Dr. Bonnie Henry advises against travel during Victoria Day weekend

Dr. Bonnie Henry advises against travel during Victoria Day weekend
Province of BC
Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on COVID-19 on May 14, 2020.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, said Thursday she is advising British Columbians to avoid travelling during the long weekend as new cases of COVID-19 continue to be recorded.

“This year, with the risk that we continue to have in our communities across the province, we need to look at plans on a much narrower time frame,” she said.

“Let’s make this our summer of care and consideration for our families, our communities and our province. A summer for us all to remember to be kind, to be calm and to be safe.”

Henry also noted many people want to plan summer activities in advance but said people need to look at plans within a narrower time frame.

Travel with friends is not encouraged, Henry said, unless the person is already part of your limited bubble.

Health Minister Adrian Dix also stressed the importance of staying close to home over the long weekend.

READ MORE: National parks in British Columbia remain closed over long weekend

“Stay 100 per cent all in to stop the spread,” Dix said.

British Columbia’s public health officer also suggested walking, running or biking to work during the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday rather than getting on a packed train or bus. Henry added public health officials are working on guidelines to protect people as well as transit workers.

There have now been 126 cases recorded in the Island Health region since the pandemic began. One hundred and sixteen people have recovered in Island Health and there have been a total of five deaths.

A total of 15 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in B.C. Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 2,392. This includes 878 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,149 in Fraser Health, 181 in Interior Health and 58 in Northern Health.

There has also been three new deaths over the last 24 hours in Fraser Health. The provincial death toll is now at 135.

A total of 1,885 people have recovered. There are 372 active cases with 58 in hospital (down one from May 13) and 12 in intensive care. Of the hospitalizations, 33 are in Fraser Health, one is in Interior Health, one is on Vancouver Island, two in Northern Health and 21 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said for overall hospitalizations, COVID-19 and otherwise, Vancouver Island is at a higher capacity than other regions. He thinks people may be less scared in regions where COVID-19 cases are low.

There are no new community outbreaks and the Superior Poultry Plant in Coquitlam has reopened.

B.C. is set to reopen some services after the long weekend under Phase 2 of B.C.’s Restart Plan.

Henry said Thursday that the province won’t move to Phase 3 until health officials are confident measures didn’t result in an increase in transmission. Henry and Dix both say the incubation period for COVID-19 is 14 to 28 days so it will take a while to see if reopening has caused more spread. If so, the rollout plan would be slower.

According to researchers with Johns Hopkins University, the global death toll from COVID-19 is now more than 300,000. More than 4.4 million people are known to have been infected. The numbers are based on official and media reports.

For a breakdown of B.C. COVID-19 numbers, visit the BC COVID-19 dashboard.

Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on May 14, 2020, below: 

With files from The Canadian Press and CBC 

A previous version of this article stated that Island Health had not had any new cases since May 8, 2020. The Ministry of Health has indicated there was a discrepancy in the reporting of the numbers, with an explanation coming on May 15. 

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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