B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry at the B.C. legislature, April 27, 2020. (B.C. government)

COVID-19: ’Rebooting B.C.’ means carefully reopening business

Poultry plants show need for workplace efforts, Adrian Dix says

B.C. is moving more slowly than some provinces to reopen business in the COVID-19 pandemic, but it doesn’t have as far to go to find the “new normal,” B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says.

At his briefing April 28, Dix said work is proceeding to Premier John Horgan’s announcement in May about restoring some services shut down by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Our approach for flattening the curve has been to turn down the volume of our in-person interactions,” Dix said. “In some cases, other jurisdictions have tried to press mute. And this is important that our orders to completely close businesses have been very limited in B.C. Other jurisdictions are making announcements this week to reopen businesses that were never closed in B.C. because of our nuanced response.”

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The latest 55 COVID-19 cases are mostly in the Fraser Health region, reflecting new cases from employees of the Superior Poultry plant in Coquitlam and their contacts. This highlights one of the key steps for public health officials in restarting business, making sure employees are protected.

“Rebooting B.C. without rebooting the virus means our next steps must be the right ones for B.C.,” Dix said.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said another key measure in restarting cancelled activities is the unintended consequences of the pandemic restrictions, from mental health to family violence to chronic illnesses worsening because scheduled surgeries have been postponed.

Data are being collected on those effects, as well as statistical study of “excess deaths” in the community, those over and above the number of people who would have died without the pandemic and actions taken to slow its spread. Henry said there are no results to report yet, but those measurements guide public health response as daily cases are tracked.


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