The provincial government has created an emergency fund to support families who have children with special needs.

Specifically, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has established an Emergency Relief Support Fund that will provide eligible families with a direct payment of $225 per month over the next three months, until June 30th.

According to a statement from the ministry, this funding is expected to help 50 per cent more eligible families awaiting services for special needs children and youth.

Further, families with children in care on a special needs agreement or a voluntary care agreement will not have to make monthly maintenance payments for the duration of the pandemic period.

Supported Child Development and Aboriginal Supported Child Development programs will be able to extend extra staffing during school hours to help with the reduced availability of school-based services.

Access to At Home Program medical benefits will be relaxed, and any families receiving benefits will continue to do so without the need for a reassessment during the pandemic period.

Parameters on services purchased with Autism Funding will be expanded, allowing families to use up to 35 per cent of funding to purchase equipment and items that assist in home learning and virtual instructional approaches.

Families may direct their child’s Autism Funding to access family counselling and therapy services with a qualified provider for all age categories accessing the Autism Funding program.

The Emergency Relief Support Fund is a part of the provincial government’s $5 billion COVID-19 Action Plan, and is sustained by a $900,000 investment.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

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 1,489,457.

Over 87,200 people have died from the illness and 318,876 have made a full recovery.