As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Interior and across the province, BC’s Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been fielding numerous questions about masks and face coverings.
While some jurisdictions have mandated masks, the Province and Dr. Henry have not taken that step, at least not directly.
“Some people are asking when we will see masks mandated in B.C. The answer is that they already are. The mandate to use masks appropriately is a cornerstone of businesses' and organizations' COVID-19 safety plans, and is embedded in our health-care facilities' operational policies and restart protocols in other public institutions,” said Henry.
“Despite how it might appear when we watch the news or go on social media, research shows that most of us in B.C. are doing the right things most of the time. Ordering universal mask use in all situations creates unnecessary challenges with enforcement and stigmatization. We need only look at the COVID-19 transmission rates in other jurisdictions that have tried using such orders to see what little benefit these orders by themselves have served. We also know that when orders and fines are in place, it is racialized people and those living in poverty or homeless who are most often targeted,” added Henry.
Over the past few weeks, cases in the lower mainland and the Fraser Valley have been surging, forcing Henry to implement regional orders, and asking those province-wide to avoid travel with the province.
“Provincial health officer orders are always a last resort and we have used them carefully to address these recent trends,” said Henry.
Dr. Henry will be providing the latest numbers this afternoon, and Premier John Horgan will be addressing the media this morning.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
Yellowhead Road and Bridge is expecting a weather system to come in Tuesday evening, November 17, 2020 and into the overnight hours. Heaviest snowfall expected for the Coquihalla Summit (South) with significant snow expected on Larson Hill as well. Precipitation tapers off and breaks into flurries around 1am with a brief break in snowfall before increasing to steadier snow midday Wednesday.
Snowfall will be service area wide but focussed South of Merritt, so please drive to conditions. Plow trucks will be out removing snow and restoring traction as well as putting out chemicals to help prevent icy conditions. When flashing lights are on, our trucks are in “Winter Work Mode” and require extra room to perform their necessary duties. Remember to never pass a plow truck on the right and road conditions in front of the plow truck will be worse than behind it.
UPDATE on IH numbers:
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
"Today, we are reporting 717 new cases of COVID-19, including one epi-linked case, for a total of 23,661 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 6,589 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 198 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 63 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"Currently, 10,960 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 16,469 people who tested positive have recovered.
"We have had 177 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 484 in the Fraser Health region, 16 in the Island Health region, 18 in the Interior Health region, 21 in the Northern Health region and one new case of a person who resides outside of Canada.
"There have been 11 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 310 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have one new health-care facility outbreak at Tsawaayuss-Rainbow Gardens in the Island Health region. There have been no new community outbreaks.
"We need everyone working together to stay small, stay local and help us slow the spread of COVID-19 in our province.
"The biggest impact you can make is through the small actions you take every day.
"Just as we put on our jackets to keep us warm in the rain and snow, so too are our COVID-19 safety layers there to protect all of us. Washing your hands, keeping a safe distance and always wearing a mask in places where you are around people you don't know - these things make a difference.
Mayor Linda Brown is now halfway through her first four-year term as the Mayor of Merritt.
Last week, Q101 sat down with the Mayor to discuss how COVID-19 has affected business at City Hall, and some of the biggest projects and goals accomplished in her second year. (Those articles can be found here; Part 1 / Part 2)
With uncertainty swirling around when COVID-19 will be a thing of the past, 2021 will most likely be another unusual year, but nevertheless Mayor Brown outlined an extensive list of projects and goals to achieve during her third year.
“We are still going to finish that Official Community Plan (OCP), we have the active transportation plan in the works and between the two of them we would like to be able to implement parts of it next year,” began Brown. “I would like to be able to work with Council to expand our borders.”
Both the OCP and Active Transportation plan are currently in the midst of public consolation. As for expanding borders, the City is looking to acquire the North Bench Lands for future development and green space.
“We have a number of projects in the making, one of them is the whole 286 project, partnering with the first nations on the infrastructure to get water and sewer to the 286 site. We also have the Palomino Pointe Estates project, where they are looking at building up the hill towards Aspen Grove. Those are two major projects that we’ll at least get started next year, I hope,” continued Brown.
Sustainability is another goal for the Mayor, along with bringing in more forms of revenue to the City.
“We don’t want to continue to increase taxation, so we need to find other ways to bring revenue to the City,” added Brown.
Other projects highlighted by the Mayor were the Voght Street Project Phase two, an airport upgrade, and the improvement of how City Committees are run.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
As the season turns quickly to winter and Merrittonians awake this morning to snow and ice blanketing the City, the need for a program helping seniors and those with disabilities with snow removal becomes even more important.
Recently a group of concerned citizens made a presentation to the City Council about the possible creation of a snow angels program this winter.
CAO Sean Smith did not that the City attempted to implement a similar program last year, however, a lack of volunteers sunk the idea.
Mayor Linda Brown addressed a new program coming to the City, which will help with things like snow removal.
“The United Way has chosen the City of Merritt for a new program to help seniors. They are subsidized by both the Federal and Provincial Government, and it is going to be run through ICS,” began Brown. “I specifically asked about snow removal, they do snow removal in the winter and they do gardening in the summer. They do housekeeping and visiting all year round.”
The program will be looking for a contractor to complete the work as supposed to relying on volunteers.
No date was given for when the new program may be active in the City.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt