New York Times recognizes Dr. Bonnie Henry for her work during pandemic

Jun 5 2020, 2:25 pm

She’s already a familiar face to British Columbians amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and now Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is being recognized internationally for her work, after The New York Times published a profile piece on her this week.

Titled: The Top Doctor Who Aced the Coronavirus Test, the article states that Henry “kept the disease in check in British Columbia without harsh enforcement methods,” and that “now, she is leading the way out of lockdown.”

The article comes the same week that Henry provided an update on testing in British Columbia, noting that the province continues to track between 30% to 40% of pre-coronavirus contacts, which show that people are “taking this carefully” and that “we are where we want to be.”

She noted that prior to March 15, there were 1,257 case investigations and 1,150 contacts traced. Health authorities explain that each coronavirus case had an average of almost 11 contacts that had been exposed, of which a small percentile (2%) became secondary cases.

“99.3% of those contacts were reached and the average time was less than 24 hours between understanding the case history and contacting the contacts,” says Henry, who adds that the number of contacts ranged widely between different cases.

“Many of them had very few — they had one, or two, or even none,” she explains. “Whereas some had many and it was a much more detailed investigation.”

After March 15, which is when public health measures such as restaurant closures and physical distancing were implemented, public health investigations lead to 11,085 investigations and 8,665 contacts that were traced.

A noticeable difference between the two periods of time is the reduction in contacts per case, which dropped by approximately two-thirds. Authorities explain that this is a result of reducing the number of contacts.

“After we put in the restrictions and people stopped having much larger groups and gatherings, we had a third of the contacts,” Henry emphasizes. “This is how we broke the chains of transmission in British Columbia, by reducing the numbers of people we had close contact with.”

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