British Columbia

More than 1 million in B.C. now fully vaccinated as health officials announce 56 new cases of COVID-19

There have been no deaths from COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, while 56 new cases were confirmed, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday, as she revealed that more than one million people have now been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

111 people in hospital, 41 in intensive care

People wait in line outside Canada Place in Vancouver for their COVID-19 vaccination on June 21. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

There have been no deaths from COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, while 56 new cases were confirmed, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday, as she revealed that more than one million people have now been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

Speaking from Prince George, Henry said there are 1,150 active cases of the novel coronavirus across B.C. The seven-day rolling average of new cases has dropped below 90 — a level B.C. hasn't seen since September, at the very beginning of the pandemic's second wave.

"Immunization has changed the game for us," Henry said.

A total of 111 patients are currently in hospital, including 41 who are in intensive care. Since last Tuesday, the number of patients in hospital has dropped by 20 per cent, although the number in intensive care has risen by about five per cent.

According to the latest numbers, 77.7 per cent of all adults and 76.2 per cent of those 12 and up have received a first dose, and the percentage of those who have received both shots is rising rapidly. A new high of 75,491 shots went into arms on Monday, including 65,791 second doses — also the highest total to date.

As of Tuesday, 4,511,923 doses of vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 1,001,192 second doses.

Henry said B.C. has seen about an 80 per cent drop in cases in those who have been fully immunized.

 

She said there has been a fluctuation in supplies of the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna mRNA vaccines, but everyone awaiting their second shot should not be concerned if they have to mix and match their doses.

"Really, these are the same vaccines," Henry said. "It's just packaged slightly differently."

She explained that part of the reason she is visiting the Northern Health region this week is to speak to public health officials about ways to make it easier for vaccines to reach as many people as possible.

Henry said she hasn't seen widespread anti-vaccination sentiments in any part of the province, but there are a number of smaller communities, especially in the northeast, where it has been difficult for residents to find a convenient vaccination clinic. She urged local residents who have ideas about good locations for clinics to contact the health authority to let them know.

"When we pay attention to different areas and we use different strategies, they work," she said.

 

Across the province, anyone who has not yet registered to be immunized is encouraged by health officials to do so now.

British Columbians aged 12 and over can register in three ways:

The province is aiming to have most people get their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine eight weeks after their first.

 

State of emergency could soon be cancelled

Also on Tuesday, the B.C. government announced that it is extending the COVID-19 state of emergency for yet another two weeks, but signalled that it could be cancelled before July 6 if case numbers and hospitalizations keep falling while vaccinations accelerate.

"Better days are within reach this summer, but we need to carefully guard our progress against COVID-19," Premier John Horgan said in a news release.

The state of emergency related to the pandemic in the province was first declared on March 18, 2020.

The province is currently in the second step of its four-step reopening plan with the intent of lifting virtually all COVID-19 restrictions by September.

British Columbians are currently permitted to travel throughout the province, Horgan has asked people without essential business to stay out of B.C. until further notice.

 

On Monday, the federal government announced that fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will be able to enter Canada and not need to quarantine as of July 5.

Those entering Canada will need to show proof they received two doses of a vaccine approved in Canada at least 14 days prior to entry. They'll also have to submit COVID-19-related information to the government's ArriveCAN app before arriving, meet the pre- and on-arrival test requirements, be asymptomatic and still have a suitable quarantine plan.

Those arriving by air will not be required to stay at a government-authorized hotel, nor will non-vaccinated children or dependent adults travelling with them.

With files from Justin McElroy, Courtney Dickson and Bridgette Watson

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