Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update as of March 30, 2020

March 30, 2020 – School district and independent school updated messages:

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced 86 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. bringing the total number of cases to 970.  Note: 469 people have now fully recovered. Here is the joint statement on the Ministry of Health newsroom – https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0115-000594

 Useful Links

 

 

March 19, 2020 – School district and independent school updated messages:

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced 40 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. bringing the total number of cases in B.C. to 271. The joint statement will be posted later this afternoon, on the Ministry of Health newsroom here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/ministries/health

Town Hall: Global BC is hosting a town hall live at 6:30 pm tonight. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will take questions from the public. More information can be found here: https://globalnews.ca/news/6692817/bonnie-henry-adrian-dix-coronavirus-questions-global-town-hall/

 Useful Links

 

 

March 18, 2020 – School district and independent school updated messages:

Today B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency in to support public health efforts to combat COVID-19 and to ensure resources can be coordinated and distributed between all levels of government and further ensure people have access to necessary goods. Please see media release: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0017-00051

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced 45 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. bringing the total number of cases in B.C. to 231. The joint statement will be posted later this afternoon, on the Ministry of Health newsroom here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/ministries/health

YESTERDAY Education Minster Rob Fleming  – announced the immediate suspension of in-class instruction until further notice. Please see Minister Fleming’s letter to parents and staff: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/kindergarten-to-grade-12/safe-caring-orderly/218690-covid-letter.pdf

 Useful Links

March 17, 2020 – Minister Fleming’s Letter to Parents, Guardians, and Staff re: Suspension of in-class instruction 

March 17, 2020 Ref: 218690

Dear Parents, Guardians and Staff:

The health and safety of our students, staff and their families is our highest priority.

The global pandemic COVID-19 is moving quickly and its impact on British Columbians is growing.

We have followed the direction – daily – of public health officials and scientists in making factbased decisions when it comes to B.C.’s school system.

Today, under the direction of the Provincial Health Officer we are directing all schools to immediately suspend in-class instruction until further notice.

While classroom lessons are suspended it is expected that schools will implement a variety of measures to ensure continued learning for students.

We are urging teachers, principals, school districts and independent school authorities to begin planning now to ensure continuity of learning and I have tasked Ministry of Education staff to work with our education partners to coordinate these initiatives.

We expect school districts and independent schools will develop plans to maintain some level of service for children of people who are performing essential services across our province – like medical health professionals, first responders, pharmacists and critical infrastructure workers.

We also know there are vulnerable students who have unique needs; important services like school meal programs, and child care services operating on school grounds that need to be addressed. We expect schools to consider these issues in their planning while we work together through these extraordinary times.

Every student will receive a final mark, and all students on track to move to the next grade will do so in the fall. For grades 10 and 11 students, graduation assessments will be postponed.

Every student eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate. The only graduation assessment required for current Grade 12 students is the Grade 10 numeracy assessment. The Ministry of Education will ensure Grade 12 students who have not yet completed this assessment and who are otherwise on track to graduate are able to meet this graduation requirement.

The ministry will also work with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and with post-secondary institutions on admissions and the smooth transition of graduating students in this extra-ordinary year.

We will continue to work in consultation with our education partners as we plan for ongoing learning, including frequent contact with school districts to ensure we work through this together as plans are developed.

This is a very challenging time in B.C. and around the world. Please take necessary preventative measures to keep you and your families healthy. If you think you have symptoms the Ministry of Health has developed an online self-assessment tool at covid19.thrive.health. If you do have symptoms you can call 8-1-1 to pre-arrange health testing. While symptomatic, self-isolate.

The province has a launched a new non-medical information line for British Columbians who have questions about COVID-19: 1-888-COVID19. Phone lines are open 7 days a week from 7:30 AM to 8 PM, and information is available in more than 110 languages.

