A woman wears a protective face mask as she waits to enter a bank in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Various businesses and restaurants are opening in the province as a part of the phase 2 reopening plan during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A woman wears a protective face mask as she waits to enter a bank in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Various businesses and restaurants are opening in the province as a part of the phase 2 reopening plan during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

As businesses open up across the province, B.C.’s top doctor reminded them that “testing is not enough” to keep COVID-19 transmission down in workplaces.

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s warning came as two outbreaks were identified in Fraser Health, both in offices: New World Technology in Abbotsford and Maersk Distribution Canada Inc in Delta. As of Tuesday, there were 207 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C.

“Testing can help identify people who have COVID-19,” Henry said.

Health officials have said asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people can still spread the virus, even as testing remains “unreliable” for people with mild or non existent symptoms.

It’s been about three weeks since B.C. entered Phase Two of its reopening plan, with many businesses – including retail shops that closed voluntarily, and offices that sent employees to work from home – opening their doors .

“We’ve seen many examples of businesses owners getting creative, learning to operate safely and responsibly, and all of us are getting that comfort level with how we can do this in ways that minimize our risks,” Henry said.

Measures that have been suggested to some barriers, and required of others, include physical barriers, one-way paths, personal protective equipment and extra cleaning.

Henry said some businesses have inquired about testing and screening practices to keep COVID-19 out of their workplaces.

“We meed to remember the many steps that are required to keep everybody safe,” she said. “Relying on one layer [of protection] – like testing – is not enough.”

A person can show up negative one day, Henry said, but come up positive the next as the disease progresses. Testing can take up to 24 hours to see results, she noted.

But another type of testing is taking a longer than hoped for amount of time to become reality.

Serology testing, which tests for antibodies to see if someone has had the virus in the past, has not begun widespread use in B.C. Knowing who has antibodies would be the first step in determining who has immunity against COVID-19.

“I know we’ve all been a little frustrated by how long it’s taking us to get a good reliable tests… to understand who has antibodies in our community,” Henry said. The delay is caused by false positives and false negatives, which both the BC Centre for Disease Control, and labs around the country, are working on.

READ MORE: B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

READ MORE: B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

British ColumbiaBusinessCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Bernhardt’s freshly planted strawberries. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Hoping for a bumper crop of strawberries

Because our new plot gets a lot of sun, maybe strawberries won’t become consumed by wood bugs

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Newton’s first law of motion

I could have sworn I told them to help each other get unbuckled and to come inside.

Commercial property owners in Duncan will have an opportunity to beef up their security in 2021 with matching grants from the municipality. (File photo)
City of Duncan to help commercial properties increase security

Municipality to set up matching grant opportunities

John and Jeri Wyatt hope the upcoming North Cowichan public hearing will move things along toward exclusion of the Chemainus River Campground from the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Input sought on Chemainus campground ALR exclusion at public hearing

Matter back on the agenda after a late reprieve in 2019 for Chemainus River Campground owners

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read