B.C.'s latest press update on the pandemic has revealed that some of our efforts against COVID-19 in B.C. will have to continue for the next year or more. On Friday, April 17, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer in B.C. told the public that although the COVID-19 curve has flattened, some measures will have to remain in place for the next 12 to 18 months.
In her press conference, Dr. Henry offered a glimmer of hope, confirming that the number of new cases has decreased in the province ever since public health measures were put in place.
Therefore, the province feels prepared to lift a few restrictions in the coming month of May. However, she also explained that even though the curve has flattened, there are still risks in resuming normal life completely.
Until a vaccine for the disease is developed and administered to the public, we'll still have to be cautious about certain activities.
For example, travelling for business purposes, attending conferences, and participating in mass public events cannot take place unless there's a vaccine in place or "until we have a sense that this virus is going to calm down,” said the doctor.
Additionally, the border restrictions between Canada and the U.S. are going to be continuing indefinitely. And travel restrictions between Canada and other countries will also remain in effect.
"This is not the end for us. It's not even the beginning of the end," said Henry, regarding the course of the pandemic in the province.
As such, the focus needs to be placed on the "just the right amount of restriction" so we don't end up overwhelming the health care system.
Dr. Henry and her teams are using a number of tools and models to help guide their policy and strategies moving forward.
"We're not going back to what we had in December," she warned.
She said that the new normal will be modifications of what we're doing at the moment. The models are going to help the team understand how they can limit the transmission but at the same time reopen the province slowly.
Dr. Henry explained that if we don't continue to follow these measures, our hard work will be for nothing. Therefore, physical distancing will have to continue into the months ahead.
"We might be on the right track but we need to hold the line," said Dr. Henry. And she's set on developing an evidence-based system to make sure the province can move forward strategically.