B.C.’s top doctor said people who are “pre-quarantining”– and in some cases pulling their kids out of school early — ahead of holiday gatherings should understand that plans to self-isolate are not “foolproof.”
Dr. Bonnie Henry says there is no black-or-white answer to the question of whether a family can self-isolate ahead of the holidays, saying that there are always risks associated with social gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have seen in other places where people have tried to do this that it is not foolproof and there are challenges,” Henry said at a press briefing on Monday.
“Not everybody understands the same meaning of quarantine and takes the same precautions. And you may be at risk.”
Henry said those looking to spend time with older family members over the holidays need to take extra precautions such as maintaining physical distance, and wearing masks while close together.
Henry said there are concerns of a surge in COVID-19 cases after the holidays, a time when people look forward to time with family and friends.
“I know for some people that desire to be physically together is very important, but I want to reiterate, now is dangerous,” she said.
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“There are no safe gatherings. This virus doesn’t recognize that you’ve been apart for so long that you really need to see somebody. This virus passes between people. So we pick up the risk from where we’ve been and we take it to where we go.”
With the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine set to be administered in the province this week, Henry said it’s more important than ever for people to draw back on social interactions.
“We are this close right now,” Henry said, holding her right thumb and index finger close together.
“We have (a) vaccine here in the province. We’re going to be able to protect people. Now is our time to double down, to remember that this is the hardest period that we’re going to be going through. But we can get through this and we can support each other.”
When Global News asked B.C.’s Ministry of Health health for answers to viewer questions about what’s allowed during the holidays under B.C.’s COVID-19 restrictions, officials had this to say when asked whether people can have a small family gathering if everyone isolates for two weeks prior.
“We are asking that people do not gather at this time,” the ministry said.
“Remember that each interaction we have with someone is a new chance for the virus to spread — and it only takes one interaction for that to happen. However, we understand that many people want to spend time with family over the holidays. If one person is joining a household for dinner, they should consider that household their bubble and not gather with others.”
Read more: B.C. reports 2,146 new COVID-19 cases, 49 deaths over three days as active cases top 10,000
During Monday’s briefing, Henry reported 2,146 new cases of COVID-19 over the last three days and 49 deaths, as the number of active cases in the province topped 10,000 for the first time.
— With files from Richard Zussman and The Canadian Press
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