These measures are temporary. But we must act together and act now to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Sincerely,

Rob Fleming
Minister

 

March 11, 2020 – School district and independent school updated messages:

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 7 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including the first case on Vancouver Island, bringing the total number of cases in B.C. to 46. Here is today’s statement – https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0074-000470

SCHOOL CLOSURES – Important reminder on school closures: Decisions about school closures should made by public health officials in cooperation with respective independent school associations and the Ministry of Education. All schools should be following the school closure guidelines and protocols currently in place. Sharing our Pandemic Response Framework and Planning Guidelines again: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/kindergarten-to-grade-12/healthyschools/pandemic_response_framework.pdf (We originally sent these guidelines out on Jan. 31st)

While there have been a small number of school closures in B.C. this week, medical health officers have not advised that those steps are necessary.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

TRAVEL ADVICE from the Provincial Health Officer: At this time, it is not necessary to cancel planned events, outings or trips to public locations in B.C. and Canada and to most places in the world. However, travellers should understand that as global efforts to contain COVID-19 continue, the availability of health care services in some areas may be limited and travel restrictions may be put in place suddenly.

People who are planning travel should check the latest travel notices and advisories on the Government of Canada’s website: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.

Cruise ships continue to be high-risk environments for transmission. The federal government has recommended that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

People arriving in Canada from Hubei Province, China and Iran and Italy are asked to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days and monitor closely for symptoms of illness. If any symptoms arise, connect with your primary care provider, local public health office or call 8-1-1.

British Columbians should monitor their health while they are travelling and after they return. If you have any symptoms at all of a cold or influenza, even if they’re mild, stay away from others. If you have been to areas, particularly where we know there has been transmission of COVID-19, then call your health care provider, 8-1-1, or public health. Always tell health care providers about recent travel if you become ill after returning to Canada.

Useful Links

 

 

March 6, 2020 – School district and independent school updated messages:

B.C. announces its BC Pandemic Coordination Plan in response to COVID-19, a worldwide public health outbreak. There have been 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C., four people have recovered, one person is in hospital in critical condition and the other 16 cases are recovering, in good condition, at home.

B.C. is adding four additional COVID-19 testing labs. The province has struck a Deputy Minister’s Committee, which includes Ministry of Education DM Scott MacDonald, that will report to a special Cabinet Committee on government response to protect and contain the outbreak. Please see statement from Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry:  https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0012-000404

The Pandemic Coordination plan is publicly available and can be found here:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/reports-publications/pandemic-provincial-coordination-plan.pdf

For School Administration:
TRAVEL Advice from the Provincial Health Officer

At this time, it is not necessary to cancel planned events, outings or trips to public locations in B.C. and Canada and to most places in the world. However, travellers should understand that as global efforts to contain COVID-19 continue, the availability of health care services in some areas may be limited and travel restrictions may be put in place suddenly.

People who are planning travel should check the latest travel notices and advisories on the Government of Canada’s website: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.

Information about COVID-19, including advice and guidance to schools, is regularly updated on the BC Centre for Disease Control site: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseasesconditions/coronavirus-(novel) Please routinely check this site and its resources.

Useful Links

 

March 4, 2020 – School district and independent school updated messages:

B.C. announces 13th  confirmed case of COVID-19, a woman in her 80’s who is in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Vancouver General Hospital. She had recently traveled to India and Hong Kong  Please see joint statement from Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0060-000380

SCHOOLS – PHO ADVICE

In a Mar. 3 joint statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry advises: “Schools should be increasing cleaning and hand hygiene, educating students on respiratory etiquette, in addition to putting mechanisms in place to support students who may be away for extended periods.”

TRAVEL – PHO ADVICE

In a Mar. 3 joint statement, Dr. Henry advises: “British Columbians with upcoming travel plans should continue to monitor the Government of Canada travel site for the latest travel advisories: www.travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

“Travellers should understand that as global efforts to contain COVID-19 continue, the availability of health care services in some areas may be limited and travel restrictions may be put in place suddenly. We are asking all travellers returning from Iran and China to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return home to Canada. All other travellers who are returning to, or visiting, B.C. from outside Canada should monitor themselves and their children closely for symptoms and if any arise, limit their contact with others and call 811. This is an important way to reduce the possibility of transmission of illness to others.”

