When it comes to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in BC, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Thursday “we are not quite there yet.”
Henry made the comments during a press conference, where she noted that 395 new cases and 10 more virus-related deaths had been confirmed in the past 24 hours.
Right now, health officials are looking ahead to March, “to make sure we know when we can increase our social interactions in a limited way,” she said, noting the seven-day rolling average of cases has crept up recently, after a previous downward trend.
“Officials are continuing to watch these indicators, and when we have confidence that they are slowing in a sustained way, that is when we’ll be able to ease restrictions,” she said.
Still, “there is potential for rapid growth, if we’re not careful.”
Asked specifically what she’d be looking for before deciding to lift restrictions, Henry said the decision revolves around the “risk in our communities.”
Re-emphasizing the virus’ ease of transmissibility through human interaction, she said current measures taken by the province have addressed those situations where human interaction occurs, and now there needs to be a little more “stability” when it comes to the ongoing number of cases.
With spring right around the corner, health officials need to understand if a seasonal decrease in infectivity will be seen, which will help as well, she said.
“And of course, making sure we have our vaccine program back on track, so we can protect those who are most at risk of getting sick.”
Thursday’s 395 new coronavirus cases have brought the provincially recorded total to 78,673.
By specific health region, this equates to 86 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 207 in the Fraser Health region, 37 in the Island Health region, 24 in the Interior Health region, 41 in the Northern Health region, and one person who normally resides outside of Canada.
There are 4,489 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 228 individuals currently hospitalized, 62 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
Currently, 7,931 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. BC’s death toll has now reached 1,348.
A total of 72,781 people who tested positive for COVID-19 have now recovered.