BC health officials encouraged by social distancing effect on coronavirus

Mar 27 2020, 1:46 pm

On Friday, BC health officials released new modelling surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic that shows, among other things, the trajectory of growth in the province.

And for her part, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there is a “slight chance of optimism that the rate of growth has been impacted by the measures we’ve put in,” measures that include physical distancing and prohibiting large social gatherings.

And while BC is “not out of the woods by any means yet,” the province’s overall rate of coronavirus growth “is being impacted in a positive way by the measures we’ve adapted in the past few weeks.”

She noted that BC’s trajectory is currently lower compared to the rest of Canada, despite being exposed to coronavirus at an earlier point in time.

The province reached two cases per million people on March 4. Restrictive measures around travel, movement, gatherings, and schools were implemented between March 12 and 16. At this point, BC has 130 cases per million people and a 12% daily increase — almost half of what the trajectory would have been (215 cases per million or a 24% daily increase) had these measures not been put into place.

“It took a bit of time for them to sink in and for people to understand what we’re asking of them,” said Henry.

BC government

The incubation period for coronavirus is 14 days, so it’s expected to take several more days before health officials see the full effect of the restrictive measures.

Still, Henry believes that measures in place “are working, and I want to tell people that what you’re doing is making a difference and we need to keep it up for the coming weeks.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix echoed Henry’s sentiments, reminding British Columbians that now is not the time to think it’s okay to “do less,” simply because of some positive showings in the data.

“We must continue to follow these orders; this is absolutely crucial,” he added.