
- If symptoms appear, call your health-care provider or 811 for guidance.
Provincial advice and measures:
- NEW: Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, has ordered all restaurants can only offer take-out and/or delivery services to enforce social distancing.
- NEW: BC Liquor Stores clarifies working hours, extra steps taken during COVID-19 pandemic: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AG0025-000528
- NEW: BC Parks to remain open with new COVID-19 protocols: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020ENV0005-000519
- Henry clarifies direction on social distancing relating to going outside:
- It is safe to go outside to get fresh air, walk pets, ride a bike and exercise while maintaining safe social distances.
- The B.C. government is waiving the Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage wait period for people moving back to B.C. from COVID-19 impacted areas. In addition, the B.C. government is planning to provide health coverage to British Columbians who are out of province and unable to return. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/bc-residents
- Rear door, fare free boarding on all B.C. Transit, Translink buses: https://www.bctransit.com/victoria/news?nid=1529708533639
- Resource for managing COIVD-19 related stress, anxiety and depression: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health-safety/covid19_stressmanagement_5_accessible.pdf
- WorkSafeBC resources available for employers and workers: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/covid-19-updates
- BC Housing temporary eviction moratorium and rent adjustment notification: https://www.bchousing.org/publications/Covid-19-Bulletin-for-Housing-Providers-Eviction-and-Rent-Adjustment-Notification-March-18th-2020.pdf
- Provincial state of emergency has been declared: https://news.gov.bc.ca/21826
- A new website has been launched for non-health related information and services https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support
- BC Ferries is reducing food and retail services to minimal levels on board ships and at ferry terminals, effective March 18, 2020. https://www.bcferries.com/about/media_room/newsreleases.html
- Henry has reminded employers that they must excuse workers for sickness without requiring a doctor’s note.
- All public universities and colleges have switched to online classes for the rest of the term.
- Henry has issued an order providing criteria for exempting essential service workers from self-isolation protocols: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics
- There are no plans to close BC Liquor Stores. On the advice of the provincial health officer, cash transactions are acceptable during this pandemic.
- Henry has issued a “class” order addressing mass gatherings: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics
- Public Health Emergency has been declared
- B.C. government is suspending K-12 learning in all classrooms. A decision on when and how to return will be made in partnership with school districts and independent schools.
- Businesses with liquor primary licenses (bars, pubs, night clubs,etc.) are ordered to close.
- Restaurants and cafes that cannot maintain social distancing of 1 to 2 metres between patrons must move to takeout and delivery models.
- An online self-assessment tool to help to determine further assessment needs or testing related to COVID is available here: bccdc.ca
- Henry has issued the following order for travellers:https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics
- The B.C. government will be making changes to the Employment Standards Act to protect workers and prevent layoffs.
- BC Ferries will allow customers to remain in their vehicles on the enclosed car deck.
- On March 16, Henry announced new measures related to mass gatherings: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/reports-publications/covid-19-pho-class-order-mass-gatherings.pdf
- Measures related to hospital operations, long-term care facilities, casinos and gatherings over 50 people have been announced here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0086-000499
- There is no need to stockpile. Be measured and show moderation when buying food and household goods. There is no shortage of goods in Canada.
Public health emergency
- Under a provincial health emergency, a provincial health officer among other emergency powers may:
- do orally what must otherwise be done in writing;
- serve an order in any manner;
- act in a shorter or longer time period than is otherwise required; and
- compel any peace officer to enforce an order.
- Provincial health officer order for travellers: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics
- On March 17, 2020, the federal government announced new measures relating to travel, including:
- On March 16, 2020, the federal government announced new measures relating to travel, including:
- banning entry of all foreign nationals by air travel from all countries.
- consolidating international inbound flights to four major hubs only, including Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
- preventing symptomatic passengers from boarding a plane to Canada.
- strengthening in-flight medical procedures and medical screening immediately upon landing, with enhanced cleaning and disinfection at airports.
- support for impacted Canadians abroad.
- 14-day self-isolation for all arrivals except for essential work.
- Global Affairs Canada has set up an emergency loan program for people abroad attempting to return to Canada.
- Public health officials require anyone arriving in B.C from a foreign country to self-isolate for 14 days, staying away from work or school. Guidance for self-isolation is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/testing-isolation
- Cruise ship season is delayed until July 1, 2020 (vessels with more than 500 people).
Media availability schedule:
Upcoming scheduled media availabilities with Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Henry will be held:
Saturday, March 21, 2020 – noon, Vancouver
For non-medical information relating to COVID-19, call: 1 888 COVID-19
For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, including for employers, businesses, schools and those planning events of less than 50, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
For common questions about COVID-19 and terminology, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/common-questions For the COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and planning materials, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/pandemic-influenza
For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BCCDC on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/