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

(Black Press Media files)
‘Potentially damaging’ winds expected in Metro Vancouver

Wind is expected to pick up late Sunday night

Bella Coola RCMP are alerting residents that the road between 4 Mile subdivision and downtown will be closed until at least tomorrow. (File image)
Missing man found safe, Surrey RCMP said

Riley Arnold- Higgenbottom was last seen at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 28 in the 18900-block of 69 A Avenue

Tanvi Pandhi, a Grade 12 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary, took part in the Surrey school district’s survey of students in grades 10 to 12, with a focus on health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey students voice concerns about mask wearing, distancing in schools

Surrey school district has been surveying students in grades 10 to 12

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Kathy McIntyre

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

(File photo)
Vancouver police warn of toxic drug supply after 7 people overdose at one party

Seven people between the ages of 25 to 42 were taken to hospital for further treatment.

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Most Read