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Dr. Henry hints more COVID-19 restrictions might be coming

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January 26, 2021 - 8:00 AM

B.C.’s top doctor warned more restrictions may be on the way if COVID-19 case numbers don't start to fall.

“We have plateaued at about 500 new cases of COVID-19 a day — this is too many,” Dr.Bonnie Henry said yesterday, Jan. 25.

“This leaves us at a precipice — at the brink — where we can see rapid takeoff, particularly if we start to see any of these new variants starting to transmit in our community,” she said.

Dr. Henry said B.C. is at the threshold of where it was in late October and November, when cases started rapidly escalating. And, while the vaccine is here, there’s not enough of it yet.

“We will have more people severely ill,” she said. “When we have lots of people infected, even young people become severely ill and end up in hospital. We will have more of our family members, our community who are hospitalized, who need ICU care, and who will die from this virus. We will have more of our healthcare workers under strain and more restrictions will be needed to slow things down in our community.”

Or, she said, we can have fewer cases and some level of normalcy could resume.

“We are now into the second incubation period from our winter break (where people broke the rules),” she said. “Less is where we need to go and I need your help to get over the next two weeks. I believe we can bend our curve, not just plateau.”

Public health restrictions in our province are dependent on what we all do, she said. What she couldn’t say was what kind of restrictions would make a difference.

“We have tried very much to only restrict those areas and those places where we know transmission risk is greatest,” she said.

“So, we have, for example, restaurants, open for in-restaurant dining, but we have very strict restrictions on restaurants, bars and pubs around how many people (can go), there are barriers, mask-wearing and  (limited) hours of operation. The restaurant association will tell you that these are very stringent restrictions because we know that those are required to prevent transmission.”

She said the province also knows the important role that things like restaurants play in supporting people getting food into our communities.

“Same with retail — we have very strict restrictions,” she said.

Every business has a COVID safety plan and she said most have worked so long as nobody bends the rules, as was the case with night clubs or sports venues, which had restrictions enhanced.

“I can't tell you exactly what right now, but we need to all pay attention to the fact that we are in the second incubation period from a time where people took license to travel to places to be with others,” she said, reiterating a call for people to double down on their efforts to stay clear of the virus.

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