B.C. needs 'patience' as economy restarts: Dr. Bonnie Henry - InfoNews

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B.C. needs 'patience' as economy restarts: Dr. Bonnie Henry

Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on COVID-19, Monday, May 11, 2020.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Province of B.C.
May 11, 2020 - 3:52 PM

COVID-19 is not on the run — it’s still here in every heath authority, looking for chances to take a greater hold again, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said today.

“We can't give it a chance, the risks are just too high, rebooting this virus now, or starting a second wave later in the year will put all our surgical, social and economic renewal plans at risk,” Dix said at a news conference today, May 11.

May long weekend is ahead, Dix said, and when it arrives people need to remember to maintain physical distancing, regular hand washing, avoiding gatherings and no travel unless it's essential.

“We are still right now in phase one and we still, all of us, have to act like it,” he said.

“Until Dr. Bonnie Henry tells us otherwise that means stay local, stay apart, stay safe. Let's stick with what works for B.C. Follow the rules, not the urge to bend them. The best place to be in B.C. is where you live.”

While provincial borders are open, and people will likely travel despite being discouraged from doing so, Dix said that the US/Canada border crossing won't happen in the near future. It is not something they expect to see open in the coming weeks, and Dix said he will be expressing this view to federal government officials later in the day.

During the news conference, both Dr. Henry and Dix were asked whether they had concerns that people were already bending the rules by flocking in large numbers to local areas.

In Vancouver, thousands of groups were issued warnings for outdoor gatherings and in the Okanagan there were countless community complaints as public spaces filled up.

They both, however, said they felt the vast majority of people had been respectful of physical distancing measures and that the supportive approach is working.

There are bylaw officers and others who can provide advice and warn people but B.C. is not taking a punitive approach. People understand that if they put loved ones at risk, it’s their families they are taking it back to.

“It’s the underlying approach we are taking and it’s working and it will continue to work for us,” she said.

While many are in a rush to get life back to normal Dr. Henry said that she wanted to remind B.C. residents that we are still in phase one and even the restart will require patience.

“You as an individual, as a family unit, a business, need to take the time you need to think about how you're going to adapt your activities to the new ways of operating in our province, to our new normal,” Dr. Henry said.

“I’ve heard from many who feel they'll be ready to go as soon as they're able to, and many others who want to take the time and look at their own individual circumstances, and that's OK. I think it is important for all of us to not feel rushed to make sure that we're doing what's best for our families, our communities, our businesses — a steady stream will be far more successful than a rushing river that can damage things in its path.”

British Columbians must encourage and support each other with patience, and with care, she said.

“We also have a number of outbreaks that are continuing both in our long-term care and in some of our acute-care facilities, and in the community,” she said.

“So this means COVID-19 has not gone away, it is still a risk to us in our communities and we need to strike that right balance between the easing of restrictions to make sure that our forward approach is safe, practical, and sustainable in the long term.”

Since Saturday, there were 23 new cases of COVID-19 and the total number of people who have tested positive since the pandemic rolled through is now at 2,353 people who have tested positive in British Columbia, 180 of which were in the Interior Health region.

B.C. has 634 active cases remaining in British Columbia right now and of those 66 are people who are in hospital and 18 of whom are in critical care or ICU.

There are also 1,719 people who are now fully recovered from COVID-19.

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