British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for June 1, 2020

Monday marks a day of change as B.C. enters its third month since the peak of its pandemic, with some children returning to school and many of the province's lowest paid workers getting a pay increase at a crucial time.

Schools reopen for in-person classes today; Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 24 new cases Monday afternoon

THE LATEST:

  • B.C. landlords who are eligible for emergency federal rent relief and choose not to apply have been banned from evicting businesses unable to pay rent.
  • Children across the province have the option to return to class on Monday, as schools reopen for families on a voluntary basis.
  • Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed 24 new cases of COVID-19 since Saturday.
  • There was one death in a long-term care home in the Fraser Health Authority.
  • To date, there have been 2,597 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C.

Monday marks a day of change as B.C. enters its third month since the peak of its pandemic, with some children returning to school and many of the province's lowest paid workers getting a pay increase at a crucial time.

Children across the province will be heading back for the final few weeks of the academic year, as B.C. schools reopen. Families can decide if they want their children to go to class or to continue learning from home.

About 5,000 students, including the children of essential workers and those needing extra support, are already in classrooms across the province.

Also Monday, B.C.'s minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour. The increase is part of the government's plan to bring in a $15-per-hour minimum wage by 2021 and, though scheduled years before the pandemic, comes at a perilous time for workers and business owners alike.

Economists say the rise could be the final blow for businesses struggling to survive the spring, but is also desperately needed for low-wage workers already stretched thin in a province where the cost of living is high. For both groups, Monday also brings the next round of rent due.

On Monday, Finance Minister Carole James made a new order to protect small businesses from eviction if they are unable to make rent.

James said landlords who are eligible but choose not to apply for the federal Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program will not be able to evict their business tenants for unpaid rent.

The federal program is meant to lower rent owed by small business tenants by 75 per cent for April, May and June.

In Metro Vancouver, TransLink will begin charging passengers for bus fares again on Monday. Buses will start running at up to two-thirds capacity, still avoiding full capacity to prevent crowding. 

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said masks are not mandatory on public transit, but "strongly" encouraged. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said passengers should ride at off-peak times if they are unable to wear a mask.

Children practice physically distancing at an Essential Service Workers school in West Vancouver, B.C., on May 14, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Nationally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government will be fast-tracking $2.2 billion in expected infrastructure funding to Canadian cities as they, too, struggle with cashflow.

Such payments are made to more than 3,600 communities in two instalments per year, but Trudeau said Monday the money is being sent in one shot now.

The $2.2 billion is much less than municipalities say they need. Vancouver alone had asked for a $200-million grant to help its grim financial outlook.

Latest numbers

The new month has begun with encouraging numbers regarding the spread of COVID-19 in B.C.

Last week saw the lowest number of deaths and new cases since the province declared a public health emergency in March, but on Monday, Henry still advised caution.

"There continues to be some circulation [of COVID-19], particularly in the Lower Mainland," said Henry. "We still need to be vigilant. We still need to be cautious."

There were 24 new cases of the illness since Saturday, bringing the province's total to 2,597. There was one death in the past 48 hours, in a long-term care home in the Fraser Health Authority. 

There are 224 active cases throughout the province. Thirty-two people are in hospital, five of them in acute care. 

The next health update will be at 3 p.m. PT Tuesday.

READ MORE:

Top COVID-19 stories today

Important reminders:

Health officials widely agree the most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. 

The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 5 a.m. PT Monday there were 90,947 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in Canada, with 48,892 of those cases considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 7,358.

For a look at what's happening across the country and the world, check the CBC interactive case tracker.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay home. Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority or 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

Find information about COVID-19 from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available in B.C. from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. PT, seven days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep at least two metres away from people who are sick.
  • When outside the home, keep two metres away from other people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Masks won't fully protect you from infection, but can help prevent you from infecting others.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca

With files from Alex Migdal, CBC's The Early Edition and The Canadian Press

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