COVID-19 Q&A: Part 9

COVID-19 Q&A: Part 9 | Dr. Ali Ghahary

“What region in B.C. has the highest number of COVID-19 cases?”
Currently, the Fraser Health region has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in our province. In a press conference last week alongside Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix, Fraser Health’s CEO, Dr. Victoria Lee, urged residents of this region to avoid gatherings of any kind (outside of their household) given the increase in numbers. The Fraser Health region encircles Burnaby, the Fraser Valley, and the Tri-Cities, and it is considered the largest health authority in British Columbia based on population. As a result, there has been an increased in the spread of COVID-19 compared to other regions.

“What does “safe six” mean?”
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recently put in place an order limiting large gatherings in private homes to no more than your immediate household in addition to your “safe six” – meaning that you would be allowed to invite an additional six people into your home. However, the six people you choose should be the same six every time and not a new six people each day or week. That being said, if you cannot meet proper social distancing measures, or live in a smaller home (such as a university dorm, or small apartment), then even six may be too many. The order also means that you should not be having things like parties, weddings, or any other similar types of large get-togethers in private dwellings. You can find the latest information on all orders, notices and guidance put in place by Dr. Henry by clicking here.

“If provisions such as barriers/hand-washing are in place where I work, am I 100% safe?”
Workplaces are required to have an adequate safety plan in place, and that plan must be posted where both customers and staff can see it. (For more on this, visit WorkSafe BC.) That being said, safety is never 100% guaranteed when it comes to COVID-19. The virus is invisible, and even if we follow precautions to a T there’s still a chance we can contract the virus – especially with case numbers surging, and particularly if you are a vulnerable individual who is considered to be higher-risk (for example, if you are over the age of 60, have an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, or cancer.) In the event that you fall into the high-risk category, remote work is something that employers should seriously consider for those employees. Failure to accommodate an employee who is high-risk could be considered discrimination. (For more on this, visit the B.C. Human Rights Commission.)

“Are masks mandatory in British Columbia?”
There are many businesses that require customers to wear masks before entering, and they are also mandatory on public transit (i.e. SkyTrain and buses.) That being said, while masks have not yet officially been made mandatory in our province, Dr. Bonnie Henry says she expects individuals to wear masks when in public places, including grocery stores and other indoor places. A mask is another level of protection that can help reduce the spread of COVID-19, keeping yourself and those around you safer.

“When should I get tested for COVID-19, and how do I get tested?”
If you experience cold or flu-like symptoms such as a runny or congested nose, fever, or cough, then it is recommended you get tested for COVID-19 – even if your symptoms are mild. If you are a resident of Burnaby, you can book your test online by visiting www.burnabycoronavirus.com. For testing in other regions, visit the online collection centre finder or BC CDC website.