VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – British Columbians will have to continue living with COVID-19 restrictions limiting parties, large weddings, and other social gatherings.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Friday that she is keeping current public health orders in place.
“I will be continually reviewing and reconsider the need for these restrictions based on the incidence and prevalence of the virus, the data that we’ve shown today, any new information about transmission, and the progress of our vaccination supply and our immunization program,” Henry said, citing concerns around virus variants.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says current restrictions can not be lifted, but she hopes to get youth sports up and running again by the end of February.
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) February 5, 2021
Her announcement came after she released the latest COVID-19 modelling for B.C.
Henry did not provide a date by which orders would end.
“The order came into effect November 19, 2020 at midnight and will be kept in place until further notice based on direction from the PHO,” the province’s website reads.
Concerns have been rising over the spread of COVID-19 virus variants across the country and the world. In B.C., the number of variant cases also continues to rise, with 28 identified to date.
The majority of these cases are the variant first identified in the U.K.
“Right now, we need to stay the path. We need to buy time. We need to buy time to understand how these variants of concern — or whether these variants of concern — are going to effect transmission in our community, and we need to buy time to get our immunization program back up and running at full speed,” B.C.’s top doctor explained. “Just one or two super-spreading events in our network or a slight increase in our contacts or risky contacts with others can quickly counteract all of our progress and work.”
Henry said many communities around B.C. have seen the impacts a “small” gathering can have on the spread of the coronavirus and urged people to refrain from gathering with others.
“We need a smooth, flat path to the finish,” she explained, adding while we haven’t reached that point yet, “we are getting closer every day.”
Should B.C. stay on track, Henry said planning could start for the return of some activities “at the end of this month,” including youth sports, faith services, and some small gatherings, but this all hinges on getting the COVID-19 situation under control.
“By the end of the month, once again, we can look to having our safe six, our bubble, again. The same group of people — whether that’s our grandparents, close family, or close single group of friends. Staying small, staying local for the next while will mean fewer faces, means fewer outbreaks, means fewer severe illness, fewer people in hospitals, fewer people dying,” Henry said.
“These are the signs that I and we will be watching through the hard push that we have on right now to the end of this month,” she added. “We need to continue this for the next while.”
With the Super Bowl, Lunar New Year, and other events coming up, British Columbians are being reminded to celebrate safely and to follow public health orders.