When it comes to easing COVID-19 restrictions in British Columbia, health officials say that few adjustments will take place over the coming months.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed expectations on Thursday afternoon after sharing the next steps in BC’s COVID-19 immunization plan.
“There’s going to be very little change in the next two months,” she said. “But the more people are immunized gets us that much closer.”
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In addition to being ahead of schedule in its age-based approach, the province will also be offering vaccinations to teachers, first responders, and other essential workers. Henry added that transmission of the virus can still occur and that the majority of British Columbians will need to be vaccinated before there’s a major change.
“We still have a lot of transmission of this virus in our communities,” she said. “We know it takes time for immunization to protect me as an individual; it takes several weeks before that protection goes up.”
“We also know that even when we have a group of people who are immunized, the virus can still transmit. What it does do really well is protect us from severe disease, hospitalizations, and thankfully from death.”
Henry’s announcement comes just one week after BC amended the provincial health order, allowing for outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people. It was also announced that outdoor religious gatherings are expected to be allowed in the province starting later this month.
“By June, if we’re able to deliver what we’re looking at delivering and we’re able to keep a third-wave from taking off, then we can look at some of those restrictions.”
When it comes to larger gatherings such as weddings, however, events of that size will likely need to wait until later summer and early fall.
“By the time we get to the summer, if we get through this program, we continue to have the immunization, we continue to keep stopping our transmission, then we’d be looking by the end of summer into the fall at being able to have some local gatherings again with larger numbers,” Henry added.