In an attempt to mitigate the impacts of the novel Coronavirus, the Provincial Government and provincial health officers have developed the British Columbia Pandemic Provincial Coordination Plan.
As the numbers of infected individuals rise, a pandemic response plan will be introduced by the Province to protect B.C. communities from the outbreak.
A deputy ministers’ committee has been appointed by Premier John Horgan to oversee an approach to implementing a plan that would involve the whole of the government. It will report directly to a new cabinet committee co-chaired by Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
“From the first day the world learned of this outbreak, B.C.’s public health officials have delivered the most robust response of any jurisdiction in this hemisphere. Through this co-ordination plan, we will ensure they have the support they need so we are prepared for all possibilities,” said Horgan.
The B.C. government said that the COVID-19 response plans will cover a wide range of actions meant to help residents, local governments, businesses and health-sector organizations to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak. It added that it hopes to minimize serious illness and economic disruption by containing and delaying the virus and preparing the province.
“The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve here in B.C., Canada and other countries in the world. We are at a critical point in the fight against the virus and we will ensure B.C.’s health system and population are ready for any scenario,” said Dix.
According to the Provincial Government, phase one of the plan is already underway, which aims to address identification and containment, with the priority being to delay the onset of widespread community transmission for as long as possible.
Phase two of the plan includes directing actions and resources as quickly as possible through cross-government coordination. It would also prepare the use of emergency powers set out in the Emergency Program Act and Public Health Act. The Province said that this part of the plan would attempt to ensure provincial business and service continuity, prioritizing protecting the population, vulnerable citizens, health workers, and supporting health-care capacity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic response plans and materials are developed in partnership with our experts at the BC Centre for Disease Control, based on our provincial influenza pandemic plans that all health authorities had implemented in 2012, as well as the lessons we had learned from H1N1 and SARS in the past,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer. “Thanks to the great efforts made by our public health leaders and health-care workers, we have kept the risk of COVID-19 spread low in B.C., but it is important for people, communities and organizations to build resiliency and have plans in place, not just for the possibility of a pandemic but emergency in general.”
Four of the Province’s 21 confirmed COVID-19 patients have fully recovered, according to the B.C. Government. One patient is currently in intensive care in Vancouver General Hospital, and all other patients are isolated at home with monitoring and support from public health-care teams.
The Province said that as of Friday, March 6th, the BC Centre for Disease Control has tested 2,802 samples from 2,008 people.
More: Novel Coronavirus (BCCDC)