B.C. in for a rough COVID-19 ride over next couple weeks: Dr. Henry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. in for a rough COVID-19 ride over next couple weeks: Dr. Henry

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
April 01, 2021 - 5:09 PM

There are currently about 11,000 B.C. residents who have been exposed to COVID-19 and a good number of them are likely to get sick and, given current behaviour patterns, are likely to spread it to others.

That’s the dire forecast for the next couple of weeks that provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry delivered at the end of her news briefing today, April 1.

“What I’m hearing from my colleagues who are doing contact tracing and case management is that the numbers of contacts that individuals are having in risky contexts – so contacts where it can be transmitted – it has been going up,” Dr. Henry said. “We were, as you know, keeping our own with the actual infectious contacts staying fairly low and that has increased in the past 10 days and that’s why we’ve seen the spike so we’re not out of the wood by any means.

“There are 11,000 people that have been exposed. A proportion of those people, each day for the next two weeks, are going to contract this illness. The things we do today will prevent that next generation of cases so we are likely to be in for a rough ride for the next few days.”

READ MORE: 832 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.; 42 in Interior Health

Dr. Henry ordered the closure of indoor dining, along with Whistler and Blackcomb ski hills on Monday because young workers tended to be spreading the disease amongst themselves. There were also parties in places like a Big White restaurant that may lead to further spread.

Part of the problem is that there are variants of concern that spread more easily, infecting an increasing number of people who are then more likely to easily infect others.

There have been 90 variants of concern detected over the past two days. Eight are of the B.1.1.7 (U.K) variant and nine of the P.1 Brazilian variant. In all, there have been 2,643 cases of COVID-19 variants of concern in B.C.

Most of the variants are happening in people between the ages of 19 and 50. The P.1 Brazilian variant, which may be more resistant to vaccines, is hitting primarily those aged 19 to 39, Dr. Henry said.

People in those age groups are more likely to end up in hospital and, of those that do go to hospital, about one third who have the variant end up in intensive care.

“This is not the time for any of us to be travelling for leisure or vacation or getaways outside of our communities,” Dr. Henry said. “Travel is still very high risk for all of us. We take the risk from where we are coming and we take it home from where we have been.”

People should consider day trips and not overnight stays or, if they really need to get away, they could try camping at a local campsite, she suggested.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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