B.C. extends state of emergency again as COVID-19 cases trend upward

B.C. extends state of emergency again as COVID-19 cases trend upward
Province of BC
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, at the B.C. legislature on July 21, 2020.

The B.C. government has once again extended the province’s state of emergency due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

B.C. first declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic on March 18, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency.

It allows Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the Province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

“I want to commend everyone in British Columbia for following public health advice to reduce transmission and keep everyone safe from COVID-19,” said Premier John Horgan.

“However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic, and we’re not out of the woods yet. As a government, we are working to ensure the supports people need during this unprecedented time continue to be available, which is why we’re extending provincial state of emergency today.”

The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on Aug. 4.

“While some restrictions have been eased, we must stay the course to flatten the COVID-19 curve,” Farnworth said.

“This means that even as British Columbians start to carefully adjust to life in Phase 3, we are maintaining the necessary critical supports to respond to and alleviate the effects of this pandemic.”

On July 10, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force, the government said.

The legislation enables provisions created for people and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed after the provincial state of emergency ends.

The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials.

Earlier Tuesday, B.C. reported 30 more COVID-19 cases arising from several community exposures and one active outbreak.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry say lessons from elsewhere suggest a few missteps can quickly turn into a significant resurgence, and in b.c., the curve is trending upwards.

They say many of the new cases are a result of transmission from increased social interactions this summer.

Dix and Henry say British Columbians have proven they know what to do to prevent the spread of infection and the latest increase could be stopped by seeing fewer people, spending time with only those you know and keeping a safe distance from others.

The death toll is unchanged in B.C. at 189, while 2,873 people have recovered from COVID-19.

Some restaurants, wineries and recreational facilities in the Okanagan and Metro Vancouver have been notified of a potential exposure or have had employees who tested positive.

“We commend the businesses who have proactively notified the public and temporarily closed for additional cleaning,” Dix and Henry say. “This is a clear example of how we can contain the risk when it is known, slow the spread and continue to operate safely.”



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