BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau delivers her speech after being re-elected during a press conference at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau delivers her speech after being re-elected during a press conference at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. Greens call for a ‘targeted shutdown’ strategy, more COVID data as cases remain high

The party is also calling on the government to expand asymptomatic and rapid testing

As the third wave continues to surge through the province, B.C. Green Caucus is calling on the province to tighten rules once again.

The caucus released a series of recommendations Thursday (April 8) broken down into three categories. While B.C. is currently in the middle of a three-week “circuit breaker,” the Greens don’t believe that measure will do enough. COVID cases in B.C. have teetered around the 1,000 mark for days now, setting records for the entire pandemic.

The Greens are calling on the province to bring in a “clear and targeted shutdown strategy” for three weeks, on top of the circuit breaker measures. Currently, all indoor group fitness, indoor worship services and indoor dining in banned in B.C.

The Greens want the province to enforce non-essential travel restrictions, move school online for most students and provide more support to enable non-essential businesses to close.

The Greens are also calling on B.C. to resume daily COVID briefings, which have been reduced to twice weekly for months now, release data on weekends, extend media availabilities and use new way to target demographics that have not been following COVID rules.

The party is also calling on the government to expand asymptomatic and rapid testing in workplaces, schools, businesses and neighbourhoods, improve variants of concern and speed up vaccination efforts.

A recent preprint paper done by BC Centre for Disease Control scientists showed that publicly reported figures of variants of concern are lower than those captured by the PCR test. Scientists said they believed variants make up about 40 per cent of total cases, not the 20 or so per cent that health officials have publicly acknowledged.

Teachers’ union presidents in B.C.’s hardest hit Fraser Health region have called for a move to hybrid classes as well as more vaccines for teachers. BCCDC data shows that cases among children under the age of 15 have reached their highest rate since the pandemic began. Cases among teens aged 15 to 19 are also on the rise, with cases the week of March 21-27 rising from 86 to 138 per 100,000.

B.C. health officials are expected to provide an update on the province’s COVID-19 situation on Thursday afternoon.

READ MORE: Experts say COVID variants likely make up 40% of B.C.’s cases, double what officials have disclosed

READ MORE: Teachers’ union calls for Fraser Health K-3 mask mandate, more vaccines as cases rise in youths


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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