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Loosening of restrictions may cause 'resurgence of new cases,' B.C. health official says
VANCOUVER -- As restrictions are loosened in British Columbia, the province's health officer warns members of the public should still be cautious.
During her latest update on cases in B.C., Dr. Bonnie Henry reminded residents that many guidelines still need to be followed.
She spoke at the start of the second week of B.C.'s pandemic restart. Known as "Phase 2," the current stage in the plan involves the reopening of businesses previously ordered closed, provided they're able to abide by new health and safety regulations.
And on Monday, campground bookings were made available online, though campers can't stay overnight until June 1.
"As we see many places now that are opening up, we may see a resurgence of new cases," she said.
"And none of us want that. We need to keep our curve flat."
She said provincial health officials are monitoring things very closely in B.C., as well as experiences across Canada and elsewhere in the world.
Observations made during the first steps toward resuming some sense of normalcy will help determine B.C.'s path, she said.
"We have made significant progress, as you can see, and I'm encouraged that our new cases, our new numbers, continue to track low," she said.
Henry's message came after she announced four more deaths in long-term care homes in the province.
An additional 12 people tested positive for the virus in the time since her last update, which was on Saturday.
Though the numbers have decreased in a province that was at one point in the pandemic seeing daily case number increases in the dozens, Henry warned that precautions are still necessary in B.C.
"And we know that in places where businesses have been up and running, we have had occasions where we've had introductions that have led to clusters and outbreaks as well," she said.
Health officials will be keeping a close eye on what happens as more businesses open in the coming days and weeks.
She'll be providing an update next week, she said, on how far the province has come since the start of the pandemic.
"The key to our success in this phase, and in the future, is all of us working together. We need to be co-ordinated, and we need to continue to take those measures that we have been taking to keep our families, ourselves and our communities safe," Henry said.
Rules for safe social interactions, including physical distancing, should still be followed, and hygiene measures such as handwashing are still necessary to prevent the spread.
Everyone is asked to stay close to home, and generally to avoid non-essential travel.
"What is clear for all of us is that our success so far, and our ability to ease restrictions, relies on our shared commitment and effort, and we need that continue," she said.
"That means working together, recognizing that we all have our own challenges and experiences, and continuing to be tolerant and generous and respectful with each other."