The COVID-19 situation in British Columbia is continually evolving and the information below is current as of 3 p.m on March 17, 2020. These updates will be issued daily for the remainder of the week.
- Total confirmed cases in B.C.: 186
- New cases since March 16, 2020: 83
- Hospitalized cases: 7
- Deaths: 7
- Recovered: 5
Confirmed cases by region:
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 116
- Fraser Health: 47
- Island Health: 12
- Interior Health: 7
- Northern Health: 4
- 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: A public health emergency has been declared.
- NEW: The 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.
- NEW: Businesses with liquor primary licenses (bars, pubs, night clubs, etc.) are ordered to close.
- NEW: Restaurants and cafes that cannot maintain social distancing of one to two meters between patrons must move to take-out and delivery models.
- NEW: An online self-assessment tool to help to determine further assessment needs for testing related to COVID-19 is available here: http://covid-19.bccdc.ca/
- NEW: Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, 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
- NEW: The B.C. government will make changes to the Employment Standards Act to protect workers and prevent layoffs.
- NEW: 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 of over 50 people are here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0086-000499
- 1 888 COVID-19 has been launched to provide non-clinical information about COVID-19. This number is available seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., in over 110 languages.
- People can also text 604 630-0300 for non-clinical support.
- There is no need to stockpile. Be measured and show moderation when purchasing 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’s 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
- Global Affairs Canada has set up an emergency loan program for people abroad attempting to return to Canada.
- Public health officials urge anyone who has travelled to 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
On March 16, 2020, the federal government announced new measures related to travel, including:
- banning entry of foreign nationals by air travel from all countries except the U.S.
- 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
- Cruise ship season is delayed until July 1, 2020 (vessels with more than 500 people).