Social and physical distancing signs are pictured on the floors of various business throughout Vancouver and surrounding area are pictured between May 1-12th, 2020. As the city and the province of British Columbia start to rollout plans for certain businesses to open signs like these will be the new normal for the foreseeable future amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

As top doctor Dr. Bonnie Henry receives international attention for her efforts to fare the spread of COVID-19 among British Columbians, the provincial health officer is preparing for the likelihood of a second wave of the novel coronavirus in the fall.

Health officials have been tracking the spread of the contagious respiratory illness since early February, when the first case was confirmed in B.C. That data is today allowing Henry and her team of experts to prepare a number of contingency scenarios in case the virus resurges in the fall.

“The whole plan is making sure that we don’t ever have to go back to shutting everything down like we did in March,” Henry said during a news conference earlier this week.

ALSO READ: A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

British Columbia has been home to roughly 3,053 test-positive cases of COVID-19 with an 88 per cent recovery rate. A total of 187 people have died, many of those being seniors in long-term care facilities.

Across Canada, more than 107,300 people have contracted the disease with 8,773 of those losing their lives.

Over the past several months, Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix have provided monthly modeling and projections of the virus – oftentimes pulling data from countries with similar populations– to offer insight into possible outcomes from the various social contact restrictions set by the province.

Now, B.C. has enough in-province data to use, Henry said.

“We know so much now about being able to control these outbreaks and control the spread in the community that we won’t need to shut down all hospitals and that we won’t need to stop things like surgeries the way that we did in March.”

ALSO READ: Should a vaccine for COVID-19 be made mandatory in Canada, once it’s created?

Henry has warned British Columbians that pre-COVID normalcy in daily life will not return this summer, and likely not until there is a vaccine readily available. Meanwhile, many concerns remain among the most vulnerable populations – such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions – despite the province entering Phase 3 in its economic restart plan.

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts, proving the difficulty and unpredictability of containing spread among asymptomatic people, meaning those who are infected but don’t show symptoms.

As much as health officials work to flatten the curve, relying on the adherence of British Columbians, there is seasonality to respiratory viruses that may not be avoidable due to climatic conditions – in other words, the return of colder weather – starting in the fall.

Henry and Dix have said they will not hesitate to bring back restrictions that have since been lifted if transmission rates start increasing again.

ALSO READ: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Chilliwack city councillor’s breach of trust case resolved using ‘alternative measures’

Charges dropped against Sam Waddington who faced two counts from 2017 related to allegations

Adam Smith resigns as Sardis Falcons football head coach

Sukh Parmar takes over as Smith heads back to Manitoba to take care of his ailing mother

UBC soccer star Victory Shumbusho offers one-on-one training for Chilliwack players

The Chilliwack FC grad believes players need more training to reach higher levels of soccer

Wings and Wheels fundraiser ready to roll in Abbotsford this weekend

Unique collection of cars invading Tradex for drive-thru experiences on Saturday and Sunday

FoodMesh taking its emergency food recovery project nationwide

Pilot project in Chilliwack helped show that food surpluses could be diverted to charities in need

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Displaced tenant ‘heartbroken’ to find Langley City condo robbed after fire

Wedding rings of Michelle Buchan’s have since been recovered, but much is still missing

Canucks fan risks life to celebrate at Surrey intersection

‘All fun and games until somebody falls out an open side door of the van’

‘Agitated’ man pulls out knife on 3 people in Abbotsford

Witnesses sought for incident on Monday night near city hall

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Most Read