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COVID-19 modelling: B.C. health officials double down on warning of possible second wave

New data shows how COVID-19 spread in BC
New data shows how COVID-19 spread in BC

Public health officials are once again warning if British Columbians stop practicing physical-distancing and return to normal social interactions, the number of COVID-19 cases will surge into a second wave.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presented the latest round of modelling information on Thursday, saying a sudden surge in cases would likely happen this month if people return to more than 70 per cent of normal physical contact with others.

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

According to the data, British Columbians are currently operating at about 50 per cent of normal activity.

The province is optimistic that if behaviour continues at this level, confirmed cases could disappear by July, and B.C. could move to the next phase of its plan to reopen the economy by mid-June.

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“So far, we are doing OK. The other thing that protects us is having safe contacts,” Henry said.

“If this continues over the next week and a half (or) two weeks, we will really be in good shape to move to the next phase.”

B.C. releases next round of COVID-19 modelling
B.C. releases next round of COVID-19 modelling

Officials also announced nine new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, and no new deaths. The number of hospital patients is at an 11-week low.

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Premier John Horgan said Wednesday the province is planning on easing more restrictions in mid-June, including travel within the province, if rates of transmission remain low.

Officials note there have already been two outbreaks at workplaces in the Fraser Health Authority since restrictions have eased, but they were identified early and halted from significantly spreading.

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Officials: BC could see zero new daily cases by mid-June
Officials: BC could see zero new daily cases by mid-June

For the first time, Thursday’s modelling numbers showed more specifically where people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Vancouver has seen the most cases, with 540. The “Fraser South” region, including Surrey and Delta, has had 523.

Fraser North, including Burnaby, Tri-Cities and Maple Ridge, has had 411. Fraser East, including Chilliwack and Abbotsford, has see 367.

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“This virus has affected communities all across out province. Most heavily affected have been the health service delivery areas in Fraser Health and Vancouver,” Henry said.

There was a shift, however, from May 18-31. No confirmed cases were reported in the Interior Health, Island Health and Northern Health regions.

Fraser South has been the hardest hit in that time, with 57 confirmed cases.