Many Canadian cities, foreign countries, and American states have implemented mandatory mask policies in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

However, in BC, such a move is not being considered according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“We have to remember it’s not a magic bullet, it’s one additional layer that helps us with all of the things that we need to continue to do.”

“Non-medical masks in the community are an additional layer that we can use to help protect us especially when community transmission is high, it’s a balancing act. Here in BC, we have used our skills and talents with everyone working together that has led to very low community transmission.”

She also mentioned BC is not in a rush to implement asymptomatic testing at pharmacies compared to our neighbors in Alberta.

“The challenge we have is we do have testing available in our communities around BC and our testing strategy has always been to focus on risk in making sure we have testing available rapidly for those scenarios where we know it’s going to make a difference.”

“Right now, in our communities with the rates of transmission that we have, just randomly testing people with no symptoms is not really a benefit.”

Heading into today’s (Tuesday) COVID-19 briefing, BC has 3,641 cases, with 88 of those in Northern Health.

The province has also recorded a recovery rate of 88% along with 195 deaths.

As for the current outbreak in Haida Gwaii which reached 24 cases, Henry stated restricting travel to the area was a necessary move in order to keep a lid on it.

“Knowing how remote it is and knowing the limited health reasons on the island it was an important measure for us all including Northern Health and the public health communities as well as the municipalities and the Haida Nation to make sure we had everything in place.”

When asked if the “Alaska loophole” may have played a part in the rash of cases, Henry went on record in saying it’s too early to tell.

“I’m not aware in terms of that being an issue in terms of what’s going on in Haida Gwaii but it has been concerning and it’s certainly been visible. We know there is challenges going on in Washington and Alaska with cases so we want to best protect people.”