Evacuation orders have been issued by the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen due to a “rapidly moving” wildfire less than 10 kilometres north of the city of Osoyoos posing “immediate danger to life and safety.” The town of Oliver is also under evacuation alert. The Inkaneep Creek wildfire was sparked Monday afternoon, and had spread to 700 hectares by Monday night. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen says a state of local emergency has been declared by the Osoyoos Indian Band. About 200 properties are covered by the order, and social media posts from the regional district say that search and rescue crews along with RCMP are “conducting tactical evacuations.” An additional 60 properties between Osoyoos and Oliver have also been ordered to evacuate, the regional district noting the fire is “moving rapidly north into the Regional District boundary.” The district has also issued an evacuation alert for the town of Oliver “for lands within the boundary of the town.” By 9:45 p.m. it had grown to 700 hectares. The mayor of nearby Oliver, Martin Johansen told NEWS 1130 early Monday evening that he was anxiously watching to see if the fire will move toward his town and prompt evacuation orders for residents.

 

 

Canada’s federal government updated its border measures on Monday announcing that fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents from the U.S. will be allowed to enter the country as of August 9. All other fully vaccinated international travellers will be allowed to enter Canada starting September 7, on the condition the country’s COVID-19 case counts remain low and vaccination rates keep trending in a positive direction. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who said he spoke with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday, said the U.S. has not yet indicated any plan to change current restrictions at the land border. Canadians are able to fly into the U.S. with a negative COVID-19 test. The feds say to be fully vaccinated, incoming travellers must be immunized with a Health Canada-approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to arriving in the country. Proof of vaccination has to be uploaded to the “ArriveCAN” app and all travellers still have to provide a quarantine plan just in case. Unvaccinated individuals will not be allowed to enter Canada through non-essential trips. If someone or a group is considered essential, they must quarantine for 14 days (two weeks). Pre-arrival testing is still in place, the feds say, but as of August 9, mandatory post-arrival testing for fully vaccinated travellers will be scrapped in favour of a random testing process. Canada’s hotel quarantine system will be scrapped for all travellers on August 9. Starting August 9, in addition to Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, five more airports will begin accepting international travellers. They include:

  • Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
  • Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport
  • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airpor
  • Edmonton International Airport

The current Canada-U.S. border restrictions are set to expire on Wednesday but will be rolled over until the new changes take effect on August 9. Canada’s borders have been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020.

 

Smoke and flames could be seen for kilometres as crews battled a fire in Surrey’s Whalley neighbourhood early Monday morning. The St. George Coptic Orthodox Church, in the area of 108 Avenue and 138 Street, was completely destroyed after flames broke out around 3:30 a.m. Surrey RCMP confirmed Monday that they are treating the fire as suspicious and are investigating if the fire is related to an arson incident that happened a week earlier. On July 14, RCMP said a female suspect lit items on fire in front of the door to the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church, and then left the area. She was captured on surveillance video just after 2:30 a.m. and police have not yet found this person. RCMP released a photo of the woman and are appealing for any information. She’s described as white, 5’7” tall, with a heavy-set build and dark hair. She was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a black tank top, black tights with a flower print, and black flip flops. The fire did not spread to any neighbouring properties. He says the church played a big role in many people’s lives, including his own. With a congregation of about 400 families, Elmasry says he’s not sure what the next steps will be, noting it will likely cost a lot of money to rebuild.

 

 

British Columbia is expected to name the newly appointment First Nations liaisons who are supporting its residential school response. Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister Murray Rankin is scheduled to introduce the liaisons and provide more details on the province’s 12-million-dollar residential schools response fund early this afternoon. The government has previously said the fund will support investigative work at former residential school sites and fund programs that support those experiencing trauma following the discovery of remains. Several First Nations in B-C and Saskatchewan have said ground-penetrating radar has identified what are believed to be the remains of hundreds of children in unmarked graves on former school grounds.

The B-C Hotel Association says a serious workforce shortage is adding to the lack of accommodations available to wildfire evacuees, as some 300 blazes scorch the province. President and C-E-O Ingrid Jarrett says some hotels have taken blocks of rooms off the market because they don’t have the staff to clean them. She says the association is working with Emergency Management B-C to designate rooms for evacuees but there’s more availability in urban areas like the Lower Mainland. Ken Gillis, chairman of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, says finding accommodations for evacuees has been a “nightmare” and he had to direct the latest batch more than 100 kilometres away from their home community.
A B-C events producer says the news that Canada will soon start welcoming fully vaccinated tourists is what organizers needed to start planning again. The federal government announced yesterday the Canadian border will open to U-S travellers on August 9th and the rest of the world on September 7th. Paul Runnalls from Brandlive, which produces concerts and events
like the Celebration of Light, says it will take time for people to build confidence in travel, so things will likely start with a trickle, not a boom. He says Canadian performers will likely start touring late summer into fall and events will grow from there, building to what he expects will be the busiest year on record in 2022.

