British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on May 21, 2020

More than 2,000 people have now recovered from COVID-19 in B.C., accounting for more than 80 per cent of confirmed cases to date.

B.C. confirms 12 new cases and 3 more deaths

Aritzia employees speak inside the clothing store on Robson Street on Wednesday, soon after reopening in Vancouver. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)


  • B.C. confirms 12 new cases and 3 more deaths from COVID-19
  • To date, there have been 2,479 confirmed COVID-19 cases in B.C.
  • 152 people have died of the disease.
  • Of those who have tested positive, 2,020 people have recovered.
  • As of Thursday afternoon, there were 43 patients in hospital, including eight in intensive care.

British Columbia's top doctor says that a second wave of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus is inevitable in Canada, but that the lessons learned over the past few months will help inform future responses.

"The optimist in me would like to think that maybe it will go away, and the virus will mutate and won't become worse," said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in an interview with Matt Galloway, host of CBC Radio's The Current.

"But you know what? We've never had a pandemic in recorded history that has not had a second wave."

New cases, more recoveries

More than 2,000 people have now recovered from COVID-19 in B.C., accounting for more than 80 per cent of confirmed cases to date.

As of Thursday, the province has recorded 2,479 cases of the novel coronavirus and 152 deaths. Forty-three COVID-19 patients are in hospital, including eight in intensive care.

With 2,020 recoveries from the disease, B.C. has a total of 307 active cases. There are active outbreaks at 14 long-term care and assisted-living facilities and three in hospital acute care units.

Henry said health officials have confirmed a new community outbreak at Mountain Institution, a federal prison in Agassiz, where one inmate has tested positive for the novel coronavirus shortly after transferring from Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford. Meanwhile, the outbreak at the United Poultry processing plant in Vancouver has been declared over.

GranFondo events have been officially cancelled due to bans on mass gatherings. (RBC GranFondo)

Restrictions and cancellations

The province has entered its second phase of its restart plan. Provincial campsites will open up on June 1, but on Thursday BC Parks said the sites will be closed to non-B.C. residents.

People from outside B.C. who already have reservations should call before June 15 to cancel and receive a full refund.

Meanwhile, several more large events have been cancelled.

Organizers of the popular GranFondo bike races have officially called off events in Whistler and Vancouver this year, citing the province's ban on mass gatherings.

Mass gatherings fall into the province's Phase 4 and won't be permitted in B.C. until there is a successful treatment, vaccine or herd immunity.

$75M in funding for Indigenous people

The federal government said Thursday it will provide $75 million for organizations that address the "critical needs" of Indigenous people living in urban centres and off reserve.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the additional funding for community groups that help Indigenous people with everything from groceries and mental health services to computers so kids can keep up with their school work. It comes on top of $15 million announced in March for these groups.

Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan called out those responsible for a rise in anti-Asian racism during the the conronavirus pandemic.

"Hate has no place in British Columbia," he said at a press conference Wednesday. "We are a strong and vibrant community because of the diversity that makes up this great province."


Top COVID-19 stories today

Important reminders:

Health officials widely agree the most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. 

The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 9:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Canada had 80,142 confirmed cases of COVID-19. A CBC News tally of coronavirus deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 6,136. 

The numbers are not a complete picture, as they don't account for people who haven't been tested, those being investigated as a potential case and people still waiting for test results. 

For a look at what's happening across the country and the world, check the CBC interactive case tracker.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay home. Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority or 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

Find information about COVID-19 from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available in B.C. from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. PT, seven days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep at least two metres away from people who are sick.
  • When outside the home, keep two metres away from other people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Masks won't fully protect you from infection, but can help prevent you from infecting others.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at

With files from The Canadian Press


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