In a written statement, Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Minister of Health Adrian Dix said there are currently 3,441 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in British Columbia. A total of 292 people are hospitalized, including 79 in intensive care.
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind peaks and declines in new cases, are down 8% from last Friday, when 319 people were hospitalized with the disease.
The number of intensive care patients is down about 26% from 107 a week ago.
Henry and Dix said that while the number of cases and hospitalizations from the virus continue to decline, new clusters continue to emerge. They urged everyone to continue taking measures to prevent transmission and advised anyone who should not get the vaccine as soon as possible.
“This has been a landmark week in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia. Our restart plan has begun, our surgical renewal strategy has resumed, and we have started expedited second-dose delivery to people across the province, ”they said.
“We have a roadmap and now we need to stay on track: do what we can to further slow the spread of COVID-19 and break the chains of transmission in our communities. “
The provincial death toll from the disease is now 1,692 lives lost out of 143,581 confirmed cases.
A new outbreak has been declared in long-term care at Brookside Lodge in Surrey.
So far, 3,106,269 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 160,885 second doses. On Thursday, a record 73,458 shots were fired.
More than 67 percent of people aged 18 and over have now received a first dose in British Columbia, while almost 63 percent of people over 12 have received an injection.
The schedule for the 2nd dose has been brought forward
British Columbia health officials announced Thursday that most people in the province will be able to receive a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within eight weeks of the first. The province still sets the maximum interval between doses at 16 weeks.
Second doses are now administered to residents and staff of long-term care homes. Starting Thursday, people aged 70 and over and those who are clinically vulnerable will be asked to make an appointment for the second dose. People who received their first dose at community hot spot clinics will also receive their second dose within eight weeks.
Henry said anyone who received their vaccine before April 15 and was not registered with the province’s online vaccine registration system should register now to receive an email or text notification from their go for the second dose.
Registration can be done online through the Get Vaccinated portal, by calling 1-833-838-2323, or in person at any Service BC location.
Children between the ages of 12 and 17, or approximately 310,000 people in British Columbia, can also register through the online portal. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was recently approved for use in children in this age group.
Restrictions and reopening
Due to a drop in cases and the growing number of British Columbians vaccinated against the virus, the province has developed a four-step reopening plan that could allow people to re-socialize normally as early as September.
From now on, residents can once again dine indoors, go to the gym for low-intensity workouts, play outdoor sports, and hold in-person religious gatherings.
Masks and physical distancing measures remain mandatory. Recreational travel is permitted, but still only in the three regional health zones of the province.
If the data moves in the right direction, travel restrictions in British Columbia could be lifted in Stage 2 – around June 15, at the earliest. Traveling to Canada may be acceptable in Stage 3, around July 1.