Young people living with serious mental illness will benefit from expanded early psychosis treatment and supports in B.C. As part of Budget 2021, the Government of B.C. is investing $53 million for early psychosis intervention over three years. This will expand existing programs and increase access to treatment for young people living with a mental illness, and their families.
This investment will expand capacity at 10 existing specialized programs by adding approximately 100 new full-time early psychosis care positions provincewide over the next three years. New care providers, including psychiatrists, nurses, case managers and peer support workers, will be connected to each of the 10 specialized programs, with outreach to rural and remote communities where appropriate.
“This is critical news that has the potential to make a life-changing difference for young people living with serious mental illness and their families,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “We know how important early intervention is to supporting youth and young people to thrive and reach their full potential. By funding early treatment for psychosis, our government is getting young people and their families the help they need sooner.”
Funding will be distributed through all regional health authorities. Currently, specialized early psychosis intervention services are available in Vancouver, Victoria, Prince George, the Interior region (Kamloops, East Kootenay, South Okanagan and Central Okanagan) and the Fraser region (Fraser North, South and East). Anyone can refer, including self-referral, and services can be accessed directly through the health authorities.

 

 

Today, Fraser Health is joining forces with TransLink and the Township of Langley to help increase vaccine coverage in our communities by deploying the Mobile Vaccine Bus, a specially-equipped transit bus that will stop in Aldergrove to provide people with COVID-19 vaccine. People getting immunized in Aldergrove will be served by TransLink’s air-conditioned Mobile Vaccine Bus, which will provide same-day COVID-19 immunizations to eligible people in a cool and comfortable location. The Mobile Vaccine Bus will be on-site at the location listed below during the noted times:

Tuesday, July 20
FreshCo – 27566 Fraser Highway, Aldergrove
12 pm to 4 pm
*same-day immunizations while vaccine lasts

On Wednesday, July 21, Fraser Health will hold an immunization clinic at Walmart in Chilliwack to provide same-day COVID-19 immunizations to eligible people. People attending the clinic, which will be held in partnership with the First Nations Health Authority, should look for the Fraser Health tents set up in the parking lot.

Wednesday, July 21
Walmart – 8249 Eagle Landing Parkway, Chilliwack
10 am to 4 pm
*same-day immunizations while vaccine lasts

All Fraser Health residents ages 12 and over are welcome at the above clinics, including those without personal health numbers and/or people who are not residents of B.C. While people needing first doses will be prioritized, if you qualify for your second dose (e.g., it has been eight weeks or more since your first dose) and the clinic has capacity, your name will be added to a virtual wait list. You will be texted to come back later that day to get your second dose if there is enough vaccine. While it remains critical that we continue following public health orders and guidance, receiving COVID-19 vaccine helps put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us. It brings us one-step closer to reconnecting with the people we care about, returning to the activities we enjoy while protecting our health system and helping businesses in our community return to normal operations. For more information about COVID-19, please visit fraserhealth.ca/COVID19.

 

 

BC health officials announced 76 new test-positive COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 148,563. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 692 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 50 individuals are currently hospitalized, 12 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. New and total active cases, broken down by health region, are as follows:

  • Fraser Health: 27 new cases, 182 total active cases
  • Vancouver Coastal Health: Nine new cases, 241 total active cases
  • Interior Health: 37 new cases, 207 total active cases
  • Northern Health: No new cases, 32 total active cases
  • Island Health: Three new cases, 22 total active cases
  • Outside of Canada: No new cases, eight total active cases

There have been no new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,763 deaths in British Columbia. To date, 80.6% of all eligible people 12 and over have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In total, 6,226,346 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in BC, 2,519,686 of which are second doses. 146,099 people who tested positive have now recovered.

 

 

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at the Holyrood Manor in Maple Ridge. On July 19, Fraser Health authority announced an outbreak at the long-term care facility, after three residents tested positive for COVID-19. All three residents are now in self-isolation at their homes in long-term care. Fraser Health said that they are now working with the facility to support the implementation of enhanced control measures. The health authority is also working with the facility to identify anyone who may have been exposed and is taking steps to protect the health of all staff, residents, and families. The health authority is now implementing several additional measures including supporting staffing levels to maintain resident care, restricting visitors throughout the facility, restricting staff and residents movement within the facility, putting in place enhanced cleaning and infection control measures, notifying all the residents, their families and staff and implementing a twice-a-day screening of all staff and residents.