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

Researchers at UFV looking into effects of pandemic on activity and mental health

Survey is online now to gather data from people of all backgrounds on physical activity changes

Disinfectant wipes and sanitizer being stolen out of cars in Fraser Valley

RCMP reminding vehicle owners to remove all valuables from cars, even cleaning supplies

Call out for local committee members, to help Hope’s economy recover from COVID-19

Stabilizing businesses in the short term, and planning for recovery is the focus for AdvantageHOPE

Organ donation gives Fraser Valley RCMP officer a second chance at life

Cathleen Falebrinza celebrates Green Shirt Day after receiving a double lung transplant in 2016.

Stay off the tracks and stay alert, rail police warn

Last year, seven were killed and 10 seriously injured in rail crossing, trespassing incidents

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

Researchers to study whether plasma of recovered patients can treat COVID-19

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains the antibodies that protect against illness

Most Read