(Premier Horgan/BC Gov)

B.C. Premier John Horgan has extended the province’s state of emergency a fourth time, and will therefore remain in place for two more weeks.

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth initially declared a state of emergency on March 18th which was in effect for 14 days.

It was then extended thrice by Premier Horgan, on March 31st, April 15th, and April 29th.

Today’s announcement further extends the state of emergency until the end of day on May 27, 2020. Declarations of emergency can be extended by the province by increments of 14 days at a time.

“It will remain in place for the foreseeable future,” said Premier Horgan during his briefing on Wednesday.

Even as the state of emergency stays in place, B.C. is on the verge of initiating the second phase of their re-opening plan.

Premier Horgan reminded the public that the second phase of the provincial restart plan that focuses on increasing some economic and social activity does not start until Tuesday, May 19.

The Premier echoed Dr. Bonnie Henry’s message that “we’re far from out of the woods. Although we’ve flattened the curve, COVID-19 is here to stay.”

Today’s announcement was accompanied by a second statement regarding orphan or inactive wells in northern B.C.

According to Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Bruce Ralston, a $120 million fund from the federal government will be used to clean up orphan or inactive wells.

This amount will be used to restore over 2,000 orphan or inactive wells in communities across northern B.C.

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 4,412,203.

Over 296,900 people have died from the illness and 1,647,237 have made a full recovery.