It has been one week since mask mandates were lifted in B.C. and to date, the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital has not increased.
Dr. Jeff Eppler, Emergency Physician at Kelowna General Hospital, said that he has not yet seen a spike in COVID-positive patients at the hospital, but the change in mandatory mask-wearing is still too new to know all of its implications.
Canada’s top public health officials have suggested the country is unlikely to be swallowed up in another wave of COVID-19, but could instead see a “blip” this spring.
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam, expects a relatively small rise in COVID-19 cases as public health measures are lifted in Canada, but says the number of cases with severe outcomes should be manageable.
“I welcome a gradual, cautious lifting of the rules,” said Eppler.
He explained that as the hospital continues to see fewer patients with COVID, it is reasonable to continue lifting restrictions on gatherings and masks.
“Now that the numbers are dropping, I think a return to normal is necessary,” he added.
He said that he has faith in the policy makers and experts like the Provincial Health Officer of B.C., Dr. Bonnie Henry, to make informed decisions for the wellbeing of the province.
Eppler attributes the stable COVID cases to the high vaccination rates in the community and the natural immunity provided by the highly infectious Omicron variant.
He does not view the vaccine mandates and passports as a restriction. Eppler said that he views the passports as a way to open society back up.