B.C. health officials have expressed cautious optimism that the province is “bending” the curve of COVID-19 cases and credit part of the success to luck and timing.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 63 new cases of the illness on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 1,266.
Henry also noted the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped by nine to 140 since the last update on Saturday.
Henry said the province’s promising numbers stem from finding early cases of community transmission and implementing restrictive measures that were sparked, in part, by reports from provinces with an earlier spring break.
March break in Quebec and Ontario occurred two weeks earlier than in B.C., Henry said, and both provinces experienced reports of spring break travellers falling ill after returning from destinations like France, where the virus had taken hold.
On the Friday before most B.C. schools went on March break, Henry formally banned large gatherings and told to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada. Not long after the start of spring break, the province indefinitely suspended all kindergarten to Grade 12 classes.
Henry was quick to point out that now is not the time for the province to rest on its laurels as the coming days are critical in the fight against COVID-19.
“Our percentage of new cases, as you can see, has been slowing,” she said. “It’s been bending and that’s really important and it’s testament to the effort that everybody here in British Columbia has been making over these past few weeks.
“But we must keep that firewall strong.”
— With files from Simon Little and The Canadian Press