BCCDC updates guidance on how COVID-19 spreads

May 4 2021, 5:02 pm

The BC Centre forDisease Control (BCCDC) released updated information on Tuesday regarding how the COVID-19 virus spreads.

In a release, the BCCDC said COVID-19 is spread by the respiratory droplets an infected person produces when they breathe, cough, sneeze, talk, or sing. “If you are in contact with an infected person, the virus can enter your body if droplets get into your throat, nose, or eyes,” it added.

And information around the droplets themselves appears to be part of the overall update.

“Most COVID-19 infections are spread from one person to another through respiratory droplets,” the release said. “Droplets come in a wide range of sizes and they behave differently depending on their size.”

This is in contrast to previous guidance from the BCCDC, which stated “the majority of COVID-19 infections are spread from one person to another through larger droplets.”

In the previous – as well as current – guidance, the BCCDC said larger droplets are heavier, “and they usually fall to the ground within two meters. Smaller droplets, also known as aerosols, are lighter and they can float in the air for longer.”

Surface contact

Previously, BCCDC guidance said although COVID-19 can survive for hours or days on different surfaces, infections from contact with contaminated surfaces appears to be less common. “The most common type of spread is through larger droplets from close contact with an infected person.”

On Tuesday, this wording was amended to read “the most common type of spread is through contact with the respiratory droplets of an infected person.”

Ways You Can Reduce Transmission

The BCCDC guidance also once again contains guidance on methods for educing transmission of the virus. These methods include:

  • Get immunized with a COVID-19 vaccine when eligible;
  • Stay home if you are sick;
  • Limit the number of people you see outside of your immediate household and limit the time that you spend with them;
  • Practice physical distancing and avoid crowded areas;
  • Meet with others outdoors when possible;
  • Wear a well-fitted three-layer mask that covers your nose and mouth and goes under your chin when with people outside your immediate household;
  • Bring fresh air indoors by opening windows and doors, or using mechanical ventilation;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol;
  • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm or a tissue, discard tissues safely, and clean your hands after;
  • Avoid touching your face with unclean hands;
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by many people.

British Columbia health officials announced 697 new test-positive COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 132,353.

In a joint written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that broken down by health region, this equates to 142 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 456 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 19 in the Island Health region, 65 in the Interior Health region, 14 in the Northern Health region, and one new case of a person who resides outside of Canada.

There are 7,161 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 10,961 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.

Of the active cases, 486 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 173 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There has been one new COVID-19-related death, for a total of 1,597 deaths in British Columbia.

To date, 1,910,162 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in BC, 92,244 of which are second doses.

A total of 123,383 people who tested positive for the virus have now recovered.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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