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

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read