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Interior COVID-19 case counts not stabilizing as much as hoped: medical health officer

Click to play video 'Interior COVID-19 case counts high despite restrictions' Interior COVID-19 case counts high despite restrictions
WATCH: Interior residents, like other British Columbians, have be wearing masks and rearranging their social lives comply with public health orders. However, with cases counts in the region still high, how do we know if our efforts are having an impact. Reporter Megan Turcato asked experts to weigh-in – Dec 2, 2020

While COVID-19 cases counts in B.C.’s Interior remain high, the health region’s chief medical health officer Dr. Albert De Villiers believes there may be some stabilization happening following the implementation of new restrictions.

However, not as much as he would have hoped.

The province announced 83 new COVID-19 cases in the Interior on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

It was a major jump from the kinds of new daily case counts seen a month or two earlier. 

For example, 13 new cases were reported on Nov. 1 in the region and two new cases were identified in the Interior on Oct. 1.

The daily count of new cases in the region has generally been trending upwards in recent weeks.

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Read more: Coronavirus: 83 new cases announced for Interior Health region

However, that doesn’t mean new province-wide restrictions, announced almost two weeks ago on Nov. 19, aren’t having any impact.

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“The fact that numbers are not growing exponentially does show that there is some stabilization, but not as much as we would hope for,” De Villiers said Tuesday evening.

“We should all be working together to do what we can to reduce the spread, by following the orders and recommendations from Dr. Henry.”

He cautioned that it may be too early to be seeing the full effect of the latest restrictions.

Read more: Coronavirus: Revelstoke mayor urges tourists to stay away as community cluster grows to 46

“It might be a little too early to tell because we know this disease might have an incubation period for up to two weeks. That means people might have been exposed before some of the [added] restrictions were put in and people had to get used to the new restrictions,” De Villiers said.
Click to play video 'British Columbians could face stiff fines if caught violating mask mandate' British Columbians could face stiff fines if caught violating mask mandate
British Columbians could face stiff fines if caught violating mask mandate – Nov 25, 2020

When she announced the province-wide restrictions and mask mandate on Nov. 19, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the point was to ensure communities could continue functioning and to keep the pressure off hospitals, intensive care units, and long-term care homes.

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De Villiers said Tuesday the region’s hospitals are coping with the current hospitalizations.

“We are able, at this point, to actually maintain the people in hospital. It is not that we are running out of ICU beds or anything at this stage,” he said.

As of Tuesday’s update, 18 people were in hospital in the region and four were in critical care.

The province-wide restrictions, which have been tweaked slightly since they were first announced, ban people from having guests over to their homes to socialize, with few exceptions, and prohibit most gatherings.