What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for June 25, 2020
2 more people have died from coronavirus since Wednesday
- 20 more people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since Wednesday
- B.C. has had 2,869 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date, 170 of them are still active
- The province has extended the timeline for temporary layoffs; the new provisions expire Aug. 30
- B.C.'s 2020-21 school year — and an educational steering committee — will take lessons from June's restart of in-class learning.
- B.C. has entered Phase 3 of its COVID-19 restart plan
- Hotels, resorts, parks, the film industry and select entertainment venues can now reopen
- The transition also allows B.C. residents to travel within the province "respectfully and safely"
- B.C.'s Housing Ministry has lifted a moratorium on residential tenancy evictions for reasons other than non-payment
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Thursday that another 20 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, bringing B.C.'s total number of confirmed cases to 2,869.
She says 170 of those cases are still considered active. There are currently 15 people in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care.
Henry also announced that two more people have died. They were both in long-term care.
Teacher in public school diagnosed
A public school teacher in the Fraser Health Region is among the 20 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. announced Thursday, said Henry.
"We anticipated and planned for this potential," she said, noting that health officials are monitoring the situation very closely.
All the teacher's contacts have been notified and none of the students have been exposed, she said.
Extended temporary layoffs
The province extended temporary layoff times Thursday to a maximum of 24 weeks, expiring Aug. 30.
Until recently, any layoffs longer than 13 weeks in any 20-week period were considered to be permanent and the employer would have to provide a notice of termination and pay any required severance.
On May 4, the government extended this period to 16 weeks if the employer and employee could come to an agreement.
In a statement, the Ministry of Labour said Thursday's extension will align with the extended federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
"This extension will provide even more certainty and flexibility," Minister of Labour Harry Bains said in a statement.
"This will also give additional time to ensure that employers and workers are able to craft agreements if there is a need to further extend temporary layoffs, while still protecting workers' rights to compensation for length of service."
The opposition Liberals had called for the temporary layoff provisions to be extended once the legislature returned, to save jobs and help businesses facing severance costs.
B.C.'s Ministry of Education said schools learned a few lessons of their own in June when students returned to classes on a largely part-time basis.
In a statement, the ministry said those experiences will help shape what the next school year, beginning in September, will look like.
A steering committee of teachers, parents, First Nations, support staff, principals and vice-principals, school boards and trustees and public health representatives will discuss best practices and find solutions to problems, the ministry said.
The ministry says the hope is to increase the number of students attending classes safely, using a five-stage approach informed by health guidelines, "allowing schools to respond quickly in the event of a second wave."
The ministry said the June restart saw almost 200,000 students return to classrooms.
Phase 3 begins
B.C. Premier John Horgan announced the province has entered Phase 3 of its restart plan, further easing restrictions ahead of Canada Day.
The latest guidelines allow B.C. residents to travel responsibly within the province and for many tourism-related businesses to reopen under the guidance of the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC, including hotels, resorts, spas and RV parks.
The film industry and select entertainment venues, such as movie theatres, are also getting the go-ahead.
As the province moves ahead with its Phase 3 restart, officials are reminding the public that the risk of infection still persists.
Residents are asked to maintain their COVID-19 health practices, including physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and wearing a mask when distancing isn't possible.
Horgan also reminded the public to keep their social circles small, saying this summer is not the time for "large family gatherings and big parties."
"Although we are going to have a summer that's better than what we thought a few months ago, this is not a return to normal," said the premier.
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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 8 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Canada had 102,241 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 8,498.
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:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
With files from The Canadian Press