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

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
One man is dead after a shooting in Fleetwood Sunday evening. (Shane MacKichan photos)
One dead after targeted shooting in Surrey

Incident took place near shopping complex at the corner of 152 Street and Fraser Highway

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

Wind is expected to pick up late Sunday night

Items collected from last year’s Ocean Park Food Drive. (Contributed file photo)
Ocean Park Food Drive expands, open to residents south of 32 Avenue

Homeowners south of 32 Avenue and west of 160 Street encouraged to put donations on doorstep

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

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

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Most Read