Province declares public health emergency due to COVID-19

Province declares public health emergency due to COVID-19

The deaths were announced as Henry declared a public health emergency in the province Tuesday afternoon as the number of coronavirus cases shot up to 186, including 83 new cases.

The province now has had seven fatalities during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Six of the current cases are now in hospital in acute care, while five have fully recovered.

The other person who died was a man in his 80s, who died in hospital in the Fraser Health Region.

"This is something that we've had as a tool in our toolkit for some time", Henry said.

When asked why the USA had been exempt from the closure of the border to non-Canadians, Trudeau said that as Canada's closest neighbour, the country was viewed in a different category than other countries. That is a much tighter restriction than the order cancelling gatherings of over 250 people previously announced.

The Prime Minister and the country's top health officials have pleaded with all Canadians to exercise social distance and keep gatherings to less than 50 people.

"We need to break the chain of transmission".

The move follows Tuesday's declaration of a public health emergency in B.C. over COVID-19.

Dix said this will free up hundreds of hospital beds, saying that hospitals are "clearly going to see more cases".

Three additional deaths have been recorded in B.C. due to COVID-19.

"We have worked with the College of Pharmacists to advise pharmacies to provide patients with a prescription refill or an emergency supply of their medications if needed".

Henry added, however, "We don't have widespread community spread of this virus yet".

Under a state of emergency, the province can acquire or use any land or personal property considered necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects the pandemic.

"We want to make sure they are expanding those provisions to capture those individuals, but also recognize that there needs to be closer to full wages rather than half wages or three-quarters wages depending on what the circumstances are", he said. This includes the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, as well as access to support and resources from the provincial and federal governments.

"We've taken a number of unprecedented measures in the last few days", said Dr. Henry of the declaration.

"COVID-19 is impacting us all", Farnworth said.

Earlier in the day, BCCDC said they were running critically low on swabs.

"Because many people are at home and they have mild symptoms, there's been a lot of concern about whether they need to be tested for COVID-19 and we don't think that most people do".

Over the weekend, however, Dix and Henry clarified the situations in which B.C. residents need testing for the virus, stressing that not everyone should be tested. She notes that more cases could come in the following days as more people continue to be tested.

Last week, health officials also advised against all non-essential travel overseas.

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