BC Premier John Horgan is calling on the province to stay sharp and be responsible as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.
During a press conference on Thursday, the premier highlighted a handful of recent incidents where pictures captured large gatherings of people.
Horgan spoke specifically of seeing footage of people partying in Kelowna around the Canada Day long weekend – a place that has been linked to dozens of recent cases – and a recent, crowded drum circle held at Third Beach in Vancouver.
“I have to say to British Columbians: come on, you’re better than that,” he said. “We need bigger spaces and fewer faces.”
On Thursday, Horgan called on residents to continue to respect other peoples physical space, outlining that we are far from out of the woods when it comes to the global pandemic.
Horgan’s message was that British Columbians have worked so hard up until this point during the province’s Restart Plan and that the collective effort needs to continue.
“We’ve made better progress than anyone in Canada up until the last few weeks,” said Horgan. “My appeal to all of you, young and old, is to be responsible and do your best to stay away from other people.”
Horgan added that if British Columbians continue to follow the advice of health experts by washing their hands, wearing a mask if they can’t physically distance themselves from others, and staying indoors when they are sick, then the economy can continue to reopen.
Simultaneously to asking for more responsibility from British Columbians, the premier did hit on points of encouragement.
“What I’ve seen over the last several months is British Columbians coming together to defeat this virus,” he stated.
Despite concerns of rising case numbers, Horgan compared our recent daily average caseload to the province’s neighbours. Where BC is averaging 30 new cases per day, Washington state is seeing 829 and Alberta is seeing 116.
“We need to look around us to modify our behaviour and protect our loved ones,” said Horgan.
Also during his announcement, the premier praised a speedy response from the Canadian government on a recent appeal sent from British Columbia in regards to boaters. Horgan said boaters have been docking on the shores of BC from the United States for non-essential purposes. After issuing an appeal to the federal government, Horgan said that Ottawa has responded rapidly, issuing hefty fines to anyone who docks in British Columbia without having the proper authority.
“Those fines are severe,” said Horgan. “I’m grateful that the federal government responded so quickly to my appeal.”
Horgan’s announcement amid a provincial uptick in active COVID-19 cases.
The province has now had 30 cases or more in four of the last five days.
On Wednesday, BC health officials reported 34 new cases to go along with one additional case in the Island Health region.
“The B.C. COVID-19 curve is trending in a direction we don’t want it to go — upwards,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry during an announcement on Wednesday.
According to Henry, there are now 70 cases linked to a cluster of cases in Kelowna. Close to 1,000 British Columbians are self-isolating at home because they have been exposed to someone with the virus.