'Luck' and 'being prepared' credited for slowing virus spread in BC

In middle of 'critical weeks'

British Columbia's top doctor is crediting luck and timing for the province's early restrictive measures that helped slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. learned lessons from Quebec, where spring break began two weeks earlier and travellers returning from France and other countries unwittingly brought back the disease that spread in communities.

Henry says Ontario faced a similar situation with residents coming home from destinations where the virus had taken hold.

“We were one of the first provinces to have cases here,” she said. “We spent a lot of time… doing wide testing and putting out those sparks which were related to people coming in from other countries and bringing this disease with them.”

“Some parts of it are luck, and some parts of it are being prepared,” Henry continued.

“But we were able to, I believe, not have a lot of community spread before we recognized that we had some community transmission and we put in the very restrictive measures just prior to our March break.”

The provincial health officer announced 63 new cases over the last two days, including a pair of federal inmates, for a total of 1,266 people now diagnosed with COVID-19.

There were no new cases reported in the Interior Health region.

A man in his 40s who died at home today is the latest fatality in the province, which has recorded 36 deaths.

Henry is urging people to "keep the firewall strong" by staying home, keeping calm and speaking virtually with their family doctor to deal with any anxiety.

“We are in the middle of our critical weeks here for COVID-19, and we must be steadfast in our commitment to holding the line right now in B.C.”

with files from The Canadian Press

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