BCCDC 1195267-Ministry of Health Response Purge
Thank you for your email of March 11, 2021. The Honourable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health has asked me to respond to your email regarding COVID-19 modelling. I am pleased to respond on his behalf. I apologies for the delayed response.
COVID-19 modelling in British Columbia (BC) is undertaken by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). BCCDC projections for COVID-19 are done using a dynamic compartmental model fit to reported case data using a Bayesian Framework:
• Published model: Anderson et al. 2020. PLoS Comp. Biol. 16(12) e1008274 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008274
• Publicly available software: https://github.com/seananderson/covidseir
• Model enhancements incorporating vaccination and variants of concern (VoC) are currently being prepared for publication
The BCCDC generates provincial and regional model fits to current data and projected numbers of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths; and provincial and regional time-varying estimates of average daily transmission rate (Rt). Projections incorporate the current BC vaccination schedule and variable rates of contact and susceptibility by age. Vaccination is modeled using the current proposed one dose schedule by age group, with all eligible age groups vaccinated by end of June 2021, adjusting for age-dependent impact on transmission. A 15 percent vaccine hesitancy is assumed for all age groups.
Projections incorporate the establishment of VoC, varied by region and estimated from the sequencing of cases. Dominance of VoC is assumed to occur over seven weeks, in line with other jurisdictions. The BCCDC assumes 50 percent increased transmission and disease severity for VoC, selected to reflect experience of other jurisdictions.
With regards to the determination of group sizes and the number of visitors to long-term care and assisted living facilities, BC has taken a cautious, phased approach to easing visitor restrictions. In March 2020, visitation was limited to essential visitors only; in June, 2020, guidance was released to allow for a single designated social visitor; and, as of April 1, 2021, all residents in long-term care and assisted living are now able to have increased opportunities for social visitation.
Eased restrictions include:
• Removing the requirement for a single designated social visitor to allow for additional family and friends to visit long-term care and assisted living residents.
• Expanding the number of visitors allowed to visit at a time (up to two adults and one child for indoor visits).
• Outdoor visits can occur in accordance with public health guidance (i.e., up to 10 people if the space allows for appropriate distancing).
Precautions remain in place for visitation, including scheduling visits in advance, screening of visitors, medical masks, hand hygiene and enhanced cleaning of communal areas. Limiting the number of visitors in a group visiting a facility supports operators in meeting the aforementioned requirements still in place to mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
I appreciate the opportunity to respond, and hope you find this information helpful
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