B.C. continues to see encouraging signs in its efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus causing COVID-19 illness, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix released their second batch of case modelling April 17, showing significant improvement from projections released in the initial study in mid-March. The model results show that B.C.’s case rate and actual intensive care unit admission rate tracking closer to South Korea’s success in controlling the spread, and significantly better than Quebec and Ontario in recent weeks.
“Our actual case rates and hospital and ICU admission rates have been far below what could have been based on other jurisdictions’ experience and data,” Henry said. “We are experiencing a slowing in our rate of new diagnosis over the last few days, and a stabilization of the number of cases we have in hospital and ICU.
“And the difference, really between what could have been and what has happened, is because of the collective actions that we have taken across the province to maintain those safe distances and to stop the chains of transmission.”
With the success in keeping down the number of hospitalized cases of the novel coronavirus, the health ministry is preparing to resume scheduling surgeries beyond the most urgent that have been done as the pandemic began. If there is no surge of new severe COVID-19 cases, that could begin by early May.
Henry emphasized that B.C.’s success is due to public health actions taken earlier than Ontario and Quebec, and not due to “herd immunity” being developed in the B.C. population as exposure has spread.
“Now is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, to quote Churchill,” Henry said. “But it is perhaps somewhere near the end of the beginning of this pandemic, and we’re now planning for our future over the coming months.”