In his first televised address since the start of the pandemic in B.C., Premier John Horgan declared an extension of the province’s state of emergency.
B.C. Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth initially declared a state of emergency on March 18th which was in effect for 14 days.
This announcement now extends it for two more weeks, and will last until at least April 14th. Declarations of emergency can be extended by the province by increments of 14 days at a time.
Horgan started off his address by thanking essential services workers, particularly health care workers, urging people across B.C. to cheer and make noise from their balconies at 7 p.m. to show their support and gratitude.
“The next 14 days are critically important in our province’s unprecedented fight against COVID-19. What we do today will affect what our doctors, nurses and first responders face in the days and weeks ahead,” said Horgan.
“Today, we’re asking all British Columbians to re-commit to doing their part. There are early signs that our actions are making a difference, and we can’t stop now.”
The Premier also addressed concerns about looming shortages in Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for health care workers.
To that end, the province will be launching a new partnership with businesses tomorrow that will connect companies manufacturing PPEs – like distillers making hand sanitizer – with health care workers and facilities that need them.
Horgan also said he empathized with renters and homeowners concerned about making payments on time, and reiterated measures like a rent freeze, eviction moratorium, and other benefits announced by the province to help those who have lost income due to measures enacted to curb the spread of COVID-19.
None of the financial benefits announced by the provincial and federal governments will be available to the public by April 1st.
“COVID-19 may be the biggest challenge our province has ever faced,” he added.
Further action from the provincial government in response to the pandemic are expected in the coming weeks.
As of the time of publication, there are 1,013 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 67 on Vancouver Island.
In good news, a total of 507 people have now recovered from novel coronavirus in B.C. This represents an approximate 50% recovery rate.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
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.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 855,139.
Over 42,000 people have died from the illness and 176,908 have made a full recovery.