A tentative agreement under the B.C. government's Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate has been reached between the members of the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA).
The mandate focuses on improving services for people and ensuring fair and affordable compensation.
The tentative agreement covers just over 45,000 teachers represented by the BCTF who deliver education to students in the province's 60 school districts.
Further details about the agreement will be available once the ratification processes for the teachers and the employer-members of BCPSEA have been completed.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
The Merritt RCMP are investigating two suspicious fires that occurred in Merritt overnight.
“The first fire occurred in the 1600 block of Canford Ave at approximately 7:00 pm. The fire damaged a cedar hedge and also caused some minor damage to the home. A male was taken into custody in relation to the incident a short distance away from the fire,” wrote Cpl. Brock Hedrick.
While the suspect from the first fire was still in custody, a second fire was reported downtown.
“The second fire occurred in a landscaped area of Spirit Square at approximately 11:30 pm, the fire was quickly extinguished by the Merritt Fire Dept. The fire was confined to a small area of vegetation. The caller to 911 spotted a male in the area at the time of the fire,” wrote Hedrick.
The investigation into both incidents is ongoing.
The Merritt RCMP are asking anyone with information in relation to either incident to call the Merritt RCMP at (250) 378-4262 or Crime Stoppers.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
Interior Health (IH) has identified a case of COVID-19 at the Save-On-Foods pharmacy in the Columbia Place Shopping Centre in Sahali.
Public Health routinely follows up with confirmed cases and close contacts directly to advise on self-isolation. As an additional precaution, Interior Health is asking those who visited this pharmacy on March 10, 13, 14, or from March 16 to 21 to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the time of their visit.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include the following:
As long as customers of the pharmacy remain healthy and do not develop symptoms, they can return to their routine activities 14 days after the date of their visit.
If customers develop respiratory symptoms they need to self-isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days from the time their symptoms develop and until symptoms resolve.
After identification of this case, the Save-On-Foods Pharmacy has taken measures to ensure the safety of their customers and staff, including screening staff daily for symptoms, enhanced cleaning, floor stickers to ensure physical distancing, and extra supplies of personal protective equipment for staff. The pharmacy has also ordered Plexiglas barriers for installation. Save-On-Foods has also undertaken enhanced cleaning throughout the store. Save-On-Foods and the pharmacy remain open.
Please note that community transmission of COVID-19 has been detected in communities across the Interior Health region. All communities should assume COVID-19 cases are present and take appropriate precautions.
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
"We are announcing 66 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 725 cases in British Columbia.
"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 359 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 241 are in the Fraser Health region, 52 are in the Vancouver Island Health region, 62 are in the Interior Health region and 11 are in the Northern Heath region.
"Nine long-term care homes in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health regions have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Public health officials are providing support to implement outbreak protocols.
"Provincial health officer orders for public and private health sector employers and long-term care facilities were issued today. These orders ensure employees work at only one facility to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
"One hundred and eighty-six patients with COVID-19 have recovered and no longer have isolation requirements.
"Additionally, of the total COVID-19 cases, 66 individuals are currently hospitalized, 26 of those are in intensive care, and the remaining people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"The Province continues to take steps to protect and support British Columbians during this pandemic.
"We need everyone to be 100% committed now, next week and next month."
Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest figures of COVID-19 in BC.
(Previous numbers in brackets)
New Cases – 66
Total Cases – 725 (659)
Patients in Hospital – 66 (64)
Patients in ICU – 26 (26)
Recovered – 183 (183)
New Deaths – 0
Totals Deaths – 14 (14)
Health region breakdown;
Vancouver Coastal – 359 (339)
Fraser –241 (218)
Island – 52 (47)
Interior – 62 (46)
Northern – 11 (9)
Dr. Bonnie Henry made one new public health order;
Health sector workers will now remain at one facility and not move around for the duration of the pandemic.
Dr. Henry also discussed the quarantine act and the measure announced by Premier John Horgan and Minister Mike Farnworth this morning.
More to come
Yesterday, Q101 reported that the Merritt RCMP was operating with 24-hour coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q101 has now learned that 24-hour police coverage is set to continue indefinitely, even after the COVID-19 pandemic concludes.
Merritt RCMP Sgt. Josh Roda joined Q101 to discuss the operational changes being made at the detachment to allow for the permanent switch.
“What we’ve gone to in Merritt is a ‘four watch system’, it’s very similar to what they run in large centres,” said Roda.
To accompany the change the detachment has been forced to collapse some of it’s plain-clothes and first nations unit to staff it.
“We will continue with 24-hour policing, we’re still short-staffed in Merritt, when those positions are filled, we’ll be able to continue this rotation,” added Roda.
The Sargent is confident that the positions will be filled in the coming months.
“Worst case scenario if they aren’t, there’s other scheduling that we can do to provide 24-hour policing,” said Roda.
The detachment was planning to a switch to 24-policing prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt