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COVID-19 update: B.C. formally extends provincial state of emergency again

B.C. is already in the longest state of emergency in provincial history.
The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency for another two weeks. 

The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency for another two weeks. 

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 COVID-19 pandemic response.

Already in its longest state of emergency to date, the extension will continue until at least March 16. At this time, the Province will consider the recommendations of B.C.'s health and emergency management officials on whether to extend it again. 

The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency.

“Vaccines have already saved the lives of some of our most vulnerable, and yesterday we announced the next phase,” said Premier John Horgan.

“Every single day we’re making progress, thanks to the hard work of public health experts, front-line health-care workers, essential workers and British Columbians who are committed to doing their part to keep us all safe. We’re going to get through this together.”

Related Measures Act 

“We need to keep following public health orders so we can all get through this next period safely until more vaccines are ready,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “In the meantime, orders will continue to be enforced for those who refuse to do their part and risk undoing the progress we’ve made so far.”

The Province continues, with the support of police and other enforcement officials, to use measures under the EPA to limit the spread of COVID-19, including issuing tickets to 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.

Today, health officials announced 438 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and two new deaths in the past 24 hours. 

So far, B.C. has administered 283,182 doses of vaccine to 196,650 individuals, with 86,532 people being fully vaccinated with their needed second doses.

--With a file from Glen Korstrom.