BC is feeling the force of two COVID-19 variants of concern, B117 first detected in Britain and P1 first detected in Brazil. These two variants are more contagious than the initial COVID-19 virus identified at the start of the pandemic. One year ago, mostly seniors were being adversely affected. But today, the variants are taking hold on younger people. The median age of British Columbians contracting the P1 variant is about 30. And an increasing number of them are being admitted to hospitals and require intensive care.
We need to slow down the spread until everyone has been vaccinated, by following the recommended guidelines - something we all have the power to do. It’s critical that British Columbians of all ages take steps to protect themselves, their friends and families, and their communities. BC’s doctors are asking you to do your part - here is our simple list of top things we all can do to help contain the outbreak.
Choose home instead of travel
Don’t travel, unless it’s absolutely essential - even within BC. Our travel has been restricted for a year now, and while we know it’s hard to cancel trips that had been planned for spring, it’s necessary if we are to protect ourselves and those around us. Bringing down the number of new infections now means we can more likely enjoy the summer with fewer restrictions. Please travel only if it is absolutely necessary for work, school, medical appointments, to take care of a loved one who is ill, or to obtain groceries, medicines, and other essential items.
To connect with people, gather outside - but stick to the same, small group of under 10 people. It is important to continue to practice physical distancing and to wear your mask. Within your home, stick with people in your immediate household only.
Wear your mask and take other safety precautions
Masks have a big role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Masks act as a barrier and help stop the spread of droplets from a person’s mouth and nose when they are talking, laughing, yelling, singing, coughing, or sneezing. Masks help protect you and the people around you when you are sharing a space with people you don’t live with. They work best when everyone who can wear a mask is wearing one. Wearing a mask should be combined with other important protective measures such as:
Get vaccinated and know when it's your turn
We beat the virus and emerge from this pandemic when we all get vaccinated. BC doctors encourage all British Columbians to register with the province's vaccination portal, Get Vaccinated - you will be notified when it's your turn to book your vaccination.
While British Columbians around the province continue to get vaccinated, we still have a way to go before enough people are immunized and we have a protective barrier. In the meantime, the variants continue to threaten our safety – especially younger people. Let’s work together to bring the numbers down. We know it’s not easy, but BC’s doctors urge you to take these steps now to protect our loved ones and our communities – we all want a better tomorrow.
Lots more information on COVID-19 can be found on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.