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New COVID-19 cases in B.C. fall below 500 in a day

Number of people actively infected with COVID-19 in B.C. falls for the 15th straight update.
Bonnie Henry maroon jacket
Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry speaks to media

Several metrics to track the COVID-19 pandemic in B.C. are trending in the right direction.

The numbers of new cases in a day, active infections and hospitalizations have all fallen to levels not seen in more than a month. 

B.C. health officials detected 494 new infections in the past 24 hours. That is the lowest number since March 15, and the first time under 500 since March 17. 

The number of people actively battling COVID-19 infections in B.C. fell for the 15th consecutive update, to 5,548 – the lowest number since March 23. The vast majority of those people have been told to self-isolate, although 387 are in hospitals. B.C. hospitals have not had so few COVID-19 patients since April 13. 

Of those hospitalized, 141 are in intensive care units. That number has stayed flat since it dropped to that level on May 11. 

Another two people died while infected with COVID-19, raising the province's pandemic death toll to 1,634.

Of the 138,304 people known to be infected with COVID-19 in B.C. since the first case was detected in January, 2020, more than 94.6%, or 130,953 people are considered by the province to have recovered. Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry explained yesterday that the province's standard for determining most recoveries is based on whether the patient is likely to be infectious. With people who have been told to self-isolate, that means that they are starting to feel better and have gone 10 days since first exhibiting symptoms. 

"If they're getting better, and – they're not 100% better because some people have persistent costs for a while – but for the most part, if you're infected and you're at home, after 10 days, you're no longer infectious to others," she said.

B.C.'s vaccine campaign has started to consistently provide close to 60,000 doses per day. In the past day, there were 57,752 doses provided to 52,563 new people, with 5,189 people getting needed second doses. 

Since the first vaccine jab was administered on December 16, B.C. officials have provided 2,393,265 doses of vaccine to 2,268,385 people, with 124,880 of those getting two doses. 

As of today, anyone 25 years old, and older, can book appointments to get vaccine shots. By the end of the weekend, all adults 18 years old, and older, B.C.-wide will be eligible.

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement urged everyone to register in the province's online system

"Don't wait until you are eligible to book," they said. "Rather, take two minutes today to register in advance to fast track your appointment booking."

People who are 18 years old, or older, and who live in what the province considers a hot spot for COVID-19 infection are able to book appointments now. To do this, those otherwise ineligible to book appointments will need to include their postal code.

The province breaks down the areas it considers hot spots by health region.

In Fraser Health, the communities named by the province are:
• Abbotsford Rural;
• Burnaby Southeast;
• Burnaby Southwest;
• Central Abbotsford;
• Cloverdale;
• East Abbotsford;
• East Newton;
• Fleetwood;
• Guildford;
• North Delta;
• North Surrey;
• Panorama;
• Port Coquitlam;
• South Langley Township;
• South Mission;
• West Abbotsford;
• West Newton;
• Whalley; and
• Willoughby.

In Vancouver Coastal Health, the eligible areas are: 
• Britannia Beach;
• Cedar Cottage;
• D'arcy;
• Grandview-Woodland;
• Hastings-Sunrise;
• Kensington;
• Killarney;
• Pinecrest Estates;
• Renfrew-Collingwood;
• Squamish;
• Sunset; and
• Victoria-Fraserview.

In Interior Health, the eligible areas are:
• Golden;
• Rutland; and
• Summerland.

In Northern Health, the eligible areas are:
• Dawson Creek;
• Fort Nelson Population Centre;
• Fort St. John; and
• Fort St. James North.

There were no new outbreaks at long-term care facilities, and no outbreaks were declared over.

That means, there remain three outbreaks at long-term care homes in B.C., all of which are in the Interior Health region:
• Orchard Haven in Keremeos;
• Sandalwood Retirement Resort in Kelowna; and
• Spring Valley Care Centre in Kelowna.

The two B.C. hospitals with active COVID-19 outbreaks are Dawson Creek and District Hospital and Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom