Health officials say physical distancing restrictions in B.C. are successfully beginning to slow the number of new COVID-19 cases in the province, perhaps by as much as half.
But despite the “glimmer of hope,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and other officials stressed that the province is not out of the woods and the health-care system still needs to be prepared for an inevitable surge in hospitalizations.
“I’m trying not to over-call it, but I do believe we’ve seen a flattening, a falling-off of that curve,” Henry said Friday, referring to the growth of new COVID-19 patients in B.C.
“What we need, though, is for everybody to continue to pay attention to these [physical distancing] measures so we can continue to prevent transmissions in our communities … for the coming weeks.”
The hopeful news came as part of a report released Friday, which found that the province’s health-care system is “reasonably” prepared to handle a surge in critical care cases related to COVID-19 if the flatter trajectory continues.
The report said 17 of the biggest hospitals in B.C. have now been identified as primary COVID-19 treatment sites.
Officials say those hospitals are ready to meet demand, even if the local outbreak were to mimic the severe scenario seen in China’s Hubei province.
If the situation in B.C. deteriorated to the point where the 17 hospitals could not keep up, as was the experience in Italy, the province said additional centres are being prepared to care for the overflow.