|British Columbia’s COVID-19 curve is now climbing at a higher rate than the initial outbreak in March, and new provincial modelling shows B.C. could see a second wave bigger than the first by September.The province’s contact tracing efforts, however, could temper that growth, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday.
As restrictions have eased, Henry said, the number of contacts people are having are about 70 per cent of normal, despite the province recommending people keep their contacts to 60 per cent or lower to avoid a resurgence of cases. Officials believed B.C. was at 30 per cent of its regular interactions in Phase 1 of its restart plan, when many non-essential services closed. At the current 70 per cent contact rate, daily cases could climb to 100 by September, according to the modelling.
“We are on an upward trajectory. That is concerning,” Henry said. “But it’s not a predictive model. It doesn’t tell us what’s going to happen. It tells us what can happen. And right now, we have it within our ability to make the changes we need to bend that curve back down.” Henry said the province is still seeing very low community transmission rates, and most cases have been linked to local clusters that rapid contact tracing is managing to isolate.
Henry said contact tracing will be even more critical to preventing spread, as physical distancing measures have weakened in Phase 3. The province needs to trace at least 75 per cent of the contacts that an infected person has had to maintain control of the virus, modelling shows.