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B.C. health officials: COVID-19 restrictions

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Henry
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry

New modelling data shows B.C. is doing a good job at “flattening the curve” but also what could happen if we abandon strict physical distancing rules.

B.C. health officials say measures put in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus are working, but restrictions won’t be lifted until the middle of May at the earliest.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says officials are looking at a re-opening of the health-care system in May as a first step, but a huge number of barriers still need to be cleared.

Henry said “For the health-care system to start ramping up again outpatient visits, surgeries, diagnosis test increases … these things need to happen in tandem. But we need to do it in a way that does not increase the risk of people coming together, spreading the virus and transmitting it,”

Henry

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry

“We have to find that balance of opening the economy, (and) having business going while maintaining some of the restrictions we have in place. It won’t be back-to-school, everyone mingling. It might be a gradual return with smaller numbers in graduated classrooms. So some kids part of the day and some kids for other parts of the day.”

The province released another set of complex modelling data on Friday that suggests B.C. is flattening the curve when it comes to confirmed COVID-19 cases and is well ahead of the Canadian average.

Looking at cumulative deaths per one million people, B.C. shows a steadily growing curve approaching about 14 deaths per million, 38 days after the first reported death on March 9.

In terms of cumulative diagnosed patients, after a sharp increase about 20 to 25 days after cases started arriving in B.C., the province saw a flattening of the curve.

Compare that to other countries, such as Italy, where the number of patients was still dramatically rising more than a month after the first cases started appearing.

“When you look at our accumulated cases compared to Italy, USA, Spain, we were much closer to them,” Henry said. “But we have levelled off over the last three weeks.”

Felicity Gitonga

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