Too early to lift COVID-19 restrictions in BC: Dr. Henry

Feb 25 2021, 10:02 pm

When it comes to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in BC, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Thursday “we are not quite there yet.”

Henry made the comments during a press conference, where she noted that 395 new cases and 10 more virus-related deaths had been confirmed in the past 24 hours.

Right now, health officials are looking ahead to March, “to make sure we know when we can increase our social interactions in a limited way,” she said, noting the seven-day rolling average of cases has crept up recently after a previous downward trend.

“Officials are continuing to watch these indicators, and when we have confidence that they are slowing in a sustained way, that is when we’ll be able to ease restrictions,” she said.

Still, “there is potential for rapid growth, if we’re not careful.”

Asked what she’d like to see before deciding to lift restrictions, Henry said the decision revolves around the “risk in our communities.”

And with spring right around the corner, health officials need to understand if a seasonal decrease in infectivity will be seen, she added.

Overall, Henry said key factors include the reproductive number of the virus, BC’s seven-day rolling average, scenarios where transmission is taking place, “and our ability to do the contact tracing to manage those cases.”

Henry also did not offer any commitment around loosening restrictions by the time March break arrives.

For those who may be considering a potential trip during that time, “right now, we need to stay local, and we’ll be reassessing things as we move through the next few weeks,” she said. “We’ll be talking more about March break and what we need to do in the coming days.”

In the meantime, people should “think small [and] think local.”

Thursday’s 395 new coronavirus cases have brought the provincially recorded total to 78,673.

By specific health region, this equates to 86 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 207 in the Fraser Health region, 37 in the Island Health region, 24 in the Interior Health region, 41 in the Northern Health region, and one person who normally resides outside of Canada.

There are 4,489 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 228 individuals currently hospitalized, 62 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Currently, 7,931 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. BC’s death toll has now reached 1,348.

A total of 72,781 people who tested positive for COVID-19 have now recovered.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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