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As B.C.'s restart picks up speed, don’t expect COVID to be gone from your life

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June 10, 2021 - 4:48 PM

More details about the next phase of B.C.’s Restart program will be announced on Monday as COVID-19 infection rates decline in the province.

Premier John Horgan with join provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry as they outline the easing of restrictions at a slow and gradual pace in the coming weeks.

It will start by allowing larger organized gatherings and movie theatres to open next week and move to allowing people to have more guests in their homes and casinos to reopen in July.

But, that doesn’t mean that COVID will just become a bad memory.

“We need to start gradually moving from having (public health) orders to having that guidance that we use on a day to day basis to keep ourselves safe,” Dr. Henry said during a news conference today, June 10. “We need to stay away from others if we’re feeling unwell in order to get back to this being learning to live with COVID.”

Dr. Henry is striving to get B.C.’s COVID numbers as low as possible by the fall, expecting there will be an upsurge in COVID and other viruses when influenza season hits again.

“We can expect there will be transmission next fall,” she said. “It’s yet to be seen if that transmission will be more like a bad influenza season or if it’s going to be mild.”

She expects we’re going to be living with COVID for years to come, especially as variants develop that may be more resistant to vaccines.

“This virus is going to be another one of those respiratory virus, for the next few years, that we’re going to have to pay attention to,” Dr. Henry said. “This virus is going to be with us, we know that, but it’s not going to be able to spread widely.”

Like influenza or other disease such as measles, there may be outbreaks but they will be manageable.

Provincial health officials will be taking a close look at safety measures that have been put in place for schools, long-term care homes and businesses to determine which can be removed and which make sense to keep in place.

Due to COVID safety measures over this past winter, there were no influenza outbreaks so some of the COVID health measures may be useful in preventing such viruses from spreading in the future.

And, of course, one of the keys in all of this is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, she said.

“The vaccines we have here in Canada are safe and effective,” Dr. Henry said. “One of the major side effects that they have is hope, optimism and a brighter future.”

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