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:
* Closure of the Canada-U.S. border to all non-essential traffic going into effect Friday, March 20, midnight: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-safety-canada/news/2020/03/us-canada-joint-initiative-temporary-restriction-of-travelers-crossing-the-us-canada-border-for-non-essential-purposes.html
* 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).