(Dr. Bonnie Henry/BC Gov Flickr)

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the province’s first COVID-19 serology survey shows a low infection rate and the success of safety measures.

In a teleconference Thursday morning Dr. Henry and the survey’s lead author, Dr. Danuta Skowronski, said they were pleased and surprised by results that show less than 1 per cent of B.C.’s population was infected by May 2020.

They said that in other areas outside of B.C., there has been “substantial” transmission of this virus.

Dr. Henry referred to two studies of a similar nature conducted in Spain and New York, which showed infection rates of 11 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

“Findings of this study reinforce other surveillance that community transmission has been suppressed,” said Dr. Skowronski. “Bravo to British Columbians.”

Both doctors stressed that the infection rate of 1 per cent still shows a greater portion of the population carries the virus than what case-by-case testing has revealed.

This reflects a message medical staff have been communicating since early in the pandemic: that there are more people infected than are represented by testing.

The good news, according to Dr. Henry, is that the chances of people being infected and not knowing are low.

She added that testing asymptomatic people is “a waste of resources” and that health officials would conduct future serology surveys to take snapshots of the province’s progress.

Dr. Skowronski also stated that “we cannot rest on our laurels,” and that this survey only reinforces the importance of sustained action to prevent community spread.