"We want a smooth, flat path to the finish"
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the COVID-19 response in British Columbia:
"Today, we are reporting 471 new cases, including four epi-linked cases, for a total of 69,716 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 4,423 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 253 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 70 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"Currently, 6,886 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 62,567 people who tested positive have recovered.
"Since we last reported, we have had 108 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 208 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 28 in the Island Health region, 56 in the Interior Health region, 71 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
"To date, 149,564 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 10,366 of which are second doses. Immunization data is available on the COVID-19 dashboard: www.bccdc.ca
"There have been six new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,246 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones to COVID-19.
"We have no new health-care facility outbreaks.
"Today, we shared the latest COVID-19 modelling data. There are some encouraging signs that the efforts of people throughout our province are working. By spending less time with others, by staying local and using our layers of protection, we are flattening our curve.
"We want to protect the progress we have made since the start the year and not throw away our success.
"To do this, we need to buy ourselves some time - time to get our immunization program back up to speed as vaccine supply is restored and scaled up, and time to understand whether and how the variants of concern will affect transmission in our communities. This understanding will allow us to respond to any surge in the variants of concern quickly, and we need only look around us to see how severe the impact can be if infections with these variants take off.
"With this in mind, the current provincewide public health orders are being kept in place.
"Between now and the end of the month, we will be continually reconsidering the need for the restrictions based on incidence and prevalence of the virus, new information about transmission, especially understanding the impact of variants, and the progress of vaccine supply and our immunization program.
"We need to stay on the path we have been on so far in 2021 and remember that one or two superspreading events, or even a small increase in our risky contact with others, can quickly counteract all of that work. Seeing one more friend or having one birthday party with those outside our household is all that it could take.
"We want a smooth, flat path to the finish with few, if any, hurdles of outbreaks or unchecked transmission in our community. We are not quite there yet, but we are getting closer every day.
"Each holiday and occasion this month - Super Bowl, Lunar New Year, Family Day or Valentine's Day - is an opportunity for us to either allow the virus to spread or to slow it down even more. The choice is ours to make.
"We want to get to the days of fewer restrictions. As we look to the months ahead, the data will tell us if more action is required or if we can start to ease the restrictions early.
"Staying small and staying local, with fewer new cases, outbreaks, severe illness and deaths are the signs that we are through the hard push that we are on right now.
"Let's continue to push our curve down - today, tomorrow, this weekend and next, so we can get to the brighter, safer days ahead."