Two care home residents die, second teacher tests positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

VICTORIA — A second teacher has tested positive for COVID-19 in British Columbia but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says no students were exposed.

Henry says officials planned for positive cases in the school system and acted quickly when the two cases were identified in the last few weeks.

The last day for in-class learning was Thursday.

Two more people have died in the province, both of them in long-term care facilities, bringing the death toll to 173.

There have been 20 new cases for a total of 2,669.

The B.C. government also announced that it is extending temporary layoff provisions until the end of August.

Labour Minister Harry Bains says the extension to a maximum of 24 weeks allows employers and employees to work out agreements during the pandemic while still protecting a worker's right to receive severance pay.

The government extended the period to 16 weeks last month, but employers and the Opposition Liberals have called for more time to help businesses facing bankruptcy and to align with the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Bains says the government heard from employers that the extension was needed.

Workers must involved in the agreement with their employer to extend the temporary layoff and have a right to decline and accept compensation instead, Bains says in a news release.

"Employers who are not able to return to full operations and need additional time can do so with agreement from their employees, but we expect those employees will be recalled when operations have resumed."

John Martin, the labour critic for the Opposition Liberals, says if the extension had not been granted thousands of people would have lost their jobs and many businesses would have gone bankrupt.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 25, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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