Restrictions imposed to curb COVID-19 cases in B.C. as new cases strain the system

British Columbia imposes three-week "circuit breaker" restrictions to reverse COVID-19 spread, which is increasingly concentrated among people 20 to 39 years old.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

VICTORIA — British Columbia's provincial health officer says she has imposed a three-week "circuit breaker" on some activities to stop an "exponential growth" of COVID-19 cases in the province.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said starting at midnight until April 19, indoor dining and activity at fitness centres are paused, while the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort will be closed as cases spread in the community.

Only last week, Henry eased restrictions on indoor religious services, but that has also been reversed.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce this. I cannot in all conscience … allow these types of activities to happen right now," she said Monday.

Henry said the province will also be updating its mask-wearing mandate in all schools for children from grades 4 to 12.

Health officials are concerned that the increase in variants from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa are driving much of the current transmission, she said.

B.C. is also following other jurisdictions and suspending the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the next few days for those under age 55 over concerns it may be linked to rare blood clots. Henry said the instances of clots are rare, but they're taking the precaution of suspending the use of the vaccine temporarily.

For those who have had the vaccine, if it's been more than 20 days, there should be no concerns, she said. Those who more recently received the vaccine should watch for symptoms of a blood clot, and there are tests and treatment in such instances, she added.

B.C. recorded more than 2,500 cases in the last three days, which Premier John Horgan said is unacceptably high.

He urged those aged 20 to 39 years old to curb their activities to protect their parents and neighbours.

"We cannot blow it now,” said Horgan. “We need to redouble our efforts.”


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