The COVID-19 situation in British Columbia is continually evolving and the information below is current as of noon on Saturday, March 21, 2020.
* Total confirmed cases in B.C.: 424
* New cases since March 20, 2020: 76
* Hospitalized cases: 27
* Intensive care: 12
* Deaths: 10
* Recovered: 6
Confirmed cases by region:
* Vancouver Coastal Health: 230
* Fraser Health: 126
* Island Health: 37
* Interior Health: 27
* Northern Health: 4
* 17,912 individuals tested as of March 20, 2020.
* 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, call 811 for guidance or check your symptoms online: https://covid19.thrive.health/
Provincial advice and measures:
* NEW: Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, has ordered personal service establishments, such as but not limited to: nail salons, tattoo parlours, barbershops, beauty parlours, health spas and massage parlours are ordered to close until further notice. These services require direct, personal contact with other people, and that is impossible to deliver while maintaining appropriate distancing.
* NEW: The B.C. government announces support and relief for the province’s most vulnerable and those living in BC Housing: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020MAH0013-000536
* NEW: The B.C. government is taking steps to support the child care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020CFD0041-000530
* Henry has ordered all restaurants must move to take-out or delivery model only or close.
* BC Liquor Stores clarifies working hours, extra steps taken during COVID-19 pandemic: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AG0025-000528
* 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
* Long-term care facilities are to restrict visitors to essential visitors only.
* 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
* Provincial state of emergency has been declared: https://news.gov.bc.ca/21826
* 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
* 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
* 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, nightclubs,etc.) are ordered to close.
* 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.
* On March 16, 2020, 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
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.
* NEW: On March 21, 2020, the federal government announced new measures to provide support for Canadians at home or abroad, as well as support for international students, seasonal agricultural workers and other temporary foreign workers: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/03/21/prime-minister-announces-efforts-bring-canadians-home-abroad
* 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 Saturday, March 21, 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).
Media availability schedule:
Upcoming scheduled media availabilities with Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Henry will be held:
Monday, March 23, 2020 – 10 a.m., Victoria
* Help flatten the curve by checking symptoms online: https://covid19.thrive.health/
* If you or a family member have symptoms or need medical advice, call 811.
* For the most up-to-date health information on the #COVID19 outbreak, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control at @CDCofBC or visit: www.bccdc.ca
* For up-to-date non-health information, including the latest travel restrictions and provincial and federal programs, call 1 888 COVID-19 or visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support
* Latest COVID-19 updates and statements: https://news.gov.bc.ca/Search?q=COVID-19
* Latest orders and directives from the provincial health officer can be found https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics
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