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B.C. maintaining ‘fine balance’ in COVID-19 spread as Phase 3 nears

B.C. premier expected to announce move to Phase 3
Premier John Horgan is expected to announce that B.C. is moving into Phase 3 of the economic restart plan later today. Richard Zussman has the details.

B.C.’s top doctor says the latest round of COVID-19 modelling data suggests the province is in a good position to reopen further under Phase 3.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry revealed new numbers on Tuesday that show how the spread of the coronavirus has been going up and how B.C. is trying to hold a “fine balance” to keep rates of transmission down.

Read more: B.C. employment affected by COVID-19 more than any other province: poll

“We do need to be mindful if we go too far, too quickly, we could see rapid rebound in new cases,” Henry said during a news conference alongside Health Minister Adrian Dix where she also announced 13 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death.

“We are closer to a threshold where cases could re-occur.”

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When will B.C. enter Phase 3 of COVID-19 reopening?
When will B.C. enter Phase 3 of COVID-19 reopening?

The latest figures suggest that British Columbians are operating at a social-interaction rate of around 65 per cent of normal, up from 50 per cent in the previous modelling presentation on June 4.

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B.C. moved to Phase 2 of its reopening plan, which included retail stores and restaurants, on May 19. Schools reopened to full, voluntary in-person instruction on June 1, and bus drivers began collecting fares again.

The potential threat of a ‘second wave’ of COVID-19
The potential threat of a ‘second wave’ of COVID-19

The province has not seen a recent increase in hospitalizations and or infection rates in the latest modelling period.

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But if social contacts were to increase to 80 per cent of normal, Henry said, the number of new confirmed cases each day could rise from single digits to more than 30 a day.

“We are at a good balance right now and it’s where we want to stay for the next month,” she said.

Premier John Horgan is expected to announce the move to Phase 3 as early as Wednesday.

Read more: B.C. is preparing to enter Phase 3 of its COVID-19 restart plan. What does that mean?

Latest round of modelling data shows B.C. must stay the course
Latest round of modelling data shows B.C. must stay the course