More public health orders could be coming to British Columbia as the Omicron variant begins to take hold in the country and case numbers rise in the province.
During a press conference Wednesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and her team are continually reviewing new data to determine future orders.
“The issue of capacity limits, the issue of the vaccine card, the issue of whether the vaccine card does apply under 50 [people] as well as over 50 in terms of capacity — so smaller events as well — those issues are all under active consideration by public health, and we'll have more to say on those issues soon,” Dix said Wednesday.
He added the majority of recent transmission of the virus has not come from larger organized gatherings like hockey games, but in smaller more intimate gatherings.
“The issue in Vancouver Coastal Health [where cases are rising most rapidly], and we've seen in Vancouver Island Health as well, is what we call unorganized events, where people come together for parties and social events, which happen frequently this time of year,” Dix said. “This is the time for caution. We have a new variant of concern in the world ... and people need to be extremely cautious.
“If you're going to an event, and you don't know everyone at the event, and there isn't a vaccine mandate at the event, don't go.”
Dix also said he supports the federal government's advisory against international travel, which was announced Wednesday morning.
“I know people have plans and I know it's a cost to them, but it's necessary to follow that advice,” Dix said. “We can't be certain what the situation will be like two weeks from now, but it's unlikely that it'll be better than it is today. There will be other trips, but you only have one health, and one life.”
As of Wednesday, 633,831 British Columbians have received a COVID-19 booster dose, which includes 60 per cent of all people 70 and older. The province has prioritized clinically vulnerable people and those living long-term care homes for the third doses so far.
He also added that B.C. will be providing a more detailed outline around rapid testing in the province come Tuesday.