Dr. Henry pleads with B.C. residents to not travel until COVID cases fall, more are vaccinated | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Dr. Henry pleads with B.C. residents to not travel until COVID cases fall, more are vaccinated

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions from reporters at a COVID-19 briefing in Victoria, April 15, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
April 22, 2021 - 3:13 PM

While the world won’t go back to a pre-COVID normal any time soon, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry expects significant change after the May long weekend.

For someone who is very articulate when it comes to explaining science, she admits her metaphors are not always up to the same standard.

“I butcher a number of metaphors here when I say, if the virus infects a tree in the forest and nobody goes to hospital, that’s where we need to be,” Dr. Henry said during a news briefing today, April 22.

What she means by that, she said, is the province needs to get to the point where most people are protected and the healthcare system can manage sporadic outbreaks before getting back to some more normal state.

With only about 30 per cent of B.C. residents being vaccinated so far the next five weeks, until after the May long weekend, are key to bringing down the case numbers and especially the number of people in hospital.

“Yes, there is a horizon out there and we can see it,” she said. “By the end of the May long weekend we’ll be in a different place and we’ll be able to start thinking about how we get our arts and culture and sport and other things going again because we have enough protection that we’re stopping transmission in the community and stopping those people who are most vulnerable from infection from getting sick.”

READ MORE: Periodic roadblocks but no individual stops planned for B.C.'s COVID-19 travel rules

That means staying home as much as possible over the next few weeks and not travelling in or out of highly infected areas, especially the Lower Mainland, she said.

She’s doesn't want B.C. residents to repeat past travel behaviours that have seen case numbers climb, especially after long weekends and school breaks.

Those 30 per cent who are vaccinated should still keep up their COVID layers of protection, Dr. Henry said, noting there are still outbreaks happening in places like long-term care homes where most residents are vaccinated.

“Right now, because we have so much transmission, especially with new highly transmissible variants in a lot of places, we all have to hold the course for a little bit longer,” she said. “Right now, we’re in that uncomfortable position of not having enough protection at a community level that we can let down our guard.”

That’s why travel restrictions are coming tomorrow, April 23, limiting people to non-essential travel within their own heath regions. Details of how those will be enforced will be announced by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

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