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As B.C. moves toward its new normal, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is extending the provincial state of emergency to support continued co-ordination of the pandemic response.

"Because of our determination and sacrifices over the past months, we're now in a position to carefully move toward the next chapter in our response to COVID-19, but we must not lose sight of the challenges that are ahead," said Premier John Horgan. "At each and every step forward, your government will continue in its commitment to keep our communities safe and support people through this difficult time."

Government recently announced BC's Restart Plan, laying out a series of steps and principles that everyone in B.C. will take together to protect people and ensure that the province can come back from COVID-19 stronger than before.

"As we look forward to increasing our social and economic activity in B.C., we must remember that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over," said Farnworth. "Our province continues to be in a state of emergency, and we will continue in our co-ordinated response to keep people safe, support our health-care system and ensure our supply chains are secure."

The current state of emergency is being extended through the end of the day on May 26, 2020.


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Interior Health 2

Beginning May 19, Interior Health (IH) will resume elective surgeries that were postponed due to COVID-19.

While the pandemic continues to evolve, IH is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to safely resume elective surgeries to support access for patients, both on waitlists and yet to be added. Throughout the resumption of services, our priority is to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Interior Health is calling patients to confirm their health status and if they are able and willing to move forward with surgery. We recognize that some individuals may wish to continue to postpone their surgery at this time. Those who choose not to proceed with their surgeries immediately will hold their spot on the waitlist.

In an effort to support as many people as possible, Interior Health will also maximize our ability to provide minor procedures that do not require an operating room, as well as day surgeries that do not require overnight stays in hospital.

Urgent, emergent, and oncology-related surgeries were not impacted by the pause in surgery and will continue as priority cases.

To minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 for patients, staff, and physicians, a number of measures will be implemented as part of the surgical process:

  • When possible, patients will be assessed through a virtual pre-admission clinic by video conference or telephone prior to surgery.
  • Consistent screening tools and risk assessment guidelines will be used.
  • Patients will be assessed 24-72 hours prior to surgery and upon arrival the day of surgery.
  • Surgeries will be scheduled with time to accommodate additional cleaning and infection control measures.

Patients will be rescheduled based on priority.


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city merritt council

Last night, Merritt City Council held a virtual council meeting. On the agenda was a motion to approve a change to the fee structure at the Claybanks RV Park.

Council had debated the motion two weeks ago during the last council meeting and already approved the first three readings of the change.

It was stated that the fees had not been reviewed in approximately seven years.

Claybanks uses a two-season schedule with higher rates being charged during ‘high season’. Currently ‘high season’ is only July and August, the proposed changes would see it extended to run from May to September.

The rates are also being increased to a level comparable with RV parks in the region.

The change was approved by a unanimous vote.


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city hall

Back in March city officials decided to close city hall to the general public and began working remotely as much as possible.

Now as the province looks to begin phase two of the ‘restart BC plan’ on Tuesday, May 19, city hall might not be far behind.

“The management team has been working very hard on this. We started with essential services, moved to core services, and now we’re ready to start bringing staff back,” said CAO Scott Hildebrand.

The official date is subject to change, but Hildebrand said they are currently aiming for Wednesday, May 20.

“In order to do that we need to make sure that our orders of safety equipment, safety supplies, and all our procedures and requirements are in place,” added Hildebrand.

When city hall opens it will be for limited hours at first, and staff is designing a safe way for the public to attend to pay bills and take care of other matters.

“We’re making sure we uncover every stone and make sure we have the right precautions in place for a safe and successful reopening strategy,” concluded Hildebrand.


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bc news


- Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are reporting seven new cases, for a total of 2,360 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 397 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 1,832 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 63 individuals are hospitalized, 16 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 874 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,124 in the Fraser Health region, 125 in the Island Health region, 180 in the Interior Health region and 57 in the Northern Health region.

"We are saddened to report one new COVID-19 related death in the Fraser Health region, for a total of 131 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to the family, friends and caregivers of this individual, and to everyone who has lost their loved ones.

"There have been no new long-term care or assisted-living facility outbreaks. In total, 15 facilities and five acute-care units have active cases.

"Public health teams are continuing to provide support for community outbreaks in the poultry sector, at the Mission Institution and with those connected to the Kearl Lake plant in Alberta.

"Every person in our province has been impacted by COVID-19 and the effects have been far reaching. Today, a provincewide survey - called Your story, our future - has been launched to hear about your experiences and actions in the COVID-19 pandemic so far. The survey can be accessed through the BC Centre for Disease Control website:


Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest figures of COVID-19 in BC.

(Previous numbers in brackets)

New Cases – 7

Total Cases – 2,360 (2,353)

Patients in Hospital – 63 (66)

Patients in ICU – 16 (18)

Recovered – 1,832 (1,719)

New Deaths – 1

Totals Deaths – 131 (130)

Health region breakdown;

Vancouver Coastal – 874 (873)

Fraser – 1,124 (1,118)

Island – 125 (125)

Interior – 180 (180)

Northern – 57 (57)

More to come.


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