(The Canadian Press)

B.C. health officials pleased with likely extension of Canada-U.S. border closure

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the situation is ‘very serious in the United States’

Health officials in B.C. say they’re pleased the Canada-U.S. border is expected to remain closed to non-essential travel until at least late August.

However, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said B.C. residents should not be quick to judge anyone driving a vehicle with an American licence plate because some Canadians living south of the border may have returned to care for family.

Henry said it’s not surprising anyone in that situation would be coming to B.C. given the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the United States, but it’s important they quarantine themselves for 14 days to prevent any risk of transmitting the virus.

“I’m happy it’s going till August and we’ll need to, of course, make sure that we watch carefully and monitor what’s going on,” Henry said Tuesday of the expected fourth extension of the border closure.

“We’ll need to look at people like students who contribute to our research programs and our universities,” she said of possible considerations involving those allowed across the border, provided anyone who becomes ill in B.C. is monitored.

However, she said there shouldn’t be any changes for tourists and short-term visitors.

Health Minister Adrian Dix echoed Henry’s sentiments, adding the situation is “very serious in the United States” as well as in other countries, meaning anyone coming to B.C. from those areas could put residents at risk.

Henry announced 13 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number diagnosed to 3,128. That was followed by 62 cases announced on Monday over a three-day period.

She said the recent rise in cases is due to more people socializing when they need to recommit to the basics of keeping transmission low, including washing hands and gathering in small numbers.

“This is what is going to get us through the next year,” she said, adding she’s spoken with restaurant owners and employees who say some people are arriving in groups of 20, which would increase the risk of the virus spreading.

“People need to be on their best behaviour,” she said. “It’s for your safety as well as the people who work there.”

Anyone concerned about the high number of visitors to bars or restaurants should contact public health officials, Henry said.

The number of positive COVID-19 tests linked to an outbreak in Kelowna has grown to 17, she said, referring to activities linked to events that occurred in Kelowna’s waterfront district between June 25 and July 9.

Those are in addition to seven people who visited the city earlier this month and later tested positive for COVID-19, triggering the health authority’s alert.

Dix has said possible exposures that occurred in the waterfront district are believed to stem from private parties held around Canada Day.

That has prompted a statement from Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran urging visitors to respect Henry’s advice and use appropriate “travel manners.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

No new COVID-19 cases for the first time in weeks: Interior Health

Hospitalization also down to zero across the region

Chase RCMP seek information for decade-long missing person investigation

Shayne Murray Robinson’s truck was found abandoned by the Barriere RCMP detachment in 2010

Clearwater and Barriere welcome new reverend

Clearwater and Barriere have a new reverend, Bruce Chalmers, who will do… Continue reading

District of Barriere Utilities Manager reports to council on Barriere wells

District of Barriere Utilities Manager Ian Crosson presented a verbal report during… Continue reading

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Most Read