Useful Links

 

 

March 3, 2020 – School district and independent school updated messages:

B.C. announces 9th confirmed COVID-19 case, a man in his 50’s who lives in the Fraser Health region and who recently returned from Iran. Please see joint statement from Health Minister Dix and Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0056-000365

TRAVEL

Along with encouraging proper hand hygiene and staying home when unwell, the PHO also advises travellers (spring break, school trips etc.) to conduct risk assessments in advance and consider postponing trips to impacted areas – while noting that impacted areas are changing as COVID-19 continues to evolve. Please find all current health-related travel notices here: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices

EVENT PLANNING

Event planners are asked to do a risk assessment. While the PHO advises there is no reason to cancel events in B.C., she cautions participants to consider their personal risk and if they have been to Iran or China or in close contact with someone who has been to COVID-19 impacted areas, along with anyone with underlying health conditions should avoid mass gatherings and the PHO further advises anyone who is not feeling well, not to attend public events.

GREETINGS

The PHO asks people refrain from customary greetings such a handshaking, hugging and kissing during the remainder of flu season.

KIDS and COVID-19

For parents and educators, CBC Kids along with the PHO produced a kid-centric Q and A video about COVID-19, please feel free to share with your school community. CBC Kids/ COVID-19 story: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/post/watch-coronavirus-facts-versus-fiction

Please note provincial recommendations on travel-related, self isolation:

  • The Provincial Health Officer is advising people who have been to China and Iran in the last 14 days, or who have been in contact with someone who has, to call public health officials and self-isolate for 14 days.
  • The Provincial Health Officer is also advising that anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.

Useful Links

The Provincial Health Officer has released new Frequently Asked Questions on New Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Children and Students. The FAQs provide more information on COVID-19 – including symptoms, prevention practices and additional resources – as well as guidance related to staying home from school, wearing masks and supporting friends/classmates who are worried about the coronavirus.

 

February 28, 2020 – Ministry of Education’s Message to Parents

Dear parents, guardians, and families,

This week all schools in the province received guidance from the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control regarding measures for preventing and controlling respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, in schools and childcare facilities.

The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, recently stated to the public on February 25 that, “the risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia continues to remain low at this time.” However, we wanted to ensure you had up-to-date information about the measures for preventing and controlling respiratory viruses and how they are being implemented in our district. The information will also let you know what steps you can take at home.

Prevention
There are two important ways to prevent and control respiratory viruses in school settings.

The first is for students and staff who are ill with respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, fatigue, and/or muscle aches) to stay home from school. If your child is not feeling well, we ask that you keep them home so that they can rest and recover. As always, remember to inform the school of the absence.

The second way to prevent and control respiratory viruses is the consistent practice of good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. Good respiratory etiquette includes covering the mouth and nose during coughing or sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues in a plastic-lined waste container, followed by hand hygiene. Hand hygiene is the washing of hands with plain soap and water, which is effective at removing visible soil as well as viruses.

Children in the school setting should clean their hands:
• before leaving home and on arrival at school
• after using the toilet
• after breaks and sporting activities
• before food preparation
• before eating any food, including snacks
• before leaving school

If you have a younger child, support them at home by supervising and assisting in hand hygiene.
In schools, this supervision will be provided by teachers.

REMINDER: Masks are not necessary for people who are not experiencing symptoms. In
children in particular, masks can be irritating and may increase touching of the face and eyes,
which increases the risk of infection.

Cleaning and Disinfecting
Regular cleaning and disinfecting of objects and high-touch surfaces (e.g. door handles, water fountain push buttons) helps prevent the transmission of viruses.
The school ensures daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces at all of its school sites.

NOTE: Although water fountain knobs and push buttons will be cleaned daily, consider providing your child with a filled water bottle so that they do not have to drink directly from the fountain.

Food Sharing
Students should not be sharing food, utensils, dishes, and water bottles or drink containers. Although this practice is important for preventing exposures to allergens, it is equally important in reducing virus transmission between children.

Psychological Considerations
A new virus such as the COVID-19 can create anxiety and be difficult for students/children to understand, especially if someone in their school or family is sick or they see or hear troubling messages on the radio, internet or television. It is normal for children to feel worried and nervous and have questions.

