B.C. records 113 new cases of COVID-19 and 4 more deaths
There are 134 people in hospital with the disease, 41 of whom are in intensive care
B.C. health officials announced 113 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths on Wednesday.
In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are currently 1,454 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C. Wednesday's update includes zero new case in the North Health region.
A total of 134 people are in hospital, with 41 in intensive care.
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are down by 31 per cent from last Wednesday, when 195 people were in hospital with the disease.
The number of patients in intensive care is down by about 13 per cent from 47 a week ago.
So far, 4,165,142 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 710,847 second doses. That means 76.3 per cent of B.C. adults and 74.6 per cent of those over the age of 12 have received their first shot.
"British Columbia has some of the highest levels of immunization for Dose 1 in the world — something we can be incredibly proud of — and we have the ability to push that even higher," Henry and Dix said.
"If you haven't yet had a chance to book your first dose, please take a moment to do that today. Equally important, encourage those around you to do the same."
While the overall vaccination rate is high, the push to get first doses into arms appears to have slowed. Just 8,881 first doses were administered on Tuesday, the lowest number since March 8.
The provincial death toll from the disease is now 1,738 lives lost out of 146,674 confirmed cases to date.
Meanwhile, an outbreak at Spring Valley Care Centre in Kelowna has been declared over.
Cases down, optimism up
The number of active COVID-19 cases and people hospitalized due to the virus in the province has plummeted in recent weeks.
The continuing downward trend in B.C.'s caseload and hospitalizations comes as B.C. enters Step 2 of its reopening plan, loosening some restrictions on travel, fitness and outdoor gatherings.
The following activities were green-lit by health officials this week:
- Recreational travel across B.C.
- Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people.
- Organized indoor gatherings of up to 50 people, in places like movie theatres or banquet halls.
- Indoor team sports and fitness classes.
- Indoor faith gatherings with up to 50 people, or 10 per cent of the building's total capacity, whichever is greater.
- Alcohol service at restaurants, bars and pubs until midnight
Masks and physical distancing are still mandatory. Personal indoor gatherings must remain small: just one additional household or five other people. People living in other Canadian provinces and territories are being asked to stay home for the time being.
"It's not going to be a zero to 100 in one day," said Henry, speaking Wednesday morning on CBC's The Early Edition.
However, B.C.'s top doctor did say she is optimistic about the progress she has seen so far.
"We'll need to continue to watch how it's changing, but we need to get those social connections back. We need to get back into our workplaces in a more fulsome way. And I'm comforted by July, we'll be getting that," she said.
More than 76 per cent of adult British Columbians have now received a first dose of vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
Henry said Wednesday health officials are currently focusing attention on people who have not yet registered or received a shot.
"We now have to shift a little bit and try and find people," she said, adding that work is being done now to make it more convenient for people in smaller communities in the North and the Interior to get a shot.
British Columbians aged 12 and over can register in three ways:
- Online through the new Get Vaccinated portal.
- By calling 1-833-838-2323. Translators are available in 140 languages.
- In person at any Service B.C. location.
Health officials have stressed the importance of vaccinations to ensure the safety of all British Columbians as the province begins to relax COVID-19 restrictions.
With files from Bridgette Watson, The Early Edition and Justin McElroy