B.C. health minister says it would be easy for COVID-19 to reboot and spread | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. health minister says it would be easy for COVID-19 to reboot and spread

May 11, 2020 - 5:48 PM

VICTORIA - British Columbia reported fewer than two dozen cases of COVID-19 over 48 hours, but the provincial health minister cautions that it would still be easy for the new coronavirus to reboot.

Adrian Dix said during a news conference Monday that it's tempting to think that B.C. has made some advances against COVID-19.

The province reported 23 new cases of the virus since Saturday and another death. That raises the total cases in B.C. to 2,353 with 130 deaths. The number of people recovered from the virus is 1,719 and there are no new community outbreaks.

"We can't let up. In B.C., COVID-19 is not on the run. It's still here, it's still here in every health authority, looking for chances to take a greater hold again and we can't give it a chance," Dix warned.

"The risks are too high. Rebooting this virus now or a second wave later in the year will put all our surgical, social and economic renewal plans at risk."

The provincial government is allowing a partial reopening of the B.C. economy starting May 19, the day after the Victoria Day holiday.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged patience while inching towards the long weekend.

The Vancouver Parks Board said spaces will remain closed in the coming days as a result of a decrease in public compliance with physical distancing over the past weekend. Many residents got outside as temperatures soared into the mid-20s, breaking several heat records around the province.

Park board staff had tentatively planned to reopen lots at beaches and parks this week but will not proceed with that plan, it said in a news release.

Henry said the next week will be the beginning of Phase 2 of the reopening plan, but people need to be patient and calm, and take the time to think about how they are going to adapt to activities in what seems to be the new normal.

"A steady stream will be far more successful than a rushing river that can damage things in its path," she said.

"Be patient. That's my word for the day, patience."

She also said health officials are watching for a resurgence of the virus as economies around the world reopen in places like New Zealand, Norway and some of the Scandinavian countries, as well as Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

The parameters used around the 1918 flu pandemic cannot be applied to this novel coronavirus because it's not influenza, Henry said.

"So, we are learning as we go. And absolutely, we are watching Germany and they are very similar to the approach we are taking and there has been a slight increase and it has been a little bit hard to know exactly why."

Henry said the plans for B.C. to reopen are based on evidence they've gathered from around the world.

"There are ways that we can sustainably open up our economy, social connections, without tipping over into that place where we might get rapid increase in cases again."

— By Hina Alam in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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