Social and physical distancing signs are pictured on the floors of various business throughout Vancouver and surrounding area are pictured between May 1-12th, 2020. As the city and the province of British Columbia start to rollout plans for certain businesses to open signs like these will be the new normal for the foreseeable future amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Social and physical distancing signs are pictured on the floors of various business throughout Vancouver and surrounding area are pictured between May 1-12th, 2020. As the city and the province of British Columbia start to rollout plans for certain businesses to open signs like these will be the new normal for the foreseeable future amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

As top doctor Dr. Bonnie Henry receives international attention for her efforts to fare the spread of COVID-19 among British Columbians, the provincial health officer is preparing for the likelihood of a second wave of the novel coronavirus in the fall.

Health officials have been tracking the spread of the contagious respiratory illness since early February, when the first case was confirmed in B.C. That data is today allowing Henry and her team of experts to prepare a number of contingency scenarios in case the virus resurges in the fall.

“The whole plan is making sure that we don’t ever have to go back to shutting everything down like we did in March,” Henry said during a news conference earlier this week.

ALSO READ: A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

British Columbia has been home to roughly 3,053 test-positive cases of COVID-19 with an 88 per cent recovery rate. A total of 187 people have died, many of those being seniors in long-term care facilities.

Across Canada, more than 107,300 people have contracted the disease with 8,773 of those losing their lives.

Over the past several months, Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix have provided monthly modeling and projections of the virus – oftentimes pulling data from countries with similar populations– to offer insight into possible outcomes from the various social contact restrictions set by the province.

Now, B.C. has enough in-province data to use, Henry said.

“We know so much now about being able to control these outbreaks and control the spread in the community that we won’t need to shut down all hospitals and that we won’t need to stop things like surgeries the way that we did in March.”

ALSO READ: Should a vaccine for COVID-19 be made mandatory in Canada, once it’s created?

Henry has warned British Columbians that pre-COVID normalcy in daily life will not return this summer, and likely not until there is a vaccine readily available. Meanwhile, many concerns remain among the most vulnerable populations – such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions – despite the province entering Phase 3 in its economic restart plan.

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts, proving the difficulty and unpredictability of containing spread among asymptomatic people, meaning those who are infected but don’t show symptoms.

As much as health officials work to flatten the curve, relying on the adherence of British Columbians, there is seasonality to respiratory viruses that may not be avoidable due to climatic conditions – in other words, the return of colder weather – starting in the fall.

Henry and Dix have said they will not hesitate to bring back restrictions that have since been lifted if transmission rates start increasing again.

ALSO READ: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino’s library is currently located in the basement of the Tofino Legion building but talks are underway to build a brand new facility. (Andrew Bailey photo)
The District of Tofino has put new restrictions in place around alcohol at public events. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino puts new restrictions on alcohol at public events

Town’s council adopts Municipal Alcohol Policy.

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

Tofino expects to elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6. (Westerly file photo)
Nomination period begins for Tofino byelection

Tofino is set to replace former mayor Josie Osborne, who is now the Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Homalco First Nation said that it will intervene in the judicial review sought by aquaculture companies with regards to federal decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms by 2022. In this picture from Sept. 24, a demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver.(Quinn Bender photo)
Chief says push for fish farm judicial review a challenge to reconciliation, Aboriginal Rights

Homalco First Nation chief reacts to Mowi and Cermaq intervention in Discovery Island decision

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Most Read