B.C. extends state of emergency for another 2 weeks
Premier thanks British Columbians for following health measures, says it's critical to stay committed to them
The provincial state of emergency in B.C. has been extended another two weeks as the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to slowly climb in B.C.
Horgan thanked British Columbians on Wednesday for persevering with physical distancing, hinting that upcoming modelling will show that the effort is paying off, but said it's critical the province remains committed to such health measures in order to keep the number of new cases and deaths as low as possible.
"The challenges remain and we need to focus over the next couple of weeks to maintain the course," Premier John Horgan said Wednesday.
Horgan said health officials will guide when and how restrictions are loosened in B.C. But he said talks are being held about how those restrictions will be relaxed.
Return of students to class depends on health data
One area under consideration is bringing students back to school, he said, but that depends on health data showing COVID-19 reductions.
"I look at my colleagues across the country who've set arbitrary dates for a return before the data was in, before the science was confirming that, and we're not going to follow that lead,'' said Horgan. "We're going to look at the numbers as they emerge over the weeks ahead before we make those determinations.''
Talks are underway with industry on a sector-by-sector basis so they "have an understanding of where we're going,'' Horgan said.
"And then when the startup begins sometime in the not-too-distant future, again, when the evidence presents itself, I think we'll be in a good place.''
Watch: Premier John Horgan says B.C. is in a good place because physical distancing is working:
States of emergency can only be issued for two weeks at a time in B.C., meaning the latest will last through the end of day on April 28. The declaration give the province extraordinary powers during a crisis, including the ability to restrict travel and set prices for essential goods like medical supplies and food.
There are 1,517 test-confirmed cases of COVID-19 confirmed through testing in B.C. Seventy-two people have died of the illness, while 942 have recovered.
Health officials have said the vast majority of people in B.C. have abided by physical distancing measures. Most people in B.C. also stayed close to home over the Easter weekend and did not visit cottages or take drives to nearby communities, the premier said.
Speaking at a media availability Wednesday, Horgan was asked whether the life-altering measures have been worth the sacrifices, both personally to British Columbians and to the wider economy.
"I believe it has," the premier said. "I think British Columbians — although it's been a very difficult road, I'm not diminishing that — we should be proud of what we've been able to accomplish and the sooner we get that curve flattened completely, the sooner we'll be able to get back to the sense of normalcy that we're all yearning for."
More modelling coming Friday
On Wednesday, Horgan said further modelling on B.C.'s cases is expected this Friday. He seemed to indicate the next round of modelling will show more progress.
"When you see the modelling on Friday, and look at the modelling that was done a few weeks back, you'll see that, were it not for these measures, the outcomes would have been far different," the premier said.
The last round of modelling, revealed on March 27, showed an apparent shift toward flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases in the province. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the models showed the trajectory of new cases changing from a 24 per cent average daily increase to 12 per cent.
The provincial government last week made it mandatory for travellers returning home to B.C. from abroad to have an approved self-isolation plan in order to enter the province.
Horgan said 4,700 people have arrived in B.C. since then, with only 84 having to be quarantined under federal supervision.
If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at email@example.com
With files from Canadian Press
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.
Become a CBC Account Holder
Join the conversation Create account
Already have an account?