Cases of COVID-19 are once again on the rise in British Columbia, which means a few things.

Firstly, it means that British Columbia is now into its second wave of COVID-19 – this per Dr. Bonnie Henry. It also means that we’re at a very critical time in terms of the approaching winter season and that we once again need to make major changes in terms of how we’re going about our daily lives – whether it’s socially, at school, or at work. In her latest news briefing, Dr. Henry pointed out that many of the latest transmissions of the virus are happening as a result of large gatherings – such as weddings and funerals – where there will be approximately 30 or 40 people in attendance, in addition to the arrival of extra unexpected guests, as well as trouble limiting the number of attendees and having safe social distancing measure. Events such as these involve interaction, which then leads to transmission of the virus. As a result, Dr. Henry says that there could be further restrictions imposed if things do not change – and, that it is important we stick to our “safe six” social bubble, and that we avoid switching up who is in said bubble.

Furthermore, Dr. Henry also went on to state that employers should be taking all precautions necessary to ensure their employees are safe – such as not having everyone in the office at one time, staggering breaks, ensuring social distancing and other measures are met (i.e. plexiglass dividers and cleaning stations), and, in situations where they have employees who are considered high-risk for COVID-19 (such as having an underlying medical condition that increases their risk of contracting the virus), that accommodations be made to allow those employees to work from home – which is something many offices had to do at the start of the pandemic, and may now need to revert back to temporarily.

Essentially, we all have to go back to basics and doing what we know works in order to keep ourselves and everyone around us as safe as possible, and to prevent the virus from getting out of control. That means not only following the aforementioned guidelines above, but also washing our hands regularly with soap and water (or using hand sanitizer in scenarios where soap and water isn’t readily available), disinfecting all high-touch areas, and only going out for essentials (i.e. groceries and medications.) Now is the time for everyone to work together to continue to eradicate COVID-19.

While no cases of influenza have been reported in British Columbia yet, it’s also important to take that extra precaution to prevent the spread of the flu by getting your flu vaccine, which can be booked with your physician’s office or pharmacy. You can also find out where the flu shot is available, as well as find more information on the benefits of the vaccine, by visiting Immunize BC’s website at www.immunizebc.ca.

To stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 data, visit www.bccdc.ca.