Number of new COVID-19 cases should hit zero by mid-June if we remain at home: B.C. officials

May modelling data provides roadmap for next steps in B.C. pandemic fight
WATCH: B.C. health officials hold May 4 daily briefing on COVID-19 response, including the latest modelling numbers at 1:30 pm PT.

As other provinces begin to re-open their economies, B.C. health officials say we’ve “flattened the curve” of new COVID-19 cases, but people still need to maintain a far-from-normal life.

On Monday, officials released their latest modelling data in the coronavirus pandemic as political leaders determine how to re-open various businesses, schools and the health-care system while avoiding a sudden spike in cases.

B.C.’s daily number of new cases will reach zero by mid-June if social interactions remain at around 35-40 per cent of normal, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

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Cases would remain fairly low with an increase of face-to-face interactions to 60 per cent of normal, such as more retailers re-opening their storefronts and operating in a similar way to grocery stores.

The numbers go straight up, however, if we return to 80 per cent of normal social interaction or higher.

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Physical distancing has allowed B.C. to “apply the brakes” to COVID-19, said Henry, but we haven’t been able to stop the car.

“We must find that right balance to try and protect those more likely to end up in hospital or die from this disease,” she said, as she also released the number of new cases of the illness since Saturday.

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“We need to strengthen our social fabric. It’s important to have social contacts,” she added. “We need to do that now in a controlled way, in a safe way.”

READ MORE: B.C. health officials: Mid-May earliest possible time to lift COVID-19 restrictions

The key principle is to continue to practise good hygiene and follow public health guidelines, she said, especially as more and more people start returning to work.

The latest figures indicate that most people who have tested positive were 30 to 60 years old, and that most have been women. Hospitalized patients, on the other hand, have been overwhelmingly older and male.

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New COVID-19 modelling provides blueprint for partial re-opening of B.C. economy
New COVID-19 modelling provides blueprint for partial re-opening of B.C. economy

As of April 28, health-care workers made up about 21 per cent of B.C.’s total number of cases. One worker has died in connection with COVID-19.

Henry said the goal now is to learn how to live with the virus.

Vancouver playgrounds fenced off due to COVID-19 scofflaws
Vancouver playgrounds fenced off due to COVID-19 scofflaws

“We don’t know if we are going to a resurgence in the fall. It is something we need to prepare for and plan for and monitor for, starting now,” she said.

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“It’s in our hands, as long as we remember to wash them.”

The province is expected to outline its plans to start gradually lifting restrictions on Wednesday.