John Horgan (Canadian Press files)

John Horgan (Canadian Press files)

‘We’re not hiding anything,’ Horgan says of COVID-19 data

Local mayors jointly ask premier for ‘more detailed local COVID-19 data’

The provincial government has no plans to impose any lockdown measures specific to Surrey if COVID-19 cases continue to climb here because that kind of decision is the provincial health officer’s to make.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix described Surrey as “ground zero” for COVID-19 cases in B.C. Dix told a Zoom meeting hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade that of the province’s more than 6,000 active cases on Tuesday, roughly 75 per cent were in the Fraser Health region “with the largest share of those in Surrey.”

On Wednesday we asked if the government is contemplating special measures for Surrey, and Jen Holmwood, Premier Horgan’s deputy communications director and press secretary, furnished the Now-Leader with this response via email: “The BC Government doesn’t make decisions on “lockdowns”. Those are determined by the PHO.”

The email also noted that “Mayors have the authority to mandate mask wearing in facilities they operate or own, but not outside of that.”

READ ALSO: Horgan says return to lockdown measures possible if COVID-19 cases spike in B.C.

READ ALSO: Surrey ‘ground zero’ for COVID-19 but has seen less than half of B.C. deaths: Dix

READ ALSO: B.C. premier calls for national COVID-19 travel restrictions

Meantime, the mayors of Surrey, Delta, White Rock, the City of Langley and Township of Langley on Nov. 16 sent a joint letter to Horgan requesting that the provincial government release to them community-specific COVID-19 data.

“A better understanding of community transmission levels will help us make informed decisions regarding our facilities and the associated safety plans,” their letter reads, in part. “More detailed local COVID-19 data will also guide our decision making and resource allocation processes while working with local businesses and community organizations as they work to stay safe, open and economically viable. This data would also allow us to tailor our messaging, implement preventative measures, focus enforcement and work with the Fraser Health Authority on any appropriate measures.”

Horgan’s response to this, on a teleconference call with reporters on Wednesday, was that he welcomes “interventions and support from local government leaders and we will be reaching out to them to ensure that they will have all of the information they need to spread the message in their community. COVID is everywhere, it’s everywhere, and we need to adapt our behaviours to that simple truth. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Delta, or if you’re in Langley, or if you’re in Chilliwack, COVID is in the community so you need to act accordingly.”

“My message to the mayors is the same as to the citizens in Fraser Health,” Horgan said. “You need to amend your behavior, you need to reduce your social gatherings, you need to focus on staying distant from people you don’t know, and if you can’t do so, you must wear a mask, you should wear a mask.

“Suffice it to say that the data is fairly clear – COVID is everywhere in British Columbia. It is acute right now in Fraser Health, the numbers are there, unacceptably high and have been for the past two and a half weeks, so I say to the mayors and I say to the people of Fraser Health, we need to work together to amend our behaviour, to reduce the clusters and these clusters are coming from social gatherings, they’re not coming from workplaces.”

He rejected the idea his government is hiding information from the public.

“We’re not hiding anything,” he said. “First and foremost, we do not want to stigmatize individuals, we do not want to stigmatize communities or neighbourhoods. We want everyone to understand that we are all at risk.”

Horgan said his new cabinet will be sworn in “virtually” on Thursday, Nov. 26, and the government caucus on Tuesday, Nov. 24. He said British Columbians can expect a “short session” to begin on Dec. 7 with a “brief throne speech talking about, of course, the fundamental issues of how do we as a community, how do we as a province, address the challenges of COVID-19.”

The teleconference ended with the Now-Leader not being afforded a chance to directly ask Horgan a question.

– file by Amy Reid



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

CoronavirusSurrey

Just Posted

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Pier has reportedly been unused for a long time

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read