Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, B.C. Liberal health critic, poses questions to Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry at a video town hall May 11, 2020. (Youtube)

COVID-19: Forget big weddings this summer, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

Too soon to draw link between child illness and coronavirus

As B.C. prepares to relax some of its COVID-19 restrictions on business and small personal gatherings, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is warning people not to exceed 50 people for a summer wedding.

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix took questions at a video town hall hosted by Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick in the evening of May 11. One of the questions from a constituent was about having a wedding in a restaurant that has approval for up to 75 people under B.C.’s soon-to-expand business restrictions.

Henry was emphatic that while a restaurant may be able to manage independent small groups at widely spaced tables, a single wedding party is not the same thing and carries much greater risk of virus transmission.

“You know, I can’t see a wedding where people keep their distance,” Henry said. “If you’re going to have a wedding, it definitely has to be under 50. If it’s outdoors you can space people apart, that’s good, but we don’t want buffets, because we know those are places where you can also contract the virus.”

Older guests and those with health conditions that increase their risk should participate by video link, she added.

(Link to Youtube video of town hall, Henry discusses weddings at 50-minute mark. Other B.C. Restart Plan video town halls are in the works, and will be listed here when they are scheduled.)

Letnick also passed on a question about COVID-19 risk to children, disclosing that he has already expanded his personal “bubble” to include his grandchildren. Henry noted that her guidance is to wait until after the Victoria Day long weekend to begin that and other “phase two” changes to pandemic restrictions.

“Guilty as charged,” Letnick said.

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The constituent’s question related to reports from New York and the U.K. that children have developed illness. Henry said not all of those cases have been children testing positive for COVID-19, it tends to be older children and there are other viruses that can be involved.

“There’s a lot we still don’t know,” Henry said. “It has come to light very recently that some children may contract an inflammatory condition that’s very similar to something we’ve known about for a long time, called Kawasaki disease. And it’s not clear yet if it’s related to COVID-19 or not, but it could be. It is a condition that we’ve seen that causes inflammation of the blood vessels, it can cause red eyes, conjunctivitis [pink eye], a skin rash, sometimes swelling of the tongue, and some children can get quite sick with it.”

With more children returning to classroom education after the long weekend, to work out routines for full school operation in the fall, the question of wearing non-medical masks also came up at the town hall.

Henry said masks are good for short trips to a store, to protect other people from your droplets, they are not effective protection to be worn all day at school or elsewhere.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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