Officials warn surge in COVID-19 cases could get worse if people aren’t vigilant

WatchHouse parties, travel and a rapid increase in unsafe contacts blamed for spike in COVID-19 cases. Tess van Straaten reports.

A surge in COVID cases means we’re no longer flattening the curve in B.C.

Health officials are now urging people to do a better job of physical distancing, mask-wearing, and other key safety precautions.

“It had been so quiet, so now I’m probably going to wear my face mask again,” a Victoria woman told CHEK News.

“It’s definitely on my radar and I did cancel plane tickets yesterday to go away, so I guess it has affected me,” adds another.

After more than 100 new cases in just three days — including several on Vancouver Island — health officials say we’re at a tipping point.

They’re warning we could see “explosive” growth if people let their guard down.

READ MORE: 30 new COVID-19 cases reported in B.C., data correction made for Island Health

“We’ve got to continue to do this, for month after month after month,” says B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Dix says it could be another year or more of physical distancing, mask-wearing, not gathering in large groups, and limiting contact with others.

But if we don’t stay vigilant, health officials say cases could surge this summer.

“When I say it might be another year of this or more, I think it causes people anxiety, but what we have to realize is that this is the new normal.”

COVID cases increasing across Canada

Many parts of Canada are seeing an uptick in infections and most of the new cases are from people in their 20s and 30s who may have lockdown fatigue and think they’re invincible.

“I think there is an invincibility factor,” says Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer.

“At a certain age, you think you can get away with anything, that you’re basically able to deal with anything that comes and there won’t really be any major consequences.”

It’s something Nanna Nielsen’s seen first-hand in Victoria bars and restaurants and the lack of physical distancing or safety measures made her feel uneasy.

“It said ‘max two people at a time’ on the outside of the washroom and when I came out of the stall, there were six people at the sink, which shouldn’t be happening, right?”

Increased travel, house parties, and a rapid increase in close contacts are also factors in the surge — which officials say is still in our power to flatten.

For the latest COVID case numbers in B.C., click on this link to the BC CDC.

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Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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