Masks to be worn in B.C. health facilities as flu and COVID cases increase

VANCOUVER — An upward trend in flu and COVID-19 cases in British Columbia has prompted a renewed requirement to wear masks in all health-care facilities.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the masks must be worn by all health-care workers, volunteers and visitors in patient-care areas starting Oct. 3.

New flu and COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive soon, and Henry says priority populations, such as seniors, Indigenous Peoples and those who are pregnant, will be asked to book appointments starting Oct. 10.

Henry says studies have shown that the updated vaccines offer good protection from the latest COVID-19 variants circulating in the community now.

The government says respiratory illness season can place added pressure on hospitals and plans are in place to add hospital beds and accelerate patient flow as needed.

Henry says while they are seeing an increase in COVID-19, flu and other respiratory infections, she wants people to go back to their habits of covering their cough, washing hands regularly, wearing masks and staying home when sick.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2023.

The Canadian Press