Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Updated: April 2, 2020 (4:00pm) – note that bolded text has changed since last update
- As of March 31, there are 1,121 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C.
- There are 10,187 cases of COVID-19 across Canada.
- Municipalities are guided by local, provincial and federal health authorities on health matters.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Dr. Bonnie Henry continue to urge all British Columbians to stay home unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to leave your home, ensure you practice social distancing by staying 2 meters away from others.
Minister Farnworth Issues Orders
On March 26, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, issued a series of ministerial orders to ensure a co-ordinated response to COVID-19 across all levels of government including supply chain, protecting consumers, enforcement, travel, protecting BC’s most vulnerable and co-ordination.
Changes to Local Government Procedures
Additionally, the ministerial orders allow for local governments to hold Council meetings (Regular, Special and Closed) electronically, regardless of what an individual municipality’s procedure bylaw states. It also says that a local government is not required to allow the public to attend meetings for them to be considered open. Finally, allowance has been made to local governments for a bylaw to receive 3 readings and adoption at one meeting. Previously, 3 readings could be given at one meeting and adoption could not occur before one clear day had passed.
The Village is working on ways to invite the public to continue to listen and participate in meetings when they are held electronically. Further information will be posted on our website ahead of the next scheduled Council meeting on April 28, 2020. Due to guidelines issued by the Province encouraging “essential decisions” only, the Village has cancelled the April 7th meeting and postponed the April 21st meeting to April 28th.
BC Declares Provincial State of Emergency
The declaration was made on March 18th and is for two weeks. It allows the preservation of supply chains, delivering groceries and other essential items. B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said it will also mean a quicker, co-ordinated response between federal, provincial and local governments. The declaration can be renewed after two weeks.
New Non-Medical Information Number & Self-Assessment Tool
If you have non-medical queries regarding COVID-19, please call 1-888-COVID19 between 7:30a.m. and 8p.m. If you have a medical related query, call 8-1-1. The Province has also launched a self-assessment tool, which can be found here.
BC Declares Public Health Emergency
Declaring a public health emergency allows for the Minister of Health and the Public Health Officer to be “be faster, more streamlined and nimble” in their efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as stated in the Provincial update held at 3:00pm on March 17. That includes ordering all people entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days, and further increasing social-distancing measures, including the mandatory and immediate closure of bars and night clubs. All restaurants should be able to maintain recommended social distancing practices, or close/offer take-out only.
The Governments of Canada and the USA have closed the border to all non-essential travel between the two countries in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Province of BC continues to recommend against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including the U.S. Anyone who travels outside of the country is now REQUIRED to stay home from work and school for 14 days following their return. The Prime Minister announced on March 16 that if you are a Canadian citizen abroad, that it’s time to come home. Entry into the country will be restricted to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, with some exceptions. International flights will only be allowed to land at Vancouver International, Calgary International, Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport and Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
K-12 schools are suspending classes indefinitely, as was announced by Minister of Education, Rob Fleming on March 17. More details will be shared as they become available. It is recommended that parents/guardians follow news outlets for further information as the COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly.
The Province of BC is also calling for the avoidance of all gatherings of more than 50 people. At this time, the Village is not generally cancelling public meetings (such as Regular Council meetings) given that expected numbers are significantly lower than 50 people. We have installed signage at our parks, closed our parking lots and we will be monitoring compliance through official bylaw complaint and patrol when possible. Additional information and updates will be provided at we receive them.
What you can do
The most effective way to protect yourself and your family is to follow a few simple recommendations from public health officials:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water;
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing;
- Avoid touching your face;
- Avoid others who are unwell; and
- Stay home when you are sick.
The symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, are similar to other respiratory illnesses, including the flu and common cold. They include cough, sneezing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1 (Health Link BC).
- BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)
- Fraser Health Authority
- Health Canada
- World Health Organization