B.C. experiencing a second ‘ripple’ of COVID-19, says Dr. Bonnie Henry

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is experiencing a “second ripple” of cases of COVID-19 and she is looking at bringing in new measures to help curb the spread of the virus.

At the beginning of the pandemic, health officials and epidemiologists predicted a second wave of the virus, possibly connected to colder weather. Now, modelling predicts a pattern of cases more like ripples or “moguls,” as Henry has previously called them, that will spike upwards when enough people in a population become complacent around physical distancing measures.

“I think we’re probably in our second ripple,” said Henry, speaking to CBC’s The Early Edition on Tuesday morning.

“Partly, it’s because our testing has gone up and we’ve had contact with larger numbers in younger people. And I think people needed a bit of a release during the summer. It was very extreme measures that we took in March and April, and it was very concerning for people.”

Additional restrictions under consideration, Henry says

Henry said B.C. residents must focus on keeping that ripple relatively low, especially as students return to school. Asked whether the province would consider reimposing restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, she said she is currently looking into what measures could be brought in.

“We’re looking at that carefully and what are the measures that we can take to reduce the riskier environments — and we’ll be looking at that in the next few days,” she said.

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix previously asked B.C. residents to pull back on social interactions as the fall approaches, but have not imposed new, formal public health orders on gatherings.

B.C.’s restrictions began to ease in mid-May, as public health orders were gradually lifted. B.C. entered Phase 3 of its pandemic response plan in late June, allowing for travel within the province.

By mid-July, cases had begun to climb steadily upwards, and B.C. recorded its highest single-day jump in new cases on Aug. 28. 

B.C. health officials are scheduled to provide an update on B.C.’s latest COVID-19 numbers at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.