B.C.'s COVID-19 curve is turning up; top doc not looking at closing down province yet | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C.'s COVID-19 curve is turning up; top doc not looking at closing down province yet

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July 20, 2020 - 4:41 PM

B.C. proudly flattened its curve faster than anywhere in Canada, but it's starting to turn upward again and today, July 20, the province's top doctor said we're at a "tipping point."

While 102 cases have been recorded since Friday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said there are hundreds more who have come in contact with the disease in recent weeks. Many of those cases can be traced back to Canada Day weekend in Kelowna.

B.C. is now in the second incubation period of that event, and the second generation of transmission.

"They've gone back to where they live to either in Fraser (health) or Island (Health) or other places and some of them will get sick," she said.

"So we'll see more cases in the next couple of weeks. But the challenge — and what we can do — is stopping those people from exposing anybody else and that's where we are right now we are at a bit of a tipping point.... our curve is bending up."

B.C. already knows what to do to flatten it again.

That is make sure that if you are exposed you stay away from others until the incubation period is over and get tested.

"If you've been at one of these parties where you know people have been sick, it's OK, we will test you," she said.

COVID-19 exposures can be contained, she said, but people need to be aware of the threat it poses and take the appropriate preventative measures.

"We need to do that now because we know the more people get ill, the more chances even young people will have severe illness will end up in hospital, and unfortunately some people will die," she said.

The province is also looking at tightening up what it's doing

There are already COVID-19 safety plans and Dr. Henry said public health is working with the industry to see how to better make conditions safe.

This week she said there would likely be enhanced restrictions about bars and nightclubs, and they were looking at enhancing WorkSafe compliance checks.

An app that discreetly informs people they have been exposed is also in the works and public health is trying to make sure the mechanisms are in place so contact tracing is efficient.

While she was asked in multiple ways whether there would be a return to earlier phases of B.C.'s shutdown, she indicated she's not there yet.

"I believe it’s better for us to work and find ways of doing things safely rather than shutting things down because then we know that people will be going underground, hide things and be less likely to come forward with concerns, and we'll be having even more challenges and finding people."

From the very beginning, she said, the plan has been to gradually open things and to revise and adjust and put in place the measures that address the specific issues as they arise.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 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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