Immunization working, making difference in B.C., gradual reopening on horizon

Immunization working, making difference in B.C., gradual reopening on horizon
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COVID-19 immunization programs are making a difference in British Columbia and health officials say a gradual loosening of restrictions is being considered as case numbers decline.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says government data is showing reduced community transmissions as more people receive their first doses of vaccine.

But she says any relaxing of current health restrictions on large gatherings and other events won’t be under consideration until after the May holiday weekend and likely not until at least Canada Day.

“We will not be seeing any changes to the measures that we have in place right now until after the May long weekend, and even then, it’s not going to be flicking the switch. It’s going to be gradually and slowly increasing the light,” said Dr. Henry during a press conference on Thursday.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says more than 50 per cent of eligible people in B.C. have received their first vaccine dose, but current daily COVID-19 case counts of 500 to 600 people are still too high.

Henry reports 587 new infections today and five deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 1,632 people.

Henry also confirms a second person in B.C., a male in his 40s in the Fraser Health region, suffered the rare blood-clotting disorder after receiving a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, but he’s listed in stable condition in hospital.

With files to the Canadian Press

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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