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Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are reporting 509 new cases, including nine epi-linked cases, for a total of 60,117 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 4,604 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 349 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 68 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Currently, 7,132 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 53,115 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Since we last reported, we have had 101 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 260 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 13 in the Island Health region, 86 in the Interior Health region, 49 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

"To date, 75,914 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in B.C.

"There have been nine new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,047 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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uppernicola

The Upper Nicola Band has confirmed two positive cases of COVID-19 among its community.

In a letter posted to Upper Nicola’s Facebook Page written by Chief Harvey McLeod and Collette Sunday, EOC Director, the band said they received notice from the First Nations Health Authority on Thursday (Jan. 14).

The Interior Health Authority will be conducting contact tracing for the two cases and will contact anybody who needs to self-isolate.

“The virus is and can be very harmful depending on the health conditions of the individual. So, with COVID-19 I just ask that you respect that and do everything you can to ensure the virus is spread on, or the consequences may be pretty bad,” said Chief McLeod.

“Look at your loved ones and say I’m going to do everything I can to keep them safe and I will do my part. We are working really hard at the Emergency Operations Centre and with First Nations and Interior Health, to ensure that this comes and goes and doesn’t impact our community,” concluded McLeod. 

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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Merritt Flourish Under the Sun

The hot topic of snow removal was front and centre at the latest meeting of Merritt City Council.

The discussion spurred by a historic snowfall on December 21, was led by CAO Sean Smith and Public Works Superintendent Charlie Henderson.

“Where we fell short on December 21, that snowfall went over our capacity. The crew did a bang-up job, they worked night and day, but we couldn’t complete 24-hour coverage and that is where we fell short,” said Henderson.

During a nearly two-hour presentation from staff, the council was given nine potential options to improve snow clearing capacity.

The options ranged from purchasing new equipment and hiring additional staff to the use of contractors to supplement in-house crews during large snowfall events.

At the end of the evening, the council did not select any one option for the City, agreeing that the discussion should be held during budget deliberations.

“If we have unlimited money, we can solve all the problems, but I think where the discussion really needs to take place is at the budget table,” said Coun. Kurt Christopherson.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

 

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TNRD

In December, a presentation was made to the TNRD Board of Directors seeking support in banning commercial truck traffic from highway 5a, between Merritt and Kamloops.

“Highway 5A is ill-equipped to handle today’s transport vehicles. The roadbed itself was never designed for the weight of today’s big rigs, the annual maintenance costs are extremely high,” said Bob Price at the December meeting.

On Thursday, the Board voted in favour of deferring the motion to allow for further presentations regarding the proposal.

“I would hope that you take the opportunity to be apprised of all the facts before we jump into a decision on this. I think it's absolutely imperative that we should hear them, then decide whether or not to send a letter of support,” said Board Chair Ken Gillis.  

Mayor Linda Brown, who sits on the TNRD board as a director, spoke against the idea of banning truckers from the highway.

“I want to start by saying that I agree with the issues of highway safety, but I completely disagree with the solution,” said Brown. “Let's look at some of the issues, but let's look at all of the issues and the solution in my mind needs to be something other than banning the big trucks.”

 The proposal will be taken up again in March following presentations from CVSE and other stakeholders.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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Todd Stone

(Image Credit: CFJC Today)

KAMLOOPS — Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone sent a shockwave through his B.C. Liberal party Thursday (Jan. 14), bowing out of consideration for the party’s leadership.

Stone was a major contender in the 2017-18 leadership race to succeed Christy Clark, and was projected to be a front-runner in the contest to replace Andrew Wilkinson.

In a Facebook post, Stone says time spent with his family over the holidays convinced him of the importance of spending as much time at home as possible.

“While skiing with all three of my daughters over the recent holidays, I was struck by the reality that within the next few years, two of them may be off at university and that this period of our lives with all of us together at home is nearer the end than the beginning,” Stone wrote. “I realized at that moment – in my heart – that the right decision for me and my family is to not enter this leadership race.”

Stone thanks those who encouraged him to run for the leadership, including “friends, caucus colleagues, party members, and British Columbians”.

The interim leader of the party is Shirley Bond. Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar is serving as the party’s house leader.

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