B.C.’s COVID-19 daily infection rate declined to below 700 over the weekend, and the number of people in hospital with coronavirus-related conditions fell from more than 500 to 474 by Monday.
B.C. recorded 835 new cases in the 24 hours up to Saturday, 671 up to Sunday and 668 up to Monday, with 176 people in intensive care units. There were 15 COVID-19 related deaths over the three days.
B.C.’s daily cases have been declining since reaching their highest rate in early April at more than 1,200, returning to below 800 last week. Hospitalization, a key indicator that lags behind new cases as more people are infected, rose to more than 500 for the first time in late April, and elective surgeries were cancelled at Lower Mainland hospitals for the first time since they were restored last summer.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the infection rate and pressure on hospitals are still “way too high,” with surge beds activated in Lower Mainland hospitals to keep up with serious cases. Dix and Henry urged everyone eligible to register and get vaccine as it becomes available, with more than 40 per cent of eligible adults having received at least one dose and vaccine supplies increasing significantly starting this week.
Henry said the vaccine supply will also allow B.C. to deliver second doses more quickly, and research into “mix and match” vaccinations using two different types is being watched carefully, as B.C. approaches having first doses offered to all adults by the end of June.
“As we open up immunization to all adults and we get everyone their first dose, we will be speeding up second doses as well,” Henry said.
Henry said people who have had a shot of AstraZeneca vaccine through pharmacies should also register with the main program, but should not attempt to get different vaccine if they receive an invitation in error. There are “glitches” as hundreds of pharmacies add their patient data to a provincial database that collects all immunization records from childhood up, Henry said, and people who have had a first dose should wait for notification that they are due for a second dose.