British Columbia health officials have reported 1,360 new COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths since their last update on May 14.
From May 14 to May 15, there were 443 new cases identified; from May 15 to May 16, there were 493 new cases; and in the past 24 hours, there were an additional 424 new cases identified.
The number of confirmed cases in B.C. is now at 139,664 while the death toll climbs to 1,648.
Of the new cases, 291 were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health, 861 were in Fraser Health, 36 were in Island Health, 126 were in Interior Health, 47 and were in Northern Health.
There are currently 5,021 active cases in the province, 350 people in hospital — 132 of whom are in intensive care.
A total of 132,841 people in B.C. have recovered from COVID-19 while more than 2.5 million doses of vaccine have been administered province-wide.
Currently, there are 171 active cases on Vancouver Island and 13 people in hospital, four of whom are in critical care, according to the latest data available on the BCCDC’s dashboard.
Active cases are down roughly 70 per cent since April 6.
Since the last update on May 14, a total of 23,345 doses of vaccine were administered in the region. Of those, 17,922 doses were the Pfizer vaccine, 4,999 doses were Moderna, and 424 doses were the AstraZeneca vaccine.
There have been 4,941 cases reported, 39 deaths, 242 total hospitalizations and 417,058 doses of vaccine administered on Vancouver Island since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, Island Health reported 126 active cases on Vancouver Island in its latest dashboard update.
Of those active cases, 48 are in the South Island, 50 are in Central Island, and 28 are in the North Island.
The health authority also says 65 per cent of all new cases identified on Vancouver Island in the past seven days are linked to a confirmed case, cluster or outbreak while just three per cent were linked to international travel.
When it comes to active cases, however, Island Health’s data often differs from the BCCDC’s data due to a “difference in timing of reporting across laboratory and public health data sources.”
During Monday’s update, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said with vaccine registrations now available for those 18 or older in B.C., everyone should get registered as soon as possible.
“It is now your turn, all of our turn, and I encourage everyone to get immunized as soon as you can,” she said.
Henry also addressed the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying that studies have shown that protection increases after the first dose goes up for a period as long as 12 weeks.
“We know that even a delay for up to 12 weeks means that you get better protection from the vaccine,” she said.
British Columbia’s remaining stock of AstraZeneca — around 20,000 doses — won’t expire until the end of June, according to Henry, who said those who received their first dose of AstraZeneca will have the option of choosing which brand they want for their second shot.
“You will have the option of receiving the second dose of AstraZeneca and we have stock coming in to be able to support that. Or you can take the information once we have it and make your own decision about what you want for your second dose,” she said.
No changes coming to provincial health orders ahead of May long weekend
With the Victoria Day long weekend approaching, B.C.’s top doctor took a moment during Monday’s briefing to discuss the future, saying that while we want things to be different this summer, that’s not happening, at least not yet.
“I know that for many people, this May long weekend is often the unofficial kick-off to summer and I know we are all looking forward to this summer being different,” said Dr. Henry. “But we are not yet ready to make any changes to our current provincial health orders this week.”
That means, said Henry, that people must continue to stay local and take protective measures this long weekend, even as more people get vaccinated.
“This long weekend, it is important for all of us to stay the course,” she said.
With around 400 to 500 people per day testing positive for COVID-19 in British Columbia and numerous people having just received their vaccinations and still developing protection from the virus, Henry urged people to follow provincial health orders.
“We have to do all we can to stop those transmissions as we are all developing this protection, that’s why we can’t be making any changes right now, we can’t be travelling and we can’t be having any large gatherings this weekend,” she said.
But, after the long weekend, Henry suggested that things could be different.
“We will be able to move on and move ahead and we will be reviewing the number of people vaccinated, the peek of three-week effectiveness, as well as the level of community transmission over the next few days to determine where we can go from here,” she said.
No one wants to see a surge in infections in two weeks’ time, which, said Henry, would set the province back again — potentially impacting the summer — and is the reason why everyone must continue following provincial health orders and safety protocols.
“We all need to hold the line. What you do today, determines where we will all be two to three weeks from now and that is why everything that we are doing right now will make a difference for our summer,” explained Henry.