New travel restrictions from Friday

PREMIER John Horgan announced on Monday that on Friday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth “will issue orders under the Emergency Program Act to restrict people’s ability to leave their Health Authority” to stop the spread of COVID-19.

He said that this “will be conducted through random audits not unlike roadside stops for CounterAttack during the Christmas season.”

“There will be a fine if you were travelling outside your area,” he warned.

Meanwhile, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix reported 2,960 new COVID-19 cases, for a total of 120,040 cases in British Columbia.

They said: “Today, we are reporting three periods: from April 16 to 17, we had 1,027 new cases, from April 17 to 18 we had 933 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we had a further 1,000 new cases.”

There were eight new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,538 deaths in the province.

There are 9,353 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 14,711 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 108,919 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the active cases, 441 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 138 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There have been 696 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,845 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 108 in the Island Health region, 211 in the Interior Health region, 100 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There are currently 5,872 cases of COVID-19 that are confirmed variants of concern in our province. Of the total cases, 191 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 3,908 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 71 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 1,893 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

Henry and Dix said: “Sadly we have had the first death of a child due to COVID-19 in B.C. The child was under the age of two, resided in the Fraser Health Authority and was receiving specialized care at BC Children’s Hospital. Our condolences are with the family, friends, caregivers and communities of this child and with all the people who have passed away due to COVID-19.”

The outbreaks at Vernon Jubilee Hospital and the Segal Family Health Centre are now over.

They said: “1,380,160 of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,970 of which are second doses.

“In addition to our age-based and worker programs, we are expanding vaccinations for people aged 40 and up who are now also eligible to receive their AstraZeneca vaccine at their local pharmacy. We are doing this after a careful review of the evidence that initially led to a pause in the expanded AstraZeneca vaccine program for younger workers.

“In addition, we will be establishing specific AstraZeneca vaccine clinics in the 13 communities with the highest identified transmission in community. People 40 and older who reside in those communities will be able to get vaccinated there. For a complete list of the 13 communities, as well as information to assist in determining if you reside in one of these communities, go to: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/neighbourhood

“As a result of the current levels of transmission in B.C., the provincial health officer orders that were set to expire today will be extended for a further five weeks, through to May 24, 2021, at midnight.

“This includes the current restrictions on restaurants, pubs, bars and indoor group fitness activities. The Expedited Workplace Closure order also remains in place.

“New orders will be in put in place later this week under the Emergency Program Act, to restrict vacation and recreation travel outside of your health authority.

“Our hospitals are stretched, our health-care workers exhausted. They are taking care of our friends and loved-ones and we need to take care of them through our actions, so they can continue to do their jobs for us.

“Let’s do our part, to use our layers, to stay local and err on the side of caution, so we can put COVID-19 behind us.”

Learn More

For the April 19, 2021, PowerPoint presentation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/19.04.21_ProtectingPeopleDeck_COVID-19.pdf

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