New health rules for forestry

April 24, 2020

By: The Working Forest Staff

B.C., Prince George Citizen — Two new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the Northern Health area on Thursday, and one additional patient was hospitalized and in critical care.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry announced 29 new cases of the disease across B.C., bringing the total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 1,824. A total of 103 people were hospitalized across B.C., including 44 in critical care.

Three of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients were in the Northern Health region, Health Minister Adrian Dix said. All three are in critical care, according to data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

On Wednesday only two people – both in critical care – were hospitalized for COVID-19 in northern B.C.

“We’ve had another community outbreak in the Superior Poultry plant in Coquitlam. Two cases have been identified so far, but there is an ongoing investigation by Fraser Health,” Henry said. “This is a sister plant to the United Poultry plant where we had an outbreak earlier this week. There was some people working in both places, or moving between both places.”

Four additional people died from COVID-19 in the province on Thursday, bringing the total death toll of the pandemic in the province to 94. As of Thursday, there had been no deaths in the Northern Health region linked to the disease.

As of Thursday, 1,092 people in B.C. had fully recovered from COVID-19 including 33 people in the Northern Health region, according to B.C. CDC data.

Henry said her department has developed a new public health order applying to the forestry, natural resources, agriculture and aquaculture sectors that was expected to be released this week.

Henry said the order is based on the experiences and information gathered from essential industries operating in B.C. and observation of what is happening in other jurisdictions, including Alberta.

“We are taking those learnings and applying them as we go forward in British Columbia,” Henry said. “We’ve seen in places that had it relatively under control, it can rapidly explode again.”

It’s important to get people and the economy working again, Dix said, but it has to be done carefully.

“These are important changes and they reflect what we’re doing in British Columbia, using public health orders to allow people to work safely,” he said. “It requires responsibility on the part of employers and employees. We need to reboot B.C. without rebooting the virus.”

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