Support your children by reassuring them about their personal safety and health. Telling them that it is okay to be concerned is comforting. Reassure them they are safe and that there are many things they can do to stay healthy:

• Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcoholbased hand sanitizer, especially after coughing or sneezing.
• Cough and sneeze into arm or tissue.
• Stay home if they are not feeling well.
• Keep hands away from face and mouth.
• Stay healthy by eating healthy foods, keeping physically active, and getting enough
sleep.

 

 

February 21, 2020 – School district and independent school updated messages:

On Feb. 20, Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a joint statement announcing B.C.’s sixth case of COVID-19 – a woman in her 30’s in the Fraser Health region, who recently returned to B.C. from Iran. Please see the joint statement for more information: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0041-000304

Please note provincial recommendations on travel-related, self isolation:

  • The Provincial Health Officer is advising people who have been to Hubei province in the last 14 days, or who have been in contact with someone who has, to call public health officials and self-isolate for 14 days.
  • The Provincial Health Officer is also advising that anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.

Useful Links

 

February 14, 2020 – School district and independent school updated messages:

On Feb. 14, the Minister of Health and the Provincial Health Officer issued a joint statement announcing B.C.’s fifth (presumed) case of novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) – a woman in her 30’s, living in the Interior Health region. The woman traveled to Vancouver from Shanghai. The woman displayed symptoms shortly after arrival and promptly self-isolated and contacted public health officials. For more information, please see joint statement: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0036-000284

 Please note provincial recommendations on travel related, self isolation:

  • The Provincial Health Officer is advising people who have been to Hubei province in the last 14 days, or who have been in contact with someone who has, to call public health officials and self-isolate for 14 days.
  • The Provincial Health Officer is also advising that anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.

Useful Links

 

Provincial Health Officer has provided a letter to share with parents and guardians regarding the novel coronavirus – Feb. 7, 2020

Date: February 7, 2020

Dear: Parents/Guardians

We are writing to give you updated information on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), a new virus causing respiratory illness. Families may be concerned about the risk to their families. The highest number of infections continue to be reported from Hubei Province, China. There have been a small number of cases of 2019-nCoV in B.C. which are being very closely managed. The risk to British Columbians remains low.

Our knowledge of this virus continues to grow, and we are using new information to adjust our public health recommendations. We are now aware of early evidence that this virus can cause a range of mild to severe symptoms, and it is possible that people will not recognize symptoms that are mild. During this time, they can reduce the chance of spread by limiting contact with others.

Therefore, we now recommend that:
• Students or staff returning from Hubei Province, China consider staying home for 14 days after they left Hubei. They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms like fever or cough. Parents should assist children as needed. Those who develop symptoms, should stay home and call their health-care provider or 8-1-1 to discuss any need for testing and follow up.
• Students or staff, who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with 2019-nCoV should consider staying home for 14 days after their last encounter. Individuals should monitor themselves daily for symptoms like fever and cough. Parents should assist children as needed. Those who develop symptoms should stay home and call their healthcare provider or 8-1-1 to discuss any need for testing and follow up.
• Students or staff who have been in other parts of China (outside Hubei Province) should monitor themselves daily for symptoms like fever or cough for 14 days. Parents should assist children as needed. Those who develop symptoms should stay home and call their healthcare provider or 8-1-1 to discuss any need for testing and follow up.

The Ministry of Education continues to be in close contact with public health officials at all levels of government and ask the public not to make assumptions about the risk of students or staff based on their ethnicity or travel history.

Advice for Students and Families Considering Travel:
Students and families considering travel to and from China are encouraged to consult the Novel Coronavirus in China Travel Health Notice on the Government of Canada Travel and Tourism site regularly. Recommendations change as new information becomes available.

Advice on School Events, Outings and Field Trips
It is not necessary to cancel school events, outings or field trips to public locations in B.C. and Canada and to most places in the world. The Government of Canada has advised however, the public should avoid non-essential travel to China.

Advice on masks from Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry:
When sick, wearing a mask helps to prevent us from passing on illnesses to other people. But if you are not sick, we do not know if wearing a mask will prevent infection, especially for children who may not be able to wear a mask properly. People wearing a mask may also touch their faces more often, potentially increasing the risk of having the eyes, nose or mouth come into contact with the virus.

