At the time of writing this column, 73% of British Columbians have had their first COVID-19 vaccination, daily case numbers continue to drop and we’ve entered step two of B.C.’s Restart Plan.
Optimism is in the air as we approach the beginning of summer and anticipate family gatherings, including our Father’s Day celebrations.
We are now allowed outdoor personal gatherings, including birthday parties, backyard barbecues and block parties with up to 50 people; indoor personal gatherings with up to five people or one other household, and playdates.
Organized seated gatherings with up to 50 people are allowed both indoors and outdoors with a COVID-19 safety plan.
Recreational travel within B.C. is allowed.
You can now dine both indoors and outdoors in a restaurant in groups of up to six people not restricted to your household or bubble.
For details of BC’s Restart Plan, check out the provincial website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restart
These changes are overwhelmingly positive and exciting, but they are not free of risks. In fact, they are bound to result in an increase in transmission.
Though I don’t want to burst your bubble and be a party pooper, you should consider these ways to reduce your personal risk and the risk to your loved ones.
Carefully consider your personal risk. Only a small minority is fully vaccinated and even this does not ensure complete immunity to a COVID-19 infection. If you’ve had only one vaccine, you can still get sick.
One of my patients is a sweet 70-year-old woman who received her first Pfizer shot a month ago. Last week, she presented with a cough and shortness of breath and her test confirmed a COVID-19 infection. Her only possible exposure was on transit.
Carefully consider the company you keep. Who are the five friends you are meeting up with at the restaurant? Have they all received one or two vaccines or are they unvaccinated? Do they work in high-risk workplaces or live in high transmission neighbourhoods? Are they as careful as you are?
Carefully reconsider that invitation to a backyard or birthday party. Do you trust the friend or family member who is organizing the gathering? What precautions are they taking to screen everyone who might be attending?
We all play a role in protecting our families, friends and others. If we all tread thoughtfully through the steps of B.C.’s Restart Plan, we may all enjoy a happier and healthier summer and fall.
To register for your first or second vaccination: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/register
Dr. Davidicus Wong is a family physician. His Healthwise Column appears regularly in this paper. For more on achieving your positive potential in health, read his blog at davidicuswong.wordpress.com.