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

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

Just Posted

Caretakers say goodbye to Gwynne Vaughan heritage house in Chilliwack after 17 years

Larry and Vicky Graitson have seen a lot of changes at the community park over the years

COLUMN: Chilliwack judge refuses to hear guilty plea and sentencing over the phone

‘The sentencing judge must be in a position to confront the offender, meet his eye’ - Judge Kristen Mundstock

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer curbside pick up

After two and a half months of being closed, people can once again check books out of the library

Thousands without power after semi collides with power pole in Chilliwack

The collision happened at Prest and First and now 3,600-plus customers are without power

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Most Read