A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

A math modelling expert says British Columbia is on track to see COVID-19 cases involving variants of concern start levelling off in late May, but he says stronger restrictions could improve the situation sooner.

Jens von Bergmann says based on current vaccination projections, the number of new variant cases should continue to rise into next month, while those involving the original strains were already flatlining when new restrictions were introduced.

He says it’s too early to know the effectiveness of the latest public health restrictions on indoor dining and group fitness, although those measures could bump up that timeline by a week or two.

However, von Bergmann warns that data from other analysts suggest hospitalizations could spike before then, prompting officials to introduce stricter measures in the interim.

He says the province has often taken a “wait and see” approach when early action is more important for prevention.

B.C. announced a new order yesterday to expedite temporary workplace closures when there is transmission between three or more employees, as it set a daily record of 1,293 new positive cases.

“It just puts us on a course where things can go wrong really easily,” von Bergmann said.

“This kind of waiting, it just means cases can grow more and more.”

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