As B.C. prepares to move to the next phase of its COVID-19 pandemic recovery, with limited travel for vacations and visits, the signs are positive that infection risk can be contained, Dr. Bonnie Henry says.
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix presented their latest disease modelling June 23, as Premier John Horgan is expected to announce the return of non-essential travel within the province this week. The reopening of businesses, parks and other activities has taken place without a spike in B.C. cases and it can be broadened if everyone does it carefully, Henry said.
“We are increasing our contacts but we’re not seeing a dramatic increase in the number of hospitalizations or numbers of people in intensive care,” Henry told reporters in a briefing. “So it tells us that our contacts are being done in a safe way for the most part.”
A graph released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows the range of possible results of further reopening. Henry noted that it is not a projection, but a set of possibilities depending on how well people take the same precautions while travelling and interacting that they do when close to home.
“We do need to be mindful that if we go to far, too quickly, without having our safe interactions and contacts, we could see a rapid rebound in new cases, and that’s of course what we’re trying to prevent,” Henry said.
Dix said B.C.’s success in controlling the spread of COVID-19 is based on fast and effective contact tracing of people who have tested positive, and on maintaining physical distance precautions.
“It shows us once again that physical distancing saves lives,” Dix said.