BC unlikely to implement region-specific COVID-19 restrictions: Henry

May 11 2021, 11:26 am

When it comes to COVID-19 measures and restrictions in the province, BC’s top doctor says it’s not very likely that they will take a regional approach.

During recent COVID-19 press conferences, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked about the likelihood of implementing specific measures and restrictions for different health regions.

The question was raised due to varying test positivity rates in different parts of the province.

bccdc epidemiology

COVID-19 test positivity rates in British Columbia between March 1, 2021, and May 10, 2021 (BCCDC COVID-19 Epidemiology App).

Island Health region, specifically, has had a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 2% to 3% since early May, which is the lowest of all health regions in BC.

bc epidemiology app

COVID-19 test positivity rates in British Columbia from May 1 to 10, 2021 (BCCDC COVID-19 Epidemiology App).

While Henry didn’t dismiss the possibility completely, she stressed that BC has tried a regional approach before and has found little success. When infection rates go up in the Lower Mainland, she says, it’s “almost inevitable” that rates go up in other places too.

“We’ve tried a regional approach before, and it has not been successful,” she said. “We’ve seen that this virus spreads pretty widely and pretty quickly and there’s a lot of connectivity around the province, despite us trying to reduce travel.”

Henry says she expects BC to continue through the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic together, adding that the province hasn’t reached the point of widespread immunity.

“A consistent approach has worked for us and will continue to work for us. If we learn new things and if we get to a place where there is evidence that supports doing things differently in different communities, we will continue to look at that. But right now, I think we can expect to go through this next phase together as we have for this last year and a bit.”

On Monday, health officials announced 1,759 new test-positive COVID-19 cases in BC since Friday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 136,100. To date, 2,159,103 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province, and of these, 106,058 are second doses.

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