B.C. Premier John Horgan takes questions at the B.C. legislature, February 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C.’s COVID-19 outlook coming in early May, Premier Horgan says

No additional travel restrictions, provincial parks stay closed

As other provinces prepare to release plans for restoring services and activities in the coronavirus pandemic, B.C. Premier John Horgan is remaining cautious about keeping a lid on risks of COVID-19 transmission.

“What I know for sure is that British Columbians don’t want to give up the progress we’ve made,” Horgan said as he took questions from reporters after his weekly cabinet meeting April 22.

That means non-essential travel continues to be discouraged and provincial parks remain closed to help keep people close to home as spring weather arrives, Horgan said. It does not mean additional travel restrictions on B.C. Ferries or other transportatation beyond what has been announced by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Horgan said expects to have a province-wide address prepared before the middle of May, but daily developments such as a COVID-19 outbreak at a poultry processing facility in Vancouver this week show how quickly things can change. Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan are moving ahead this week, with much lower case counts than B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

RELATED: Five COVID-19 outbreaks over at Lower Mainland care homes

RELATED: Ottawa pledges new benefit for post-secondary students

One initiative announced by Horgan is a new focus on the province’s long-term project to increase broadband internet service to every populated corner of B.C. Horgan said he has instructed Citizens’ Services Minister Anne Kang to “accelerate” the program, partly due to the need for online delivery of health assessments by doctors and nurse practitioners.

Horgan also announced the latest of a series of urgent primary health care centres will open next week in the James Bay area of Victoria, saying the growing network of group clinics is more important now that the pandemic has occupied hospitals and kept many people away from them.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said April 21 a new urgent care centre in Vernon now has a permanent location. Another in Abbotsford has been in operation since April 17 as a COVID-19 assessment centre and will turn to general urgent care “at an appropriate time.”

Another urgent primary care centre opened April 6 in Castlegar, in a program begun two years ago to address the shortage of family doctors in many B.C. communities.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

Flood evacuation in Fairmont; residents able to return home

Evacuation alerts remain in place for Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek.

Copper Point Golf Course copes with COVID-19 safety measures

General manager says golf is one of few sports where implementing safety measures is fairly simple

Freshwater turtle sightings

Stewardship group wants to know where you’ve seen turtles in the Columbia Valley

Radium author launches book

Radium Hot Springs author Brent Lea launches thriller set in the great outdoors of southeastern B.C.

Helping our community during COVID-19

A high school student’s perspective

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Vancouver Island school principal mourns brother, cousin killed during U.S. protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Most Read