VANCOUVER - A group of doctors in British Columbia is calling on the province to re-evaluate its approach to combating COVID-19.
The group, called Protect our Province B.C., is made up of a range of doctors and medical researchers, and held a panel discussion Wednesday highlighting how the virus is spread through aerosol transmission.
Dr. Victor Leung, an infectious disease physician and medical microbiologist, says the province and public health have been too slow to amend mandates to limit the spread of the virus.
He says the province should focus on improving air flow in buildings and continue strong mask mandates.
Health Minister Adrian Dix says the province has made an "enormous" amount of information on the virus available to the public, while he defended provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry's approach to the pandemic.
He says Henry is a world leader in pandemic management and she has always been committed to learning and adapting the province's COVID-19 response.
"I encourage people to get involved in the debate, ours is a science-led strategy," Dix said. "We continue to adapt, listen and learn and do better."
B.C. reported 696 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the number of active cases to 4,888.
Six more people have died, lifting the death toll to 2,092.
Leung says many of the guidelines from the province are focused on battling a virus that is spread by droplets and touch, but those mandates don't address the main mode of transmission for COVID-19: aerosols.
"This is an overly dispersed virus," he says. "Not everyone will affect 10 people, one person might infect 80 people, while another may not infect anyone."
He said learning about how the virus is spread and transmitted will also help in future pandemics.