OPINION: Enjoy yourselves, but maintain vigilance amid COVID-19 pandemic

Plenty of evidence elsewhere of what relaxed standards can lead to

It is definitely a message that bears repeating: stay vigilant and stay safe.

We are beyond fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. On sunny, summer days, we want to be out, enjoying the majesty that is Vancouver Island.

We get that. We support that.

However, we also happen to be in the middle of a pandemic. Which means we must continue to be careful, perhaps even more than we have been to this point.

RELATED: Island Health sees biggest COVID-19 case jump since April

Things are opening up again. We can finally go out to eat, do some shopping, walk around, expand our ‘bubbles’ and hang out with friends.

All terrific. But in order to continue to maintain that sense of normalcy, vigilance is required.

Four new cases of COVID-19 reported in the Island Health Authority on July 20 marked the biggest jump in the region’s cases since April 23.

During that preceding week seven new cases were reported in the Island Health region, according to data from the BC Centre for Disease Control. Six of those cases were included in the 102 new cases recorded in B.C. over a three-day period. As of July 27, there were 10 active cases on an island that had, a few weeks previous, been enjoying a month of being COVID-19-free. All this prompted a warning from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that the province is at risk of “explosive growth.” 

Anytime the words ‘explosive growth’ are bandied about by our most trusted medical officials, we must surely stand up and take notice.

Four of the recent Island Health cases are epidemiologically-linked, meaning the people infected were never tested but have symptoms of the virus and have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or lived or worked in a facility where there was an outbreak.

In total, as of this Monday, Island Health has had 143 cases of the novel coronavirus and 128 recoveries. Five people have died from the virus in the region.

The total number of cases in B.C. sat at 3,300, of which 253 are active. The province’s death toll remains at 189 people.

RELATED: Lockdown fatigue, ‘invincibility’ causing more COVID-19 infections in young people

Henry called the number of new cases amongst young people “concerning”.

Several cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Canadian flights last week, including one airplane that landed at the Victoria International Airport on July 13.

We see numbers around the world, especially from our neighbours directly to the south, and they’re not nearly as encouraging. On a daily basis, we’re shown what not to do. So let’s not do it.

The standard protocols should remain in place, with handwashing, physical distancing and masks if you’re going to be repeatedly in close proximity to others, especially indoors.

Here on Vancouver Island, and especially in PQB, we’ve generally done a better job than most at dealing with COVID-19.

Let’s not loosen the reins just yet. Vigilance now will pay off down the road.

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