On the same day there was a reported 799 new COVID-19 cases, for a total of 127,048 cases in British Columbia, the BC Government formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the Province's COVID-19 pandemic response.
The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on May 11, 2021, to allow staff to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks.
“With over 1.5 million British Columbians already vaccinated and tens of thousands more joining them each day, the end of this pandemic is in sight. But we’re not there yet,” said Premier John Horgan.
“I know how hard people have been working to keep others safe. The final mile of this pandemic is proving more difficult, but if we all keep doing our part to follow public health orders, including staying close to home, we will get through this sooner rather than later.”
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officersaid there are 8,089 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 11,792 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. Dr. Henry added a further 117,150 people who tested positive have recovered.
"Of the active cases, 500 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 164 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials.
The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer), declared a public health emergency.
“So many British Columbians are doing their part, but there are too many who just aren’t getting the message,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“Every time someone thinks the public health orders don’t apply to them, or that they can bend the rules just this once, it sets us all back. We have orders in place to keep people safe and bring us through to the end of this pandemic. Now we have new travel restrictions in place, and people need to follow these orders – not just because we will enforce these orders, but because it’s the right thing to do.”
The Province continues, with the support of police and other enforcement officials, to use measures under the EPA to limit the spread of COVID-19, including issuing tickets for owners, operators and event organizers who host an event or gathering contravening the PHO’s orders.
On July 10, 2020, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force, enabling provisions created for citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed should the provincial state of emergency end.
Tuesday, the BC’s provincial health officer reported that there was 121 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 534 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 28 in the Island Health region, 96 in the Interior Health region, 16 in the Northern Health region and four new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
"There have been no new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,571 deaths in British Columbia. Our condolences are with the family, friends and caregivers of the people who have died as a result of COVID-19,” Dr. Henry said.
There were 1,671,128 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that have been administered in B.C., 89,457 of which are second doses.
"The first step for everyone is to register for their vaccine. Everyone in B.C. who is 18 years and older is now eligible to do so on the Get Vaccinated website,” Dr. Henry said.
"In our age-based program, anyone 59 and older can now take the next step of booking their appointment. We encourage you to do that right away. Our worker program continues with targeted clinics underway. This program will be further expanded as significantly more vaccine starts to arrive in our province next week.”
Dr. Henry saidhealth authorities are also using the available vaccine supply to target 'hot spot' communities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 with dedicated clinics in many locations.
"Our limited AstraZeneca supply is being used in some of these 'hot spots,' as well as for our provincewide pharmacy program. Starting today, the AstraZeneca vaccine will be available to anyone 30 and older, starting with some of the 'hot spot' community clinics,” Dr. Henry said.
“As we receive enough AstraZeneca to add appointments at pharmacies, it will be made available to anyone in the province aged 30 and older.
On Dec. 16, 2020, enforcement measures were expanded.
Details are available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0108-002083
On Nov. 24, 2020, a mask enforcement order was introduced under the EPA, requiring masks for people over the age of 12 in public indoor settings, unless they are exempt.
Details are available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EMBC0061-001960
For information on all recent orders and guidance, as well as general COVID-19 information for all British Columbians, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
For more information and latest medical updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the centre‘s website: http://www.bccdc.ca/