As cases tick upwards, we need to proceed with caution. British Columbians have done so well this far and we can't let ourselves down now.
This summer in B.C. will be a unique one, where we all must learn to live with a 'new normal'. We need to remain vigilent as we move forward. According to Health Minister Dix, “We have learned, we have prepared and we have done our best to break the chain of transmission."
Community outbreaks will continue to be identified quickly, so that contact testing and isolation measures can prevent further spread. "This is the work that we will need to do for many months to come, and this is what we need your help to continue. We must not allowed hot spots to flare."
The recent rise in cases is linked largely to parties, restaurants and other social connections. The highest increase is among young people aged between 20 and 29.
Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stresses that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. She spoke directly to young people, asking them to be her voice on social media. "Use your influence to share a message with your friends. Don't let COVID-19 spoil your summer. We can play safe and stay safe."
Dr. Henry urges BC citizens to be sensible this long weekend, keeping our groups small, distanced and safe.
NIGHTCLUBS ARE NOT PART OF THIS PHASE
There have now been three outbreaks due to club openings, in which Henry has expressed concern that some rules may be being skirted around. We should all be very cautious at this time and consider the ease of spread in each environment we enter. Nightclubs cannot safely reopen until Phase 4 of the province's reopening plan, when either a vaccine, community immunity, or succesful treatment, is widely available.
GATHERINGS SHOULD STILL NOT OCCUR
While the recent protests did not cause any rise in cases, gatherings such as beach parties should still not occur. According to Henry, the protests were socially distanced, with attendees wearing masks. Beach, park and other gatherings cannot take these same precautions and should still be avoided. Outbreaks have also been linked to house parties.
Dr. Henry has also said that people who are 'table-hopping' at restaurants, with one large group taking up multiple tables, should also not occur. Restrictions will be tightening further to try and prevent this such as no self-service, no dance floors, no standing and limited hours for events.
KEEP UP THE HYGIENE MEASURES
The best way to ensure a safe reopening of our society is to maintain the measures that have been emphasised since the outbreak of the virus. Keep washing your hands, covering coughs and maintaining physical distance.
Masks have been emphasised as a means of protecting those around you, rather than the wearer. They are advised for situations where physical distancing is not feasible, such as public transit, retail or personal services.
EMPLOYEES MUST STAY HOME WHEN SICK
"These industry outbreaks, the poultry outbreaks, are a warning to us that we don’t quite have that way of thinking within our industries … to ensure people aren’t coming in ill,"said Dr. Henry. We need to adjust our attitude within industry so that employees stay home when they are sick. This will be an essential adjustment as we move forward.
If you are sick, you should always stay home now. Do not go to work or school.
THINK ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL GO-FORWARD
We must individually assess our actions as we start to expand our social circles again."Think of your connections as the rings on a tree," says Dr. Henry, "One additional connection or ring makes for a much bigger risk of exposure and transmission. Adding just one person into your circle adds all of the people from their circle - from their home, their work or others they have close contact with."
If someone in your household is high risk, you should aim to have as little interaction as possible.
SEEK MEDICAL ASSISTANCE IF NEEDED
Health concerns regarding the current safety of hospitals and other medical facilities were also addressed.
"Do not be afraid to seek medical help if you need it," said Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, "It is safe to go to hospital and to call 911. Do you not hesistate if you are in urgent need."
ADDITIONAL GOOD NEWS
To support seniors during this difficult time, the B.C. government is expanding its BC 211 helpline. Seniors in need can call and be matched with volunteers willing to help. If you are a senior or the family member of a senior who needs help getting groceries, getting medications and staying connected, call 211 or visit the website www.bc211.ca. We’ll try to match you up with a volunteer or some kind of service in your community.
THINGS ARE CHANGING DAILY. BE SURE TO FOLLOW OUR PUBLIC HEALTH LEADERSHIP UPDATES
We urge all British Columbians to listen to the province's daily COVID 19 emergency updates provided by Minister of Health Adrian Dix's and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
For additional information, please be sure to rely on credible sources. Consult our trusted information sources.