Measures to fight spread of COVID-19 will be in place for months

Months of COVID measures

While the next couple of weeks are “really, really critical” in British Columbia's fight against the COVID-19 virus, measures to slow the spread of transmission could be in place for months to come.

During Tuesday's daily press conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said we are currently in the “first wave” of the virus in B.C., which is expected to last through to at least May.

“I do think it's more and more less likely that we're going to be able to get back to full normal life, which I miss a lot, before at least the summer and then we need to start preparing ourselves for the potential of a second wave in the fall,” she said.

“I haven't given up entirely the hope that we might get a reprieve during the summer as we do with influenza and some of the other respiratory viruses. Though, how much of a reprieve is yet to be seen.”

While there might be a slowdown of cases come summer, Dr. Henry says until a vaccine is developed, there will have to be some form of control measures in place for the foreseeable future.

“Realistically, we are going to be in some form of having to monitor and prevent transmission of this virus until we have a vaccine, or until enough of the population is immune to it that it's no longer infecting people, but we know that that is a very high number,” she said.

“So a vaccine is something that we really really need to push for ... we need to put every possible effort into development of a vaccine.”

There have been 1,013 confirmed cases in B.C. so far. Twenty-four people have died from the virus, while 507 have fully recovered. More than 43,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said there is “zero chance” that any of the orders that have been put in place, like limits on the size of gatherings and the banning of in-house dining at restaurants, will be lifted by the end of April, and there is “little to no” chance they'll be lifted in May.

“This is going to be a challenge for a long time,” Dix said.

Despite that, Dr. Henry said she doesn't think the province will need to be “this locked down ... for many, many months" into the future, but what that future looks like depends on people's actions today.

“The next few weeks are really, really critical,” she said.

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