Health officials watching carefully as BC enters Phase 2 of reopening

May 19 2020, 12:48 pm

While BC has commenced with Phase 2 of its reopening plan, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said health officials will be keeping a close eye on how things develop and progress over the next couple of weeks in relation to the number of BC’s COVID-19 cases.

Henry has stressed that that the incubation period for the virus is 14 days, and as such, “it will take us the next 14 to 28 days to understand the impact of the measures that we’re taking.”

She was asked if the province has – or is making – alternate plans, should things go sideways and cases or outbreaks increase during this phase.

“We have put a proposal for the next phase, and the things that we’ll be considering in the next phase, but those are all contingent on watching what’s happening and talking about the need to go slow and be thoughtful,” she answered.

Now that a process is in place with WorkSafeBC and “public health [is] working together with different sectors in industry … we’ll be starting to look at how we can support the different groups that … will be coming in the next phase: Phase 3,” said Henry.

The exact timing of this, however, “has intentionally been left blank, because it will … depend on how things go in the coming two to four weeks,” she added.

Officials are planning for the possibility that things might not go as smoothly as they hope. “Yes, we’ll be planning for it, and yes, we’ll be adjusting for it, and adapting as we go forward and as we see what happens in terms of the spread of this virus,” said Henry.

BC’s top doctor was also asked if there is a threshold when it comes to the number of days it could take before she considers the province was too quick to reopen, and if she will draw back some of the reopening plans if that happens.

“I’m hopeful that our approach is not going to take us there, but the things we’re looking at are the number of cases that we’re seeing in the community, particularly numbers of new cases that aren’t easily linked to a chain of transmission that we know about,” she said.

And while the incubation period is up to 14 days, “for most people it’s between day five and seven days, so we’ve given ourself a little bit of leeway,” said Henry.

“We’ll be watching over the next week to two weeks, and then depending on what happens, we may need to extend this period.”