OPINION: Enjoy yourselves, but maintain vigilance amid COVID-19 pandemic

It is definitely a message that bears repeating: stay vigilant and stay safe.

We are beyond fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. On sunny, summer days, we want to be out, enjoying the majesty that is the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.

We get that. We support that.

However, we also happen to be in the middle of a pandemic.

Which means we must continue to be careful, perhaps even more than we have been to this point.

Things are opening up again. We can finally go out to eat, do some shopping, walk around, expand our ‘bubbles’ and hang out with friends.

All terrific. But in order to continue to maintain that sense of normalcy, vigilance is required.

Four new cases of COVID-19 reported in the Island Health Authority on Monday mark the biggest jump in the region’s cases since April 23.

READ MORE: Full COVID-19 coverage here

Black Press reports seven new cases have been reported in the Island Health region since July 15, according to data from the BC Centre for Disease Control. Six of those cases were included in the 102 new cases recorded in B.C. over a three-day period, prompting a warning from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that the province is at risk of “explosive growth.”

Anytime the words ‘explosive growth’ are bandied about by our most trusted medical officials, we must surely stand up and take notice.

Four of the new Island Health cases are epidemiologically-linked, meaning the people infected were never tested but have symptoms of the virus and have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or lived or worked in a facility where there was an outbreak.

In total, Island Health has had 142 cases of the novel coronavirus and 127 recoveries. Five people have died from the virus in the region.

The total number of cases in B.C. sits at 3,300, of which 253 are active. The province’s death toll remains at 189 people.

Henry called the number of new cases amongst young people “concerning”.

Several cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Canadian flights last week, including one airplane that landed at the Victoria International Airport on July 13.

We see numbers around the world, especially from our neighbours directly to the south, and they’re not nearly as encouraging.

On a daily basis, we’re shown what not to do. So let’s not do it.

The standard protocols should remain in place, with handwashing, physical distancing and masks if you’re going to be repeatedly in close proximity to others, especially indoors.

Here on Vancouver Island, and especially in PQB, we’ve generally done a better job than most at dealing with COVID-19.

Let’s not loosen the reins just yet. Vigilance now will pay off down the road.

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