B.C. Premier John Horgan is to announce next steps under the provincial state of emergency for COVID-19 this morning (March 26). (B.C. government file photo)

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

MARCH 26: 66 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., new resources for homebound seniors announced

Here’s the latest news for Surrey, White Rock and beyond for Thursday, March 26. This will be updated as information becomes available:

• Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, has announced 66 new cases of COVID-19 in the province in the past 24 hours.

• B.C. MLA offices and Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie have added resources to the 2-1-1 phone line and BC211 website.

• The shelves of some small-town grocery stores and pharmacies are being stripped by out-of-town residents.

• The B.C. government is offering clarity on what specific services are being considered an essential service in the province.

• Surrey’s fire department is feeling the strain – as is everyone else – on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provincial liquor stores in B.C. will be closing on Sundays, effective March 29, due to staffing and sanitizing challenges brought about by COVID-19.

• The City of Surrey has yet to say if it will be using bylaw officers to enforce social-distancing rules.

• West Fraser is shutting down its B.C. sawmills for the week of March 30, citing market conditions and government restrictions on movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black Press Media reporter Tyler Olsen shares a few hopeful “nuggets” to be gleaned from the pandemic.

• There may be an absence of sports around the Semiahmoo Peninsula these days, but local golfers still have a few options.

• Canada-wide Tragically Hip sing-along planned, as Canadians called to “sing from the rooftops” this evening (March 26).

• Premier John Horgan and Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, announced “unprecedented” steps under the provincial state of emergency for COVID-19 this morning (March 26), including the suspension of local states of emergency specific to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Canadians who need to take a leave from work for reasons related to COVID-19 will now be covered under federal medical leave supports.

• Schools are preparing to re-open next week, however, in-person instruction is suspended by order of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

• The off-season may have arrived for the Surrey Eagles quicker than planned, but the team isn’t wasting any time preparing for the next season.

Open burning restrictions have been issued across British Columbia’s high smoke sensitivity zones.

• Madeline Merlo will be live streaming a concert on Thursday to raise money for Food Banks Canada.

• Fraser Valley Regional Library is encouraging people to tune in, turn up the volume and join in a Facebook Live digital dance party featuring DJ Jovie J on Friday (March 27) from 2-4 p.m.

• At the same time every night, a group of Vancouver residents are taking time to applaud health-care workers.

• Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is expanding its insured mortgage purchase program to $150 billion as part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis.

• Amid tightening restrictions aimed at curbing the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s unrelenting climb in cases continued Thursday with the reported number of people known to be infected approaching 3,500, with 35 of those fatal.

• Peace Arch Hospital Foundation (PAHF) has launched a grant program to help local organizations and health-care employees who are “working diligently to aid our community.”

• Funeral homes, bereavement workers and religious leaders are facing difficult choices in light of COVID-19, which calls for social distancing and a maximum gathering of 50 people.

• Surrey Schools superintendent Jordan Tinney says ‘vast majority’ of district staff will be working from home.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

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