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There is no magic number to trigger more shutdowns in B.C.

Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Réka Gustafson Aug. 17, 2020.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government
November 02, 2020 - 4:14 PM

As B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload continues to surge, questions about what number will prompt health officials to flip the switch and roll out more shutdowns persist.

However, Dr. Réka Gustafson, deputy provincial health officer, explained at a media briefing today, Nov. 2, it's not going to happen like that.

“I would not say that there's a specific number. There's a number of things that we are monitoring all the time to understand the impact of the pandemic on our community,” Dr. Gustafson said, after announcing a three-day total of 1,120 new cases of COVID-19.

Health officials, she said, are monitoring the number of new diagnoses, how rapidly they are changing, whether or not contact tracers can identify where people were infected and follow up in a timely way.

It’s also contingent on the ability of health officials to continue to provide testing and control severe illness and minimizing deaths.

When there are surges, she said, there also may be new public health orders, such as last week’s limit of household-plus-six for household gatherings.

“This pandemic is something that we are managing with the tools in our toolbox,” she said. “So I would say that there isn't a single number, there is a team of public health professionals that are monitoring the epidemic, its impact on our population its impact on our healthcare system, and are also monitoring our ability to control it and respond.”

At this moment, she said, B.C. has a concerning number of new infections.

“At the moment hospitalizations are stable, the number of people in ICU remains stable and these numbers and these indicators are being monitored, all the time.”

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