Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix have been giving daily updates on the coronavirus pandemic. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix have been giving daily updates on the coronavirus pandemic. (B.C. government)

B.C. could see some COVID-19 restrictions eased by mid-May: Health officials

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says easing restrictions will come as hospitalizations decrease

B.C.’s top doctor say the province could begin lifting social contact restrictions in the province in the middle of May, but warns that life won’t be the same until there is a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

“Like we have done already, we are going to develop an evidence-based, thoughtful plan for our way forward,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a news conference on Friday (April 17).

“It is essential that everyone in B.C. continue to practise what we have been doing: our physical distancing for the near future.”

B.C. saw its first case of the novel coronavirus in January, after a traveller returned to the province from overseas.

Since then, a number of restrictions have been put in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19 include closing nightclubs and bars, a ban on gatherings of more than 50 attendees and restricting restaurants to delivery and take-out services only.

These measures have forced the shutter of a number of businesses, parks and campgrounds, as well as the closure of private and public schools.

Henry said health officials are looking at a variety of different way restrictions could be lifted, adding that nothing specific has been decided.

“What we need to focus on in the coming weeks and months, is just the right amount of restriction so that we don’t end up having those explosive growths [in cases], so we don’t end up overwhelming our health care system,” Henry said, warning that life will not go back to the way it was in December.

The latest details on the timeline for when British Columbians can expect some return of normalcy to their daily lives come as the province released its latest modelling numbers, which show that restrictions in place are flattening the curve.

Health officials released a number of statistics Friday that highlight how the coronavirus has evolved in the province, as well as how physical distancing has helped flatten the curve of new cases.

Those statistics included the use of a “stringency index,” which was developed at University of Oxford, to see how B.C.’s various measures have kept people from transmitting this virus from person to person compare to those implemented in Italy and South Korea – two countries who have seen varying results from protocols.

READ MORE: B.C.’s latest COVID-10 modelling shows restrictions flattening curve

Health officials have warned that any ease of physical distancing protocols could be tightened back up in the fall, and at least some measures will be in place indefinitely, until a vaccine is created for the respiratory virus.

The province will be creating new modelling in coming weeks to serve as a guide on which restrictions can be lifted.

“What we really need is a vaccine and it is going to be some time before we get a vaccine,” Henry said.

“Our goal is to move forward is to control transmission and growth of any new cases of COVID-19 in our community and limiting any unintended consequences of these public health measures that we’ve put in place.”

ALSO READ: As Canada’s COVID-19 case counts slow, deaths climb


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The cost of British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam has grown to $16 billion and the completion has been moved up a year to 2025. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BC Liberal energy critic blasts ‘lack of transparency’ on Site C

MLA Tom Shypitka says Site C going ahead is a ‘good thing’, blames NDP for mismanagement

Volunteers from the Elk River Alliance cleared 14 car batteries from the Elk River near Elkford this week. (Photo contributed)
Elk River Alliance to move to more holistic environmental monitoring

The details of the ERA’s 2021 program will be discussed at the AGM next month

The Kitimat RCMP responded to false alarms, an apartment fire and more between Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Sparwood backs campaign to study Surrey RCMP impact

The City of Surrey is home to the largest RCMP detachment in the province

Brent Bidston is the president of Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.
RDEK ponders funding for Angel Flight East Kootenay

The district is considering funding for operations or to eventually help acquire a larger plane

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Most Read