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Editorial: British Columbians asked to re-commit to COVID-19 fight

More than 1,100 cases over the last three days should strengthen our resolve
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix addresses British Columbians at a press conference Monday detailing the latest COVID-19 case count and government responses. (B.C. Government image)

B.C.’s health minister says the province, and much of the world for that matter, have entered into a “significant new phase” of the pandemic.

We saw some statistics along those lines this week when case numbers came in for the three-day period that included Halloween weekend: 1,120 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

The curve that we’ve been trying to flatten for months stubbornly climbs, and though the vast majority of B.C.’s cases are in the Fraser Valley, we have seen COVID-19 cases tick upward in other places, too.

We’re going on eight months since the pandemic was declared an emergency, with no end in sight – the virus will still be with us for “months and months and months and months and months and months,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. For those who have followed health and safety precautions for so long, it can be wearisome and frustrating to see anti-maskers and others flouting the guidelines.

But the government isn’t asking much more of us in this second wave. Other than a provincial order last week to limit contacts outside our households to a “safe six,” the advice is the same. Dix requested Monday that people “re-commit” to following health and safety best practices, and that they ask others they talk to to re-commit, as well.

“We need to seal the cracks and close the gaps that COVID-19 exploits,” the minister said.

Some British Columbians will see our rising case numbers and worry that we should have stricter measures in place. But there is no case-count threshold for new rules, say health officials. Dix said the public health orders are based on detailed analysis “by some of the most qualified people in the world.” Dr. Réka Gustafson, B.C.’s deputy provincial health officer, said health officials are continually monitoring the epidemic and assessing the system’s ability to control it and respond.

Maybe a four-digit case count can give us the Halloween fright, but we don’t need to be scared – just safe, sanitized and in small groups.

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