Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. will use police to enforce health orders if necessary. (B.C. government)

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. will use police to enforce health orders if necessary. (B.C. government)

COVID-19 precautions ‘not optional,’ B.C.’s Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

U.S. coronavirus study proves young people get seriously ill

Keeping at least one metre apart, covering coughs and washing your hands frequently aren’t just suggestions, they are orders in B.C.’s war on COVID-19.

That’s the message being sent more forcefully by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix as new cases pile up by dozens per day, and the health care system waits for new shipments of N95 medical masks and ventilators for intensive care.

B.C.’s emergency powers allow police enforcement at any time, to ration supplies or detain people who don’t think the rules apply to them.

“This is not optional, and I want to be very clear that everybody has to take these actions now,” Henry said at her March 19 briefing in Vancouver, where 40 more positive tests and B.C.’s eighth death.

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As young people trade images of spring break parties, it’s proving to be a myth that only old people get seriously sick from COVID-19. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued its first major study this week, showing one in five Americans hospitalized from Feb. 12 to March 16 is between the ages of 20 and 44. People under 65 are a significant share of those who need an Intensive Care Unit with ventilator.

Health Minister Adrian Dix stresses that B.C. is in a public health “battle” where precautions must be adhered to, or other people will suffer in the weeks and months ahead.

“So right now and in the days and weeks and months ahead we need to do what we’re asked to do,” Dix said. “We need to do it 100 per cent. We need to do it 100 per cent and we need to keep doing it until we’re told we can stop. That’s the fight we’re in.”


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