Vancouver Island COVID-19 cases slowing

Vancouver Island COVID-19 cases slowing
WatchBC appears to be having significant success in "bending the curve" compared to many parts of Canada. And Vancouver Island appears to be leading the way with the dwindling number of confirmed cases. But as Mary Griffin reports, now is not the time to become complacent.

On a warm spring afternoon on Thursday, Willows Beach in Oak Bay should be crawling with people.

But there are few out. COVID-19 has changed everything.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were 82 cases of COVID-19 in the Island Health region.

The case count in Island Health is a fraction to what many parts of BC and Canada are experiencing. According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, BC recorded 44 cases from January 1 to March 23. Those numbers jump to 72 by April 1, but a trickle of cases since.

That is good news according to the chief medical health officer for Island Health, Dr. Richard Stanwick.

“Vancouver Islanders have a reason to celebrate. We were very fortunate in that when Vancouver was already in the throes of dealing with the COVID virus, we were just initiating our distancing measures. We were practicing cough etiquette. We were washing our hands. And we were staying home when we were sick,” Dr. Stanwick said.

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Dr. Junling Ma, an expert on mathematical modelling of the spread of infectious diseases, optimal control strategies, and their interaction with viral evolution, said B.C.’s low numbers mean it’s likely there are low numbers of people sick out in the community.

“The number of cases that we get each day depends on two factors; one is how many people are sick in a population. Another one is how many tests we give out?”

Dr. Ma said B.C. is leading the way with the amount of testing.

“We’re actually doing the slightly better job than [South] Korea. In Korea, they are testing about 33 people for each patient.”

But Dr. Stanwick said this is not the time to throw caution to the wind, and get back to normal.

“Complacency could kill us if we think just because the numbers are still double-digit on the island. That we can somehow put down our guard and reduce our social distancing, and physical distancing,” Dr. Stanwick said.


Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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