Horgan announces opening of new primary care centre in Victoria
VICTORIA -- B.C. Premier John Horgan has announced the opening date for a new urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) for Victoria.
The James Bay Urgent and Primary Care Centre will open April 28 at 547 Michigan Street. The facility will be the third UPCC on Vancouver Island, with centres already operating on the West Shore and in Nanaimo.
Horgan made the announcement while addressing the province at a COVID-19 update Wednesday.
At the briefing, the premier reviewed the measures B.C. has taken to combat the novel coronavirus over the past week, including new property tax relief announcements, new mental health programs for post-secondary students, new emergency resources for those with disabilities and the launch of a B.C. business hotline.
Horgan said that the province is also looking at how to phase in workplaces and return the economy back to normal levels over the coming weeks, but is still following recommendations by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“We are seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
“As we go forward, we need to adhere to the directives we’ve received from Dr. Henry and from B.C. health officials.”
When asked about when emergency benefits would reach British Columbians, Horgan said he expected cheques to be flowing by mid-May.
So far, “thousands” of rent supplement cheques have been mailed out, but Horgan acknowledged that there is “more to do.”
The premier said that internal retooling efforts are partly to blame for the delay in benefit releases.
“Retooling to provide services that we’ve never provided before” is holding up processes on both the provincial and federal levels, said Horgan.
Meanwhile, the premier said that provincial parks will remain closed until health officials advise otherwise, despite some regional parks remaining open.
Horgan said that the closure of provincial parks was related to Dr. Henry’s orders to minimize all non-essential travel, and was not based on concerns for physical distancing at the parks.
The premier added that it was still safe to use local parks, so long as people remained at least two metres apart from one another.
For now, the premier is calling for all British Columbians to continue following provincial health orders.
“I don’t want to say anything until we’re ready and I don’t want to give B.C. false hope for an early date [on easing restrictions],” said Horgan.
“What I know for sure is that British Columbians don’t want to give up the progress we’ve made by opening up early and putting us back on our heels.”