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B.C. expands state of emergency, giving it more power to deal with COVID-19

Beefed-up enforcement measures expected


August 19, 2020
By The Canadian Press

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VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has extended its provincial state of emergency that gives it extraordinary powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first state of emergency was declared on March 18, the day after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared a public health emergency.

This latest extension will end on Sept. 1 and allows the government to manage immediate concerns, such as recent outbreaks in some areas of the province.

Premier John Horgan says B.C. residents have made sacrifices to keep transmission rates down, but now unsafe gatherings are eroding that progress.

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The province announced 83 new cases on Tuesday for a total of 4,677 cases since the pandemic began. No new deaths were reported, leaving the total number of fatalities at 198.

There are 775 active cases in B.C. and 2,326 people under monitoring because they have been exposed to someone who has been infected with COVID-19.

In a statement, Horgan says the government is committed to getting back on track and it will announce new enforcement measures against those who put others at risk.

“The vast majority of British Columbians are following Dr. Henry’s orders of seeing fewer faces in bigger spaces, but we all have to remain committed to flattening the curve,” he said.

COVID-19 infection rates have jumped after parties were held where health officials say people haven’t followed guidelines to avoid infection.