Pandemic fatigue setting in for many British Columbians as cases rise once again

·2 min read
People are pictured wearing face masks in downtown Vancouver on Dec. 9, 2021.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
People are pictured wearing face masks in downtown Vancouver on Dec. 9, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

New regulations in place to stem yet another rise in COVID-19 cases in B.C. have some residents feeling fatigued and exasperated by the ongoing pandemic.

Paul Eberhardt, who coaches a high school basketball team in West Vancouver, said Friday's announcement about new restrictions resulted in a flurry of inquiries from his players.

"I've already got texts saying, 'Hey coach is this on? what are we going to do?'" he said on Saturday.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry introduced new measures Friday to further restrict gatherings, cancel New Year's Eve events and suspend sports tournaments. The new restrictions go into effect Monday.

B.C. health officials announced 789 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths on Friday, as the Omicron variant continues to drive a spike in cases.

Mike McArthur/CBC
Mike McArthur/CBC

Eberhardt says it's tough news for many people in the province, including his team, which was just getting used to playing freely again.

"There were signs that, 'OK, we're going to get to play again' or, 'Oh, we're going to get to start again' and then we're ready for it and then it's taken away again," he said. "And I think that's a tough mental thing for kids especially to deal with."

Canucks caught out

Also on Saturday the NHL postponed two games each for the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs as COVID-19 case counts continue to rise throughout the league.

Vancouver has six players and an assistant coach in the league's COVID-19 protocol.

"Well, I wasn't totally surprised, was a little bit disappointed," Canucks interim general manager and president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford said about the postponed games on a Zoom conference call.

Other people in the province also expressed disappointment about the rise in cases and the new restrictions, but most said they understood the importance of them and the need to abide by them.

WATCH | Vancouverites react to latest the COVID-19 restrictions in B.C.:

Dr. Brian Conway, the medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, said the province's response to growing cases and the Omicron variant is justified.

"It is more transmissible, perhaps three times more transmissible than any other variant we've seen. And it evades the vaccine to some extent," he said.

The need for good communication and transparency in decision making from provincial health officials is key to managing the public's general sense of fatigue and frustration about the ongoing pandemic, he said.

"Clarity of information and consensus, I think, will reassure everyone that we aren't just … making this up as we go along," he said.

Henry said Friday that the new restrictions will be in place until at least Jan. 31.

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