Some parents wonder if a child who is returning from an affected area of China should wear a mask to school. Since the main way the virus is spread is through coughing and sneezing, this isn’t necessary for healthy children. Wearing masks in public, with a goal of preventing spread of illness, can be a way some communities show respect for others. While we do not recommend wearing masks for healthy children, it is important that any children who do wear masks are treated with respect and not fear.

Reducing the risk of coronavirus, colds and flu
• Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
• If a sink is not available, alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) can be used to clean hands if they are not visibly soiled. If they are visibly soiled using a wipe and then ABHR is effective.
• Do not touch your face/eyes/mouth with unwashed hands.
• Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow.
• Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Regular household cleaning products are effective against most viruses.
• Stay home if you are sick and away from others so you don’t pass it on.

A new toll-free phone number (1 833 784-4397) has been established to answer questions from Canadians about the 2019 novel coronavirus. Service is available from 7 a.m. to midnight EST.

Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

Further information about novel coronavirus is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

 

February 6, 2020 – Joint statement on two new cases of 2019 novel coronavirus in B.C. 

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 (2019-nCoV) in British Columbia:

“We are announcing two new cases of novel coronavirus in B.C. The people affected are in the same household and have been in close contact with the previously reported second confirmed case announced on Feb. 5. The three cases and all close contacts remain in isolation at home.

“The two individuals are presumed positive based on local testing, and samples have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for final confirmation. One individual is male, the other female, and both are in their 30s. They are visitors to the Vancouver Coastal Health region from Hubei province, China.

“Vancouver Coastal Health continues to investigate. Their close contacts have been identified and continue to be followed by the health authority.

“Our knowledge of 2019-nCoV continues to grow as new information becomes available. Across the country, the federal, provincial and territorial governments are using this new evidence to inform and adjust our public health actions as circumstances develop globally.

“We want to reassure people that the risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time. We are watching the situation very closely and will notify the public if measures in B.C. change. The goal is rapid identification of potential cases, timely care for those who need it and prevention of local transmission.

“Now is the time for tolerance. We call on all British Columbians to come together as a community to help one another. In this time of uncertainty, this is not only the right response, but the necessary one. Fear obstructs the important work of our public health officials to protect the health and safety of British Columbians.

“The most important measures to prevent all respiratory illnesses, including this novel coronavirus, remain cleaning your hands regularly and avoiding touching your face, as well as coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and staying home and away from others if you become sick.

“As we recommended in our last briefing, and together with our federal and provincial partners, we ask people who have recently visited, or who have been in close contact with someone who has recently visited the Hubei province in China, to call public health officials and self-isolate for 14 days.

“Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.”

Learn More:

For more information and latest updates on 2019-nCoV, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

February 4, 2020 – Joint statement on second case of 2019 novel coronavirus in B.C. and federal travel recommendations

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 (2019-nCoV) in British Columbia:

“We are announcing a second presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus in B.C.

“The second person who tested positive is a woman in her 50s who resides in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Laboratory testing results returned positive from the BC Centre for Disease Control late Monday, Feb. 3, and samples have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for confirmation. Vancouver Coastal Health is undertaking a detailed case investigation and will follow up with each of her close contacts. The individual had close contact with family visitors from Wuhan city and is in isolation at home.

“Our knowledge of 2019-nCoV continues to grow as new information becomes available. Across the country, federal, provincial and territorial governments are using this new evidence to inform and adjust our public health actions as circumstances develop globally.

“As the federal government works to bring returning Canadians home from Wuhan, the decision was made to quarantine passengers from the special charter flight for 14 days. These individuals are returning from the most intensely affected areas of China, and they will receive psychosocial and medical support upon their return, as well as consular services.

“We are working closely with public health officials across Canada. Our focus is on people in British Columbia. Given the changing dynamics of the outbreak in China and globally, and recognizing we are in the midst of influenza season, we ask anyone here in B.C. who has been in Hubei province to consider staying home and keeping their children home until 14 days have passed from their last visit to Hubei. Monitor yourself and your children closely for symptoms, and if any symptoms arise, connect with your primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. This is an important way to reduce the possibility of transmission of illness to others.

