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Health officials recap COVID-19 since first B.C. case, where the province is now

Friday marked two years since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in B.C., according to B.C. health officials.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided a recap of the province’s measures throughout the two years, detailing changes and restrictions as the province moves through to its fifth wave.

“We really have gone through five different periods or waves as we’ve been referring to them,” said Henry. “The first really solidified our understanding. It was a lot of unknowns, but from the very beginning we had a number of goals that we kept to.”

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Henry said keeping the healthcare system open was a top priority. She and Dix say the province has stuck to that goal.

She said working with Indigenous leaders and health authorities has also been a top priority to keep rural groups safe.

Many ups and downs of the pandemic were highlighted. The PHO referenced the arrival of vaccines on Dec. 9, 2020 and the first vaccine being given on Dec. 15, along with outbreaks at care homes and hospitals.

Now being in the fifth wave of COVID-19, the provincial health officer said looking back that she would have liked to be more clear with COVID-19 protocols and restrictions.

“I’m not sure if I’m at the point where regrets are what we need,” she said. “If I regret anything, my challenges in being able to communicate when we’ve had major changes and to communicate why we needed to change things in a way that was accessible to everyone.”

She says communication continues to be a challenge but hopes things will improve as the pandemic continues.

Earlier in the week, health officials announced the extension of the vaccine card program until the end of June. However, they say it could be removed earlier if the province is in a different position.

Dr. Henry said they are now looking towards mid-February and Family Day to remove some restrictions to start interacting more normally.

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