“It is by no means anything other than to protect people in Internal Health; people in long-term care and chronically ill, ”says Dix. “It’s a shift in strategy that comes with the fact that 83% of people in British Columbia are vaccinated. Before vaccination, measures were the primary way to deal with the spread of COVID-19 throughout British Columbia. wave to Interior Health, and we haven’t had any vaccinations. Yes [tightened restrictions are] needed in other health regions, they will be put in place.
Dix noted that there were additional restrictions for Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health as of November 2020.
Without specifically saying how many daily cases or what percentage of test positive it would take for other regions to potentially face restrictions similar to Interior Health, Dix pointed out that central Okanagan accounted for almost half of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia when it saw restrictions in late July.
“Well over 50 percent of our active cases right now are in Interior Health, which represents about 18 percent of BC’s population,” Dix said. “We support people in Internal Health, to help [prevent] people get sick and end up in hospital and intensive care. What we can all do is concentrate and increase the number of people vaccinated. The higher level of vaccination eliminates the risk for the whole community. It protects you and will allow you to do things that, if you are not vaccinated, you will not be able to do.
Dix added that the food and alcohol restrictions in effect for the central Okanagan do not apply to the rest of Interior Health.
Proof of vaccination to come?
As of August 19, approximately 71% of Kamloops residents aged 12 and older had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. They are also affected by health restrictions on Friday.
Dix says it is frustrating for those who are already fully vaccinated to be affected the same way as someone who is not vaccinated, but general restrictions for the overall indoor health are necessary due to significant transmission of COVID-19.
However, he noted that British Columbia was considering following the COVID-19 vaccination proof document which is expected to be implemented in Quebec from September 1. The initiative targets non-essential services like festivals, restaurants, bars and gymnasiums.
“I think the people who are fully vaccinated in the region will see that in the coming period we are going to target the restrictions where the transmission is,” Dix said. “Right now that unfortunately includes some of the areas of inner health. But it will also target unvaccinated people in the future. We need to get people vaccinated, and if they won’t, we need to protect the wider community from the impact of COVID-19.
“The impact of unvaccinated people and many transmissions continues to pose a threat to long-term care and other places where our most vulnerable people are located,” he added. “When COVID circulates like this in the community, vaccines are not 100% effective, and more people are at risk. We must take all measures to get back to normal as much as possible. “