B.C.'s restart likely headed into next phase this week: Dr. Bonnie Henry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C.'s restart likely headed into next phase this week: Dr. Bonnie Henry

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix provide an update on COVID-19 to the media.
Image Credit: Province of British Columbia
June 28, 2021 - 4:44 PM

“Things are looking really good” for B.C. moving into the next stage of its restart later this week, crushing heat wave aside.

Case numbers continue to fall and vaccination rates are rising, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry explained, noting that it’s the same right across the province.

Starting with daily numbers, Dr. Henry said over the last three days there were 145 new cases across B.C., 57 from Friday to Saturday, 50 on Saturday to Sunday, and 38 in the last 24 hours. Of these 26 were in Interior Health.In all, that raises the provincial total number of cases to 147,549.

There are currently 107 people in hospital and 37 in intensive care.

There were also five deaths; two in Fraser Health, two in Interior Health and one in Northern health. Of these, one fatality was a person in their 20s and they were from Interior Health.

Vaccination rates also rose by 180,000-plus doses over the weekend meaning today 78.1% of adults in BC vaccinated and 76.8% of people 12 and older have had their first COVID -19 vaccine.

Also, 30.5% of all adults in B.C. and 28.5% of people 12 and older have received their second dose.

What Dr. Henry highlighted as an important benchmark was, however, the virus’s reproductive rate over time. 

“What we can see is we now have a sustained low reproductive rate,” she said. “That means that for most people who are infected, they are not passing this virus on to anybody else.”

That, Dr. Henry said, how the pandemic, will “fizzle out over time.”

As long as B.C. residents continue to not have infectious contact, do the things they need to do to prevent transmission, the province will move forward.

“When we have clusters of cases now, instead of that being spread widely, it is people who are known contacts of cases,” she said. “So when they become infected, they're already being isolated so in that way, they no longer pass it on to anyone else. And that's how we come out of this pandemic.”

The modelling shows that as the province opens up more and social interactions start to increase exponentially, there will be some cases, clusters and transmission in certain situations again.

“But it's not likely that we're going to see that rapid increase in spread in the community the way we did, even in March, and that's because we know we have a solid base of protection through immunization, and we have a strong public health program to follow up in each of the cases and clusters as they occur,” she said.

All this goes into the planning for the next phase of the open up. 

“We need to remember that this is predicated on us doing everything we can to get immunization rates as high as it can be,” she said. “That is what is going to get us through the summer and allow us to get our lives and back into have those connections that we need.”

These are also the things that will help B.C. keep relatively normal lives moving into fall, assuming that there aren’t setbacks with variants.

While B.C. hasn’t seen a massive uptick in the Delta variant — it currently represents about 12% of cases — the version of COVID-19 that has pushed the UK back in its journey out of the pandemic, Dr. Henry said it’s being watched closely.

“I’ve said this a number of times, you know these variants aren’t little spaceships of their own,” she said. “They are strains of the virus that are affecting people and we know the same measures we take to prevent transmission wok no matter which strain of the virus you’re inflective with.”

There is a much lower margin of error for the variants that spread quickly.

“Yes, some of the data from the UK shows that it is more transmissible but the jury is out on that a little bit, but where we are seeing the transmission, is in pockets of unvaccinated people,” she said. “And we saw that in the UK, it is mostly younger people which means it’s not the same impact on hospitalizations.”

Nor does it have the same impact on mortality rates, and that she said is important to note.

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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