COVID-19 growth rate decreasing in B.C., but not a win yet

'Holding our own,' for now

The growth rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases in British Columbia continues to drop, but health officials are not ready to call it a win.

During the daily press conference Saturday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 29 new confirmed cases in the province, bringing the total to 1,203. With 704 people having fully recovered from the virus, and 38 people passing away, there are 461 active cases of the virus in the province.

The 29 new cases announced Saturday is significantly lower than the average over the past two weeks, which was 59.

The latest numbers show a 2.4 per cent growth rate. Rates in excess of 25 per cent were seen last month, before the results of physical distancing measures and travel restrictions were evident.

“I don't think I'm ready to say anything is a win yet, but every day that we have been bending that curve is a good thing,” Dr. Henry said Saturday.

“There are many things that are out of our control that can happen and this is why we are making such a big deal about people coming into our country right now, because we are holding our own here, right now.

“We've had outbreaks happen in many different places, we're continuing to see introductions into our long term care homes, so this could take a turn for the worse for us in the coming week in particular, but I am heartened that we are seeing that decrease in acceleration. If we had continued to see that 24, 25 per cent increase, we would have had many, many more cases, and that's very concerning."

The slowing of the rate of spread of the virus in B.C. is all the more reason for residents to double down on the measures that appear to be working, Dr. Henry said.

“We are in the thick of it and we must hold our line. This is our time to be unwavering in our commitment to keep our firewall strong, to keep our distance between us,” she said.

“It's so, so important that we continue to do, as I've been saying 'hold the line,' so that we can can continue to provide the needed healthcare for those who need it, both for COVID-19 but also for those other things that are affecting people in our communities right now.”

Dr. Henry said the next nine days are particularly critical to slow the transmission of the virus, and “after the Easter weekend, we'll have a much better idea of where we are.”

There's some evidence the wave of COVID-19 could subside during the warmer summer months, as seen in other coronaviruses, but Dr. Henry has warned of the potential of a second wave of the virus come the fall.

“We need to watch that carefully, we don't know for sure how this virus is going to behave, but that's what other respiratory viruses do,” she said.

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