OHS Canada Magazine

B.C. state of emergency extended again as pandemic wears on


VICTORIA — British Columbia has again extended its state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic nearly 10 months after it was first declared.

The Ministry of Public Safety says in a news release the extension until Jan. 19 will allow officials to use powers under the Emergency Program Act.

Premier John Horgan says in the statement there’s hope with the provincial immunization program getting underway, but it’s too early to ease restrictions in the pandemic that has claimed 954 lives in B.C.

A joint statement from Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Tuesday says there have been eight more deaths along with 428 new cases of COVID-19 across the province.

It says more than 28,000 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine so far in B.C.

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Cases linked to ski resort

The Interior Health authority is reporting 25 more cases linked to Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, where 136 cases have been confirmed so far.

The authority says in a news release 27 infections are active and 109 people have recovered since the cluster was identified last month.

Eighty-eight of the cases are people who live on the mountain and Interior Health has said most of the spread was related to gatherings in shared housing.

It says the risk remains low for families and individuals who stick to their so-called household bubbles and practise physical distancing while visiting.

Interior Health is also warning of increasing COVID-19 activity in the Revelstoke area with 29 new cases identified in the last two weeks.

The authority says the cumulative total in the area is now “above 85 cases” since the start of the pandemic, up from 50 in early December.

The weekly case numbers in Revelstoke are higher than many other areas of B.C. on a per capita basis, it says in a news release issued Tuesday.

Because there is no specific source for the new cases, the authority says it’s important that everyone follow public health rules and get tested at the first sign of symptoms.

Interior Health previously warned of a “community cluster” of COVID-19 in Revelstoke in late November that involved 46 cases as of Dec. 1.

In Vancouver, an outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared in the heart centre at St. Paul’s Hospital after patients tested positive.

Vancouver Coastal Health says the unit is closed to new admissions and only end-of-life visits are allowed, while the rest of the hospital remains open.