COVID-19: B.C cases rise to 725, more support for seniors, and national mandatory quarantine for travellers in effect

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      While British Columbia gave its daily update on COVID-19 cases in the province today, Canada’s mandatory quarantine for all travellers arriving in Canada came into effect and the provincial government also announced more support for seniors.

      B.C. update

      From Victoria, Dr. Bonnie Henry stated today (March 26) that there have been 66 new cases since yesterday’s update and that there are now 725 cases in the province.

      Of those cases, 359 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 241 in the Fraser Health region, 52 on Vancouver Island, 62 in the Interior Health region, and 11 in the Northern Health region.

      A total of 66 cases are in hospital (two more cases since yesterday) with 26 individuals in intensive care units.

      There are no new deaths and 186 people have now recovered.

      The number of affected care homes remains the same at nine.

      However, at North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley Care Centre, there are four more residents and three more healthcare workers who tested positive while at Vancouver’s Haro Park Care Centre in the West End, there are two more residents and one more staff member who have been infected.

      Dr. Henry made two orders on March 26 for public and private health-sector employers and longterm care facilities to ensure employees work at only one facility in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

      Meanwhile, the provincial government announced today that it is using its emergency powers to address issues of hoarding, the resale of essential goods, the coordination of distributing goods and services, and more. 

      Support for seniors

      The B.C. government also announced today that it is providing the United Way of the Lower Mainland with $50 million for supporting seniors at community service agencies across the province.

      The free BC211 information and referral service, which matches seniors with volunteers, is being expanded to B.C.’s Interior and northern regions with extended hours of service.

      Anyone who would like to volunteer to help seniors with basic needs (such as grocery shopping, pharmacy drop-offs, and check-ins) can contact the nonprofit organization.

      Mandatory quarantine for travellers

      Canada’s Minister of Health Patty Hajdu had previously made an emergency order under the Quarantine Act that as of midnight on March 25, any individual arriving in Canada from outside the nation must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not.

      The order will be enforced by the Canada Border Services Agency.

      Individuals who fail to comply can be fined up to $750,000 or imprisonment for six months, or both.

      Any individual who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while disobeying this regulation could be fined up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or both.

      The federal government will be conducting spot checks to verify compliance.

      Individuals who cross the border regularly for essential services or the delivery of goods and services are exempt.

      This new requirement came into effect just as the epicentre of the pandemic shifted from Europe to North America, as south of the Canadian border, the United States surged past both Italy and China to become the country with the most COVID-19 cases in the world today. 

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