Thursday, November 19, 2020

Masks On! And other measures come to British Columbia, as Dr. Bonnie Henry delivers a range of new Health Orders and advisories


The Province of British Columbia's Public Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry has increased the number of measures for every community as of today; including a long called for measure to put in place an order for mask wearing in all public spaces, including retail stores, shopping malls and other commercial enterprises.

In a move that may yet prove to be contentious, the mask requirement did not include the province's schools as part of the order to this point.

Dr. Henry also outlined a list of other measures and orders now in place for the the next two weeks as the province looks to knock down the growing number of cases of COVID-19 that have been recorded in the last six weeks.

Many of them build on the orders and measures put in place on the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions earlier this month, with a call for the end of social gatherings and events, and a reduction of travel to just those who must leave their home area for work or medical reasons.

Athletic activities have also seen some changes, key among them the suspension of high risk activities and a ban on any travel outside of the local region. 

As well spectators continue to be banned from any sports activity under the order.

More background on all of the orders and measures put in place today can be found from British Columbia Governments PHO page.

They go into effect as of midnight tonight and will remain in place until at least December 7th.

The moves announced today came as the province actually recorded a decline in the level of recent case reports, with today's COVID report showing a drop of 224 from the record setting level of 762 relayed on Wednesday.

“Today, we are reporting 538 new cases of COVID-19, including nine epi-linked cases, for a total of 24,960 cases in British Columbia.   

There are 6,929 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Currently, 217 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 59 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. 

There are 9,977 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 17,207 people who tested positive have recovered. 

There has been one new COVID-19 related death, for a total of 321 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Across the province, the health authorities outlined the following totals for the day: 178 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 309 in the Fraser Health region, 12 in the Island Health region, 28 in the Interior Health region, 11 in the Northern Health region, making for a total of 564 cases since January.

The Northern Health region also reported a significant outbreak at the LNG Canada worksite in Kitimat, with 14 confirmed cases and a number of other worker and their contacts self isolating on site or in their home communities.

No new cases of COVID were reported for people who reside outside of Canada.

“The coming weeks will be the most difficult in our pandemic, but hope is on the horizon. We can protect the ones we love and keep our hospitals, schools and workplaces open if we remain focused on reducing our in-person interactions for now. 

To support the continued safe operation of schools, the provincial health officer has created a rapid response team that will identify and manage exposures and outbreaks in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health region schools, and enhance communication with school communities. 

To support comprehensive workplace COVID-19 safety plans, active inspections will be increased across the province. Businesses that do not comply will be subject to fines and/or ordered to close. Environmental health officers will focus on workplaces in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions to ensure full compliance and enable rapid response and action. 

As we approach the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, we should remind each other that it is also the day that we begin to turn back toward the light. By pulling together now we can overcome the challenges before us.”

You can review today's full COVID-19 statement here.

The BC Centre for Disease control has some valuable Coronavirus notes related to COVID-19 you can explore that information here.

You can learn more about the outbreak from both the Province and the Federal government from the links below:

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.

More from  Northern Health can be reviewed here 

You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.

Local governments and organizations have also provided for increased awareness of COVID-19 issues, those past advisories  can be reviewed here.

For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints 

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