“We want to reassure people that the risk of this virus spreading within British Columbia remains low at this time. We are watching the evolution of the outbreak in China very closely and will notify the public if the measures we need to take in B.C. change.

“The most important measures to prevent all respiratory illnesses including this novel coronavirus remain cleaning your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and staying home and away from others if you become sick.

“Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.”

Learn More:

For more information and latest updates on 2019-nCoV, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

Provincial health officer’s Jan. 29, 2020, statement confirming 2019-nCoV:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0016-000176

For the Jan. 28, 2020, joint statement on 2019-nCoV, visit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0015-000151

For a Punjabi translation: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020-Feb4-Coronavirus-Update_Punjabi.pdf

 

February 3, 2020 – Joint statement on updates on the 2019 novel coronavirus in B.C. 

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in British Columbia:

“The federal government announced its plans to bring Canadians home from Hubei, China. In the near future, a repatriation flight will bring Canadians from Hubei province, including Wuhan city, to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton near Toronto. Each of these returning Canadians, including staff and flight crew, will remain at CFB Trenton for 14 days to receive the necessary social and medical support they may need.

“We have been working closely with the federal government to ensure the repatriation process is smooth and conducted in a way that best protects the returning Canadians and the public here at home. It is expected that B.C. will be the final destination for some of the returning Canadians, and we will continue liaising with the federal government as it identifies passengers for the repatriation flight.

“The returning Canadians will spend 14 days at CFB Trenton, which is the 2019 novel coronavirus maximum incubation period, so they can be assessed and monitored, and to support their transition back to Canada.

“In B.C., we have chosen testing criteria with an intentionally low threshold to purposely ensure a wide range of people are eligible for novel coronavirus testing. On Friday, Jan. 31, we reported testing 114 samples and one confirmed case. Updates will be published each Friday at: www.bccdc.ca

“There continues to be one confirmed case in B.C.

“We want to reassure people that the risk of this virus spreading within British Columbia remains low at this time. We are watching the evolution of the outbreak in China very closely and will notify the public if the measures we need to take in B.C. change.

“All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond in order to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province.

“The most important measures to prevent all respiratory illnesses, including this novel coronavirus, remain cleaning your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and staying home and away from others if you become sick.

“Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.”

Learn More:

For more information and latest updates on 2019-nCoV, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

Provincial health officer’s Jan. 29, 2020, statement confirming 2019-nCoV:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0016-000176

For the Jan. 28, 2020, joint statement on 2019-nCoV, visit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0015-000151

For a Chinese translation: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020.02.03CoronavirusUpdate_CN.pdf

For a Punjabi translation: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020_Punjabi-ST_Feb3_Coronavirus_Update_Feb3_1115.pdf

 

January 31, 2020 – School district and independent school updated messages:

  • The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus a global health emergency; however, the B.C. Provincial Health Officer is advising that the risk is low within British Columbia and all necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection.
  • The Ministry of Health has advised and confirmed that individuals returning from affected regions do not need to be isolated at home or kept home from school.
  • The Ministry of Education is in regular communication with the Ministry of Health, the Provincial Health Officer and local health authorities to learn of public health decisions and to ensure students and employees are kept informed and safe.
  • The Ministry of Education would ask that you do not make assumptions about the risk of students or staff based on their ethnicity or travel history.

 

Reducing the risk

The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends that to reduce the risk of exposure to novel coronavirus, individuals employ the same measures that are taken in relation to colds and flu:

  • Wash one’s hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water (it is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of infection).
  • Practice other good hygiene habits: do not touch one’s face/eyes/mouth with one’s hands and cover one’s mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of the elbow).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched workspace surfaces.
  • Maintain good general health (eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation).
  • Stay home if sick.
  • A new toll-free phone number (1-833-784-4397) has been established to answer questions from Canadians about the 2019 novel coronavirus. Service is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. until January 29 and from 7 a.m. to midnight starting January 30 (Eastern Standard Time).

 

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