With the COVID-19 variant looming, it doesn’t look like B.C.’s COVID-19 restrictions are going to be relaxed anytime soon.
In fact, Dr. Bonnie Henry alluded to the fact that there may be a need to restrict things a bit further before we move into easement. She recently pointed out that areas where the variant has been of concern have made it clear she may need to consider stricter measures.
That said, during her press conference on March 2nd, Henry suggested B.C. may not need to complete the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to lift restrictions in the coming months ahead.
“We’ve learned the initial dose of approved vaccines are highly effective.” Henry went on to say “based on real-world data …we don’t need to rely on second doses before we can lift some of these restrictions if we have enough people protected and we can stop that transmission in our communities.”
All things considered, it appears B.C. may temporarily increase restrictions further before decreasing them all together. For the time being, health officials believe all British Columbians will have received their first dose of vaccine by early July.
Since taking vaccine is optional, this may impact the timeline as we don’t know what percentage of the population will need to need to be vaccinated for B.C. to consider enough people are protected.
Curbing Transmission at Work
Dr. Henry wants to first review and pay attention to workplaces within B.C. She is currently working with WorkSafeBC to address transmission events.
She also plans to increase focus on places that are not following adequate safety plans.
“What I have been concerned about and what we’ve seen in other countries is that when variants of concern start building, that we can see rapid take off and rapid growth.”
Public Health Orders Could Be Stretched
While the restrictions have been around now for several months, Dr. Henry is clear that there needs to be several considerations taken into account before she could lift the current public health orders.
She added, “making sure we’re not making those exceptions for ourselves that lead to increased risks.”
She urges people to stay vigilant and even pointed out the recent outbreak at a Port Moody pub which resulted in 300 people being affected with COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Variant in B.C.
Currently, B.C. has identified 116 cases of the COVID-19 variant. However, we are only screening for the variants in about 75-80% of all positive COVID-19 tests.
B.C. is to begin screening all positive COVID tests for variants next week.
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