B.C.’s top doctor said Monday that the province is entering a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, one that will require British Columbians to adjust to a new normal after many widened their social circles over the summer.
“After many months of restrictions, we all needed to reconnect with family, our friends with our communities this summer,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
Government calls for changes to public behaviour as COVID-19 cases increase
“We travelled, we enjoyed our province, and many of us recharged. Now we must slow down on our social interactions.”
As we head into respiratory illness season, Henry said, it’s time to go back to basics, such as washing hands, keeping social circles small, keeping a safe distance from others, wearing masks and staying home at the slightest sign of being sick.
Dr. Steven Taylor, a professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia who has authored a book on the psychology of pandemics, said going “back to basics” could prove challenging.
“It’s going to be very tough on people, particularly as the winter months are kicking in,” he said.
B.C. officials report 58 new cases of COVID-19, one additional death
“People are going back into lockdown. They’ve had their taste of freedom and had it taken away from them again. I’d be worried about people becoming depressed during the winter period.”
So-called “lockdown fatigue” could lead people to ignore public health measures, Taylor said, but he believes peer pressure — the shaming of nonconformists — will help keep the recovery on track.
“I’m not a fan of shaming people but it does work and it will keep people in line,” he said. “So there may be some lockdown fatigue, but I think we’ll see a kind of grumbling acceptance,” Taylor said.
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Taylor’s book, The Psychology of Pandemics, predicted that a global pandemic would bring with it xenophobia, racism, anxiety and depression. Taylor says what he failed to see coming was how rapidly things could change during a pandemic, thanks in part to social media.
“This was the first pandemic in the era of social media so everything’s been happening faster and more dramatically,” he said.
Taylor goes on to say it’s hard to predict how young people will fare during the first pandemic of the digital age but says there is room for optimism.
“Kids are resilient,” he said.
“We might find that as a result of living through this pandemic the children of this generation are more resilient than the ones of the previous generation.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
VIDEO: BC to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids – Terrace Standard – Terrace Standard
A new made-in-B.C. test will soon be available for children and youth to help make COVID-19 testing easier and more comfortable, the province’s top doctor has announced.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters Thursday (Sept. 18) that B.C. will be one of the first places in the world to implement a new saline gargle test to diagnose the novel coronavirus.
“Unlike the [nasal] swab, this is a new saline gargle where you put a little bit of saline water, that is sterile water, in your mouth, you swish it around and spit it into a little tube,” she explained.
“This test is kind of cool and something we’ve had in the works for a while. This new method is more comfortable, particularly for our younger children.”
Henry said the new alternative will soon be made available to health officials across the province, noting the test has some key benefits ahead of influenza season: it is more efficient and can be done without a doctor or nurse involved.
Currently, the province has been using a nasal swab test – the gold standard for confirming if someone has COVID-19 – which involves putting a six-inch long Q-tip into the cavity between the nose and mouth for 15 seconds and then rotating it several times. A swab is repeated on the other side of the nose.
For now, the test will be available for those aged four to 18.
The less-intrusive swab comes as B.C. sees an ongoing rise in daily COVID-19 cases. There have been a total 7,663 confirmed cases in B.C. since January.
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COVID-19 update: B.C. health officials to reveal how many cases were recorded over 24 hours – CTV News Vancouver
Health officials have confirmed 165 more cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia in the last 24 hours, marking a new high for a single-day period.
There are now 1,705 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C., provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in her first live briefing on the pandemic since Monday.
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced one additional death from the virus, and offered their condolences to the family and caregivers of the deceased.
Fifty-seven people are in hospital with the virus as of Thursday, including 22 who are in intensive care.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 7,663 total cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 220 deaths, while 5,719 people have recovered.
Henry and Dix also announced two more outbreaks of the coronavirus at hospital acute care units in the Fraser Health region
Fraser Health announced an outbreak at Delta Hospital on Wednesday, saying two patients in a single unit at the facility had tested positive for the virus. The other outbreak announced Thursday is in a rehabilitation unit at Peace Arch Hospital, Henry said.
With B.C.’s active caseload reaching another new all-time high, Henry took aim at social gatherings, which health officials say have been responsible for much of the transmission of the virus in recent weeks.
The provincial health officer reiterated the importance of her order limiting gatherings to a maximum of 50 people, but also stressed that 50 is an upper limit and not inherently safe. Physical distancing must still be maintained during such gatherings, she said.
“It needs to be scaled down based on the space that you are in, and I need everybody to understand that now,” Henry said. “Just because you can fit 50 people into your small back garden does not make it safe.”
She added that she feels sympathy for people who are frustrated by the restrictions still being placed on them to slow the spread of COVID-19, particularly young people. At the same time, however, the consequences of gathering in close proximity with large numbers of people – whether all at once or in several small groups on consecutive nights – are being seen with the continued growth in the number of cases and outbreaks in B.C., Henry said.
“As we’ve seen, many businesses are only able to safely accommodate a few people, and the same applies for our homes, inside and outside, regardless of our location,” she said. “When we’re socializing with others, smaller is always safer.”
While urging people to limit their social gatherings, Henry also noted that health officials have mostly been able to stay on top of transmission events in the province. She said the record number of new cases announced Thursday consisted mostly of cases in which people who were being monitored by public health officials developed symptoms and were tested.
She also attributed the high number of new cases detected, in part, to an increase in the number of tests the province has been conducting. British Columbia tested 7,674 people for COVID-19 on Wednesday, which is the highest number of tests ever conducted in the province in a single day, according to Dix.
A total of 2,949 people in B.C. are under public health monitoring because of their proximity to confirmed cases of COVID-19, Henry said Thursday.
Since the pandemic began, the vast majority of B.C.’s cases have been located in the Lower Mainland. That includes 3,937 documented cases in the Fraser Health region and 2,714 in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere in the province, there have been 489 cases in Interior Health, 241 in Northern Health and 196 in Island Health.
Eighty-six people who reside outside Canada are also included in B.C.’s total case count.
Alberta Health no longer recommending asymptomatic testing – Edmonton Journal
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“I know that this has been a long pandemic. But, we have learned much and today’s change is part of how we are continually updating our approach to incorporate what we learn,” said Hinshaw.
Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan said they will be operating on an honour system and Albertans will be asked if they are symptomatic or part of one of the target groups.
“We are confident that Albertans will follow this recommendation, just as they have followed all public health advice,” said McMillan in an email.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, provincial labs have completed 1,169,378 tests, including 13,003 that were completed on Wednesday.
In a letter to the prime minister requesting federal funds, Premier Jason Kenney said federal money would be used in part to increase the province’s testing capacity to a peak of 22,000 test per day up from an average of 12,000 tests per day.
Hinshaw reported 146 new cases on Thursday, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 1,483. There are currently 751 cases in the Edmonton Zone.
Alberta hospitals are treating 41 COVID-19 patients, eight of whom are in intensive care. There were no new reported deaths Thursday.
Hinshaw said there have been 64 infectious cases identified at 48 schools.
Edmonton Public Schools spokeswoman Megan Normandeau said there were single cases linked to John D. Bracco School, Vimy Ridge Academy and Centre High while two cases have been linked to McNally School.
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