B.C.’s COVID-19 outlook looking positive ahead of reopening announcement, says epidemic modeler

B.C.'s COVID-19 outlook looking positive ahead of reopening announcement, says epidemic modeler
Ben Nesbit/CHEK News

B.C.’s COVID-19 outlook looks encouraging ahead of Tuesday’s reopening news conference, says SFU Epidemiologist and Canada 150 researcher Caroline Colijn.

On March 30, the province put in new “circuit breaker” restrictions as foreign variants were causing case numbers to spike.

“We did see a really sudden turn and a good strong decline since March 30 when those measures were introduced,” Colijn said.

The restrictions included the suspension of indoor dining at restaurants and pubs, the pausing of indoor group fitness classes, and in April all non-essential travel between select health authorities was brought to a halt.

Colijn says while those restrictions were likely effective, measures targeting the prevention of workplace outbreaks were most likely just as powerful.

“There were some changes in workplace outbreak management and there’s been targeted vaccination around workplaces and essential workers,” said Colijn “I think those may have been really contributing.”

When health officials put in the circuit breaker measures on March 30, the seven-day rolling average was 869, and only 724,193 British Columbians had received one dose of the vaccine. Fast forward to the most recent case count, and our seven-day rolling average was down to 448 and nearly 2.7 million people had received their first dose.

“That’s what puts us in a different position than we’ve ever been in before. Before it’s always been like sparks landing in a dry forest and when we reopen contact we’ve seen those bush fires grow,” Colijn said. “Now for the first time, it’s like we have a wet forest.”

With the circuit breaker restrictions set to expire at midnight, some restaurants won’t be wasting any time when it comes to reopening indoor dining.

“We’re going to definitely open tomorrow cause we’re focused on breakfast, that’s our restaurant,” said the owner of Jam Cafe, Jim Walmsley.

Their plan is to open things up tomorrow and wait for the announcement from the Province to see where they go from there.

Premier John Horgan; Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation; Adrian Dix, Minister of Health; and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer will announce B.C.’s reopening plan at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

READ MORE: B.C. records 974 new COVID-19 cases, 25 in Island Health

Ben NesbitBen Nesbit

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