Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives an update on B.C.’s response to COVID-19 in Vancouver, B.C., on March 6, 2020. (Karissa Gall/Black Press Media)

VIDEO: B.C. premier, health officials unveil response plan for COVID-19

Plan is to be ready to operate under an outbreak that lasts up to four months

The B.C. government is activating its pandemic plan to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak that has sickened 21 people in the province.

Speaking at a media conference on March 6 in Vancouver, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the government’s priority is still to contain and slow the outbreak through testing, border surveillance and isolation, “but be prepared.”

As of the night before the conference, Dix said the province had tested 2,803 samples involving 2,008 individuals. By the end of next week it will have four additional labs for testing and over the next month it will acquire additional machines.

To meet staffing demands in the event of a larger outbreak, he said “B.C. is currently in the process of establishing a list of health care workers who can be rapidly redeployed” either locally or provincially, and is working with professional colleges to register health care workers who can be redeployed from other parts of the country.

ALSO READ: Eight new B.C. coronavirus cases, one with no travel link

Protocols to de-escalate or “decant” hospitals are also being put in place to ensure health care capacity, he said. For example, by sending low-risk patients home sooner and deferring scheduled surgeries deemed non-urgent.

He said the province has already implemented hospital-wide protocols to safely triage and separate anyone presenting with respiratory illness.

As for medical supplies, he said “B.C. will be receiving a large shipment of additional supplies in the coming days” and will coordinate distribution provincially.

Overall, he said the province is ready to use emergency powers to protect the population, health workers and the health system’s capacity to help patients with other problems.

Premier John Horgan said a deputy ministers committee will oversee the response and report to a cabinet committee co-chaired by him and Dix.

Horgan also said the provincial pandemic plan is to be ready to operate under an outbreak that lasts up to four months.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry added that of the 21 people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus, four have recovered and only one is in hospital in the intensive care unit.

She said the condition of the woman in her 80s has improved.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

‘Erratic’ driver arrested on Highway 16 near Vanderhoof

A 23-year-old man from Calgary, Alberta, was arrested on July 6 and faces multiple charges.

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read