With new cases levelling off, BC can look at reopening: Henry

Apr 27 2020, 4:03 pm

Collective efforts to adhere to public health measures are paying off, and BC will soon look at how to open up in a post-pandemic world, the province’s top doctor says.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday we’re seeing a decrease in the number of new infections, after only 11 more COVID-19 cases were discovered in the past 24 hours.

Health workers also have a better idea of where new infections are coming from. Most are linked to known outbreaks at long-term care homes, a prison, and two poultry plants.

“We’re now making plans to ease restrictions,” Henry said. “We are taking the time to do them right.”

The province is not going back to allowing many people together in enclosed spaces, because we need to limit “opportunities where people can mix and mingle and transmit this virus,” she said.

However, BC is looking to explore what can reopen while physical distancing and hand-washing rules can still be followed.

Her comments come as New Brunswick begins its plan to reopen after a week straight with no new cases and Ontario releases an economic reopening plan with steps not tied to specific dates or case numbers.

Reopening would hinge on having enough public health workers to do contact tracing of new cases so more outbreaks don’t flare up, Henry said.

She encouraged businesses to share potential plans for getting closer to regular operations while still incorporating physical distancing. She also added that employers need to be flexible and allow employees to stay home if they’re sick.

Many parents can’t go back to work before schools are back in session, since they need to stay home to care for their kids. Henry said she doesn’t have a solid date when students can go back to school, but she is in discussions with the Ministry of Education.

“We’re moving along slowly, thoughtfully, and safely in the coming weeks,” she said.