Taking temperature: April 8 COVID-19 update

BC Premier John Horgan announced that the province will be stepping up measures to ensure travellers returning to BC from abroad are self-isolating upon their return.

There are 45 new cases of COVID-19 and 5 new deaths from the virus in BC today, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 1,336. Of those cases, 615 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority region.

There are now 135 people in BC with the virus who are hospitalized and of those, 61 are in critical care.

Today BC Premier John Horgan announced that the province will be stepping up measures to ensure travelers returning to BC from abroad are self-isolating upon their return. Effective immediately, returning travelers must submit plans demonstrating they are able to effectively self-isolate for 14 days beginning as soon as they return home.

Travelers who lack adequate plans will be quarantined until they have adequate supports in place.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix applauded the announcement after having repeatedly expressed frustration that more was not being done at BC’s major ports of entry. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also welcomed the further provincial support for returning travelers.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced new changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program designed to make it easier for employers to hire young people. The changes include increasing the program’s wage subsidy and an extension to the end date for employment.

Also today, BC Parks announced that effective immediately, all provincial parks would be closed until further notice. Dix elaborated that the move comes in part to discourage inter-provincial travel over the holiday weekend.

In today’s provincial health briefing, Henry confirmed that the province is beginning to shift its testing strategy to test more broadly in the community. Part of that shift reflects an increase in the province’s testing capacity and also the fact that as the flu season wanes, people with symptoms of respiratory illness are more likely to be COVID-19-positive.

Echoing her concluding remarks over the past several days, Henry again stressed that while the epidemic curve appears to be flattening in BC, it was important for everyone to remain committed to physical distancing and other important public health measures.

“We are still watching what’s happening across the country and across the globe and it is no time for us to let up at all,” she said.

Stay up to date on UBC information related to COVID-19 by visiting ubyssey.ca/covid-19, the websites of the BCCDC, the Public Health Agency of Canada or the World Health Organization. The province has set up a dedicated COVID-19 phone line at 1-888-COVID19 or text at 1-888-268-4319. For updates on UBC’s response to COVID-19, visit ubc.ca/campus-notifications/