There are now 1,910 active cases of the novel coronavirus in British Columbia, provincial health worker Bonnie Henry said in a live briefing. A total of 176 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, she said, including 49 in intensive care.
Henry presented new epidemiological modeling on Thursday, showing that many communities in British Columbia have recently seen “few or no cases” of the virus.
“Starting in mid-April, we have a dramatic drop in the number of cases overall,” Henry said. She said this was closely followed by a drop in hospitalizations.
However, parts of the Lower Mainland still experience significant transmission, as well as peripheral hot spots like Grand Forks.
“It reminds us that there can still be transmission if we’re not careful,” Henry said.
The drop in cases has been accompanied by declines in the test positivity rate and reproduction rate, which measures the number of new infections resulting from each case of COVID-19.
Across the province, the average person diagnosed with the disease transmits the virus to less than one person, which Henry described as a major success story.
She said British Columbia was in a good position to take the next step in the reopening plan by the target date of June 15.
“I’m optimistic in a way that I haven’t been in a long time,” she said.
Henry also presented modeling that suggests the number of daily cases may level off or even increase this summer as people start to have more social contact. But she said she did not expect the virus to spread widely in communities across British Columbia and is confident that public health can handle a small increase through vaccinations and medication. other measures.
Meanwhile, Thursday’s modeling presentation confirms worrying COVID-19 variants have taken over in British Columbia, with the alpha variant (B.1.1.7) first identified in the UK accounting for 54% cases and the gamma variant (P1) first. seen in Brazil accounting for 42 percent. However, the delta variant (B.1.617.2) first identified in India is increasingly widespread and currently accounts for around four percent of cases.
Lower vaccination rate in younger age groups
Just under three-quarters of adults in British Columbia have received a first dose of the vaccine, while 72.8% of people over 12 have been vaccinated, Henry said.
A total of 3,823,103 injections were initiated in British Columbia, including 443,562 second doses. Henry said British Columbia is now administering COVID-19 vaccines at a rate of about 325,000 injections each week.
Although vaccine uptake varies across the province, with much lower rates seen in places like northeastern British Columbia, Henry said each region has now reached at least 50 percent of people. over 12 years with at least one dose.
Data she shared shows that older age groups have started to stabilize at around 80% of people who get vaccinated, but this stabilization occurs at lower percentages among younger people.
For example, the vaccination rate of people in their 30s seems to be slowing to almost 70%.
Henry said there are plans to conduct targeted campaigns to ensure young people receive their vaccine when they are eligible.
British Columbians who are eligible for a vaccine and have not received one are encouraged to do so now.
Since June 3, anyone aged 12 and over can register in three ways:
Learn more about registration here.
Most people in the province will now be able to receive a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine eight weeks after the first.
Henry said people waiting for their second dose may have to wait up to three weeks for an appointment, but she has no concerns about the safety of the delay.
Anyone who received their vaccine before the Get Vaccinated portal launched on April 6 would have booked through the old system and not registered with the province’s current online registration system.
These people must register now to receive an email or SMS notification of their second date.
If you are not sure if you are registered, Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, said it was “okay” to register more than once.
Canadians who have received a first dose of Moderna or Pfizer can take either of the two injections as a second dose, as they both use similar mRNA technology, according to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization .
Those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine for their first dose may choose to either get AstraZeneca at a pharmacy for their second dose or receive a second dose of an mRNA vaccine at a mass vaccination clinic.
Pfizer is still the only vaccine approved for people aged 12 to 17.