A return to some form of normal life in British Columbia won’t happen until the number of COVID-19 cases in the province gets “very low.”
But it won’t have to wait until they’re in a similar state elsewhere in Canada or even the world, the chief health officer for the Fraser Health Authority, Dr. Martin Lavoie, said Monday. The authority is in charge of administering the health and medical system for 20 municipalities from Burnaby to Hope, including the Tri-Cities.
Addressing questions submitted to a virtual town hall Monday night, Lavoie said the “releasing” of restrictions imposed by the province to limit potential transmission of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will be gradual, with each stage checked for any spike in new cases.
“It’s this fine balance of slowly releasing and checking, and if it goes well, we can slowly release more of those measures,” he said.
Lavoie added while exposure to the virus does result in some level of immunity, the only way to prevent another wave of the pandemic is through the development of a vaccine to create “herd immunity,” or, as he called it, “immunity by community.”
Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health’s CEO, said that is the province’s long-term strategy to allow resumption of normal daily activities like returning to work, opening all businesses and allowing large gatherings of people.
Lee said physical distancing and restrictions on many activities are helping the province get closer to making such a result possible.
“We have been able to flatten the curve by working together as a community,” she said, referring to the graphical representation of daily reported new cases of the respiratory infection.
Lavoie said it’s imperative people don’t drop their vigilance.
“As a society, we want to trust each other to do the right things,” he said. “It belongs to all of us to do the right thing.”