As B.C.’s daily coronavirus cases continue at a low level and hospitalized cases dwindle, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has begun offering guidance for people who may be able to travel for tourism purposes in the weeks ahead.
New cases of COVID-19 from province-wide testing totalled 29 in the three days up to June 8, with no new outbreaks in the health care system and no additional deaths. By Monday only 16 people remained in hospital with coronavirus-related conditions, four in intensive care.
Henry is preparing to decide when non-essential travel can be allowed within B.C., as tourism operators try to salvage something of their season and stay in business. B.C.’s phase-three opening plan is set to begin before the end of June, as long as infection rates remain low and physical distance measures are adhered to.
Henry said step one of any holiday travel plans for this summer should be to check with the local authorities and business organizations to make sure they are prepared to welcome visitors. People should be as self-sufficient as possible when visiting small communities, whether camping or not, and bring their supplies with them.
The same physical distance precautions apply on the road as at home, and “if you are not well, or if someone in your family is ill, don’t go,” Henry said.
Recent reopening of workplaces and schools, plus a string of large protests in recent days, have to be monitored to see if infection has begun to pick up, and no date for easing travel restrictions can be announced until incubation periods have passed, Henry said.
Dix warned that while B.C.’s COVID-19 picture is stable, there have been significant jumps this month in cases in Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona, where many people have links to B.C.
Dix and Henry are reducing their COVID-19 updates after three months of almost daily news conferences to track cases and announce changes to public health orders for the pandemic. Briefings this week are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, June 9 and 11.
Friday’s update had only a single new case revealed by ongoing testing through the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. The number of B.C. patients hospitalized with coronavirus-related conditions was down to 21, with five in intensive care.