With hundreds of British Columbians hospitalized with COVID-19 infections last week, the province formally extended its state of emergency until the end of day on April 27. File photo

B.C. extends state of emergency to April 27

On Dec. 16, 2020, enforcement measures were expanded in the Province of BC

With hundreds of British Columbians hospitalized with COVID-19 infections last week, the province formally extended its state of emergency until the end of day on April 27.

The extension allows health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the province’s pandemic response.

“Public health orders are in place to keep us safe so we can eventually loosen restrictions and return to a more normal life,” said Minister Mike Farnworth in the April 13 release. “If people want to get back to travelling, gathering and doing all those things we’ve been missing for so long, we all have to follow the orders and guidance.”

On Friday, the province reported 1,005 cases for a total of 117,080 COVID cases in B.C.

Of the total cases, as of press time on Monday, there are 10,081 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 15,877 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.

Of the active cases, 425 individuals were hospitalized with the virus, 127 of those patients in intensive care.

The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials. The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), declared a public health emergency.

With support of police and other enforcement officials, the province uses measures under the EPA to limit the spread of COVID-19, including issuing tickets for owners, operators and event organizers who host an event or gathering contravening the PHO’s orders.

On July 10, 2020, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force, enabling provisions created for citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed should the provincial state of emergency end.

On Nov. 24, 2020, a mask enforcement order was introduced under the EPA, requiring masks for people over the age of 12 in public indoor settings, unless they are exempt.

On Dec. 16, 2020, enforcement measures were expanded.

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