Islanders have reason to celebrate after the last person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island has been sent home from the hospital.

Of the Island’s 130 confirmed total cases, 5 have passed away, and the other 125 people have recovered, leaving the Island completely free of active cases.

Dr. Bonnie Henry made the announcement in Thursday’s COVID-19 update, before also announcing four epidemiologically-linked cases: three in Island Health and one in Vancouver Coastal Health.

These “epi-linked” cases are defined as when a patient has had contact with someone with the virus, and transmission is plausible, but the person was never actually tested for COVID-19.

All four of the epi-linked cases have been found since May 19 and are since completely recovered. The provincial health officer says the discovery of these cases on the Island shows that everyone must remain vigilant, as community transmission is still possible.

Dr. Henry says she expects to find more epi-linked cases, but not too many as British Columbians have widespread access to testing.

Although there now no active cases on the Island, Dr. Henry suggests there is still risk of transmission and everyone needs to continue to allow for physical distancing.

The provincial health officer also unveiled her new mantra, “Minimize, manage and modify”, meaning to minimize the number of cases, manage the ones we have through contract tracing, and modify measures by possibly opening or closing services as needed.

Of B.C.’s 2,632 confirmed COVID-19 cases, there are 201 active cases, and 26 are hospitalized. A total of 2,265 people have fully recovered from the virus.

Of the cases since the pandemic began, 909 have been in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,334 in Fraser Health, 130 cases in Island Health, 195 in Interior Health and 64 in Northern Health.

B.C. is in phase 2 of the BC Restart Plan, with restrictions loosening and businesses reopening. Dr. Herny says everyone must remain vigilant and to keep a physical distance, but says overall, the province is doing extremely well in flattening the curve.

Rebecca Lawrence