Spike in COVID-19 cases prompts reinstatement of some Provincial Health Orders ahead of Easter long weekend

A spike in COVID-19 cases in the province has health officials taking preemptive action in order to protect people.

“Rising case levels, variants of concern, increased transmission and an increase in more severe cases are huge concerns,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “B.C. public health officials are making the tough choices now to break the chain and protect our communities.”

On Mar. 29 the province’s latest case numbers showed an additional 805 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 98,156 with 87,866 recovered and 1,455 deaths.

On Vancouver Island there were 206 new cases during the week of Mar. 18 – 24; 17 cases on North Vancouver Island, 95 on Central Vancouver Island and 94 on Southern Vancouver Island.

On Mar. 29 the Minister of Health and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued the following updates to Provincial Health Orders:

Effective midnight, tonight, Mar. 30, 2021, new and amended orders and guidelines are in effect through April 19, 2021, and include:

  • For restaurants, bars and pubs, all food and liquor-serving premises must only provide take-out or delivery service. Dine-in service is prohibited, except for outdoor patios. People dining on patios should do so with their immediate household or core bubble.
  • Indoor, adult group fitness activities of any kind are also paused. Gyms and fitness centres are restricted to individual or one-on-one activities only i.e. one-on-one personal training.
  • The previously announced class variance for limited indoor worship services has been suspended. Outdoor worship services under the current variance may continue.
  • Travel continues to be limited to essential travel, work or medical reasons only. For those who have travelled outside their health region, if you or anyone in your family develops any signs of illness, you must stay home from work, school or daycare, and arrange to get tested immediately.
  • All workers are strongly encouraged to work from home, where possible.
  • Public health guidance for schools has also been amended to support and encourage students down to Grade 4 to wear masks while at school.

In addition, the PHO strongly recommends: Working from home whenever possible, unless it is essential to be in the workplace, keeping your child home from school if they feel sick or have any sign of illness and getting testing immediately if you or anyone in your family feels sick.

First Nations Health Authority states that as of early March 2021 all Nuu-chah-nulth Nations (communities) have received first dose vaccine. Second dose clinics were held for a number of communities that received vaccine in early January. Remaining community clinics will be aligned to the new schedule released by the Provincial Health Officer, which extended the timeline between first and second dose from 42 days to 16 weeks.

VI FNHA has been focusing on advocacy for whole of community approach (18 years+) for all Indigenous community members who reside outside of the confines of reservations/ treaty settlement lands.

“We continue to work in partnership to plan for Indigenous away from home clinics and support the broader mass immunization clinics to promote culturally safe access to vaccine,” said FNHA in an email. 

They assure people that there is strong evidence that the vaccine is safe and works for all adults–including seniors/Elders – and that it is highly effective across age, sex, race and ethnicity.

FNHA advises that it is important that everyone, including Indigenous people, continue to follow safety guidelines as set by the provincial government Ministry of Health, even after they have received a vaccination.

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