The COVID-19 situation in British Columbia is continually evolving. The information below is current as of 3 p.m. on March 19, 2020. These updates will be issued daily for the remainder of the week.
- Total confirmed cases in B.C.: 271
- New cases since March 18, 2020: 40
- Hospitalized cases: 17
- Intensive care: 9
- Deaths: 8
- Recovered: 5
Confirmed cases by region:
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 152
- Fraser Health: 81
- Island Health: 22
- Interior Health: 12
- Northern Health: 4
- At least 17,000 British Columbians have been tested.
- At least 50,000 Canadians have been tested.
- Testing is available for all who need it, but not everyone requires a test.
- If you have no symptoms, mild symptoms or you are a returning traveller self-isolating at home, you do not require a test.
- For each of these situations, the public health advice remains the same, regardless of test results: self-isolate for 14 days to monitor for the development of symptoms or until your symptoms are completely gone.
- Those who have severe illness, require hospitalization, are residents of long-term care facilities or are health-care workers will continue to be tested.
- Anyone part of an active investigation or outbreak cluster will be tested so they can be appropriately monitored.
- If symptoms appear, call your health-care provider or 811 for guidance.
Provincial advice and measures
- NEW: Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, clarifies direction on social distancing relating to going outside:
- It is safe to go outside to get fresh air, walk pets, ride a bike and exercise while maintaining safe social distances.
- NEW: The B.C. government is waiving the Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage wait period for people moving back to B.C. from COVID-19 impacted areas. In addition, the B.C. government is planning to provide health coverage to British Columbians who are out of province and unable to return: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/bc-residents
- NEW: Rear door, fare-free boarding on all BC Transit, TransLink buses: https://www.bctransit.com/victoria/news?nid=1529708533639
- NEW: Resource for managing COIVD-19 related stress, anxiety and depression: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health-safety/covid19_stressmanagement_5_accessible.pdf
- NEW: WorkSafeBC resources available for employers and workers: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/covid-19-updates
- NEW: BC Housing temporary eviction moratorium and rent-adjustment notification: https://www.bchousing.org/publications/Covid-19-Bulletin-for-Housing-Providers-Eviction-and-Rent-Adjustment-Notification-March-18th-2020.pdf
- A provincial state of emergency has been declared: https://news.gov.bc.ca/21826
- A new website has been launched for non-health related information and services:
- BC Ferries is reducing food and retail services to minimal levels on board ships and at our terminals effective March 18, 2020:
- Henry has reminded employers that they must excuse workers for sickness without requiring a doctor’s note.
- Henry has issued an order providing criteria for exempting essential service workers from self-isolation protocols:
- There are no plans to close BC Liquor Stores. On the advice of the provincial health officer, cash transactions are acceptable during this pandemic.
- Henry has issued a class order addressing mass gatherings:
- A public health emergency has been declared.
- The B.C. government is suspending K-12 learning in all classrooms. A decision on when and how to return will be made in partnership with school districts and independent schools.
- Businesses with liquor primary licenses (bars, pubs, night clubs, etc.) are ordered to close.
- Restaurants and cafes that cannot maintain social distancing of one to two metres between patrons must move to take-out and delivery models.
- An online self-assessment tool to help to determine further assessment needs or testing related to COVID available online: www.bccdc.ca
- Henry has issued the following order for travellers:
- The B.C. government will make changes to the Employment Standards Act to protect workers and prevent layoffs.
- BC Ferries will allow customers to remain in their vehicles on the enclosed car deck.
- On March 16, Henry announced new measures related to mass gatherings:
- Measures related to hospital operations, long-term care facilities, casinos and gatherings over 50 people have been announced:
- There is no need to stockpile. Be measured and show moderation when purchasing food and household goods. There is no shortage of goods in Canada.
Public health emergency
- Under a provincial health emergency, a provincial health officer among other emergency powers, may:
- do orally what must otherwise be done in writing;
- serve an order in any manner;
- act in a shorter or longer time period than is otherwise required; and
- compel any peace officer to enforce an order.
- Provincial health officer's order for travellers:
- On March 17, 2020, the federal government announced new measures relating to travel, including:
- closure of the Canada-U.S. border to all non-essential traffic, likely coming into effect by the weekend.
- On March 16, 2020, the federal government announced new measures relating to travel, including:
- banning entry of all foreign nationals by air travel from all countries;
- consolidating international inbound flights to four major hubs only, including Vancouver International Airport (YVR);
- preventing symptomatic passengers from boarding a plane to Canada;
- strengthening in-flight medical procedures and medical screening immediately upon landing, with enhanced cleaning and disinfection at airports;
- support for impacted Canadians abroad; and
- 14-day self-isolation for all arrivals except for essential work.
- Global Affairs Canada has set up an emergency loan program for people abroad attempting to return to Canada.
- Public health officials require anyone arriving in B.C. from a foreign country to self-isolate for 14 days, staying away from work or school. Guidance for self-isolation is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website:
- Cruise ship season is delayed until July 1, 2020 (vessels with more than 500 people).
Media availability schedule
Upcoming scheduled media availabilities with Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Henry will be held:
Friday, March 20, 2020 – 3 p.m., Vancouver
Saturday, March 21, 2020 – 3 p.m., Vancouver
- Help flatten the curve by checking symptoms online: https://covid19.thrive.health/
- If you or a family member have symptoms or need medical advice, call 811.
- For the most up-to-date health information on the #COVID19 outbreak follow the BCCDC on Twitter at @CDCofBC or visit: www.bccdc.ca
- For up-to-date non-health information, including the latest travel restrictions and provincial and federal programs, call 1 888 COVID-19 or visit: gov.bc.ca/covid19
- Latest COVID-19 updates and statements: https://news.gov.bc.ca/Search?q=COVID-19
- Latest orders and directives from the provincial health officer can be found online:
For non-medical information relating to COVID-19, call: 1 888 COVID-19
For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, including for employers, businesses, schools and those planning events of less than 50 people, visit:
For common questions about COVID-19 and terminology, visit:
For the COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and planning materials, visit:
For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BCCDC on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/