'Few faces and big spaces' in the days ahead, Dr. Henry says - InfoNews

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'Few faces and big spaces' in the days ahead, Dr. Henry says

B.C.'s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on COVID-19, Saturday, April 4, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of British Columbia
May 07, 2020 - 4:00 PM

“Let’s stand together in our pandemic, at least in spirit, while staying apart,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, May 7.

While much of the focus in the last day has been on re-opening the economy and expanding social circles, Dr. Henry said that taking precautions to ensure the virus doesn’t take off again remains a focus.

For the time being, British Columbians are expected to hold the course they’re on, and keep physical distancing, despite the fact that the lessening of restrictions is on the horizon.

“We asked you to please continue to stay at home if you can, as much as possible and to be respectful of those around you if you do go out,” Dr. Henry said.

It's still very much a necessity for all British Columbians to continue safe physical distancing, washing hands regularly and avoiding nonessential personal travel.

“Those things are things that will not change, even when we move to phase two in the coming days,” she said.

“We need to have a slow and thoughtful reset. We do not want to undo all that we have done.”

Dr. Henry acknowledged that people are looking for clear guidelines, and that those simply are not available because everyone’s situation is different.

“You may want to continue the measures that you're taking now, and looking to others to help support you in doing that,” she said. “You may need to keep your circle quite small in the coming days.”

As for businesses restarting, public health and WorkSafeBC are working with many different industry and sector associations and details particular to different business sectors will be available in the days ahead.

“The basic principles that we outlined yesterday and that I've outlined a number of times will apply across all sectors… but businesses will need to make decisions for themselves,” she said.

“So some restaurants and bars, for example, some hair salons, they may not open. Like every family, every business is also unique… (restarting) may be gradual.”

When asked about what the future holds in terms of a second wave, Dr. Henry said she is optimistic but history isn't supportive of that view.

“Maybe there won't be a second (wave), but every other pandemic in recorded history has had at least two waves, some more,” Dr. Henry said.

“Whether the second wave will be more severe than the first, whether there'll be a series of smaller waves, I don't know. I don't think anybody knows and there's a lot of theories around the world.”

Regardless, she said, British Columbians need to keep up with the "few faces and big spaces" way of life.

“And that means we can't expand our circles too much,” she said. “In the coming weeks and months, because we don't have immunity and nobody around the world has sufficient immunity to prevent transmission of this virus.”

Today there were 33 new cases who have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. raising the total to 2,288. Two more people who have died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of people who have died to 126.

That includes 865 people in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,064 in the Fraser Health region, 126 people in the Vancouver Island health region, 179 people in Interior Health and 54 in the Northern Health region.

B.C. continues to have active outbreaks in long-term care assisted living and a number of acute care units. There are  21 active outbreaks in those areas with an additional 11 cases identified, so that raises our total to 280 residents, or patients and 180 staff affected.

In B.C., 76 people are currently in hospital, and of those 20 are in critical care or ICU.

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