B.C. anticipates moving to Step 2 of reopening next week

·3 min read

B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province is making good progress and is anticipating moving to the next step of reopening next week.

“We’re bridging still from a time of orders and restrictions to a time when we can safely spend time with others once again,” said Henry.

“As we look to next week and next month, we will keep progressing through this phase, Step 2 is coming up, and so far the data that we have is supporting that we can go there. I’m confident that we can take this step as long as we increase our contacts in a slow and measured way, we register and get fully vaccinated, we use our layers of protection and continue to support each other with kindness and compassion.”

To date, 3,823,103 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C.; 443,562 of those are second doses. This means that 74.9 per cent of B.C. adults and 72.8 per cent of those over age 12 have received at least one dose.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said in the last 24 hours, 73,345 vaccine doses were administered—54,608 of the Pfizer vaccine, 10,735 of the Moderna vaccine and 8,002 second doses of AstraZeneca vaccine provided at pharmacies.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said invitations for second doses will be sent after the eight-week mark for all vaccines. Appointments for second doses may take one to three weeks.

She added that immunization is levelling off in most age groups around the 80 per cent mark. In younger cohorts, the levelling off is happening at a slightly lower number, so the province is targeting its efforts to make sure younger people are being immunized as well.

While the data indicates B.C. is beating the third wave, serious effects of COVID-19 continue to be seen across the province. Two local healthcare outbreaks continue at Richmond Lions Manor-Bridgeport care home and Richmond Hospital. Elsewhere in the province, there are four other long-term care, assisted living and independent living facilities and one acute care facility with active outbreaks.

Despite the active outbreak, Dix said Richmond Hospital resumed non-essential surgeries and opened all its operating rooms on June 7.

Sadly, there were four new virus-related deaths reported today, bringing that total to 1,729. Of the people who lost their lives, one was in their 50s, one in their 60s and two over age 80.

Henry reported 153 new cases of COVID-19 today. Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 145,996 cases.

Of the new cases, 21 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 73 in the Fraser Health region, 11 in the Island Health region, 39 in the Interior Health region and nine in the Northern Health region.

Henry said the province is now doing whole genome sequencing on all its cases, determine how many are variants of concern. This helps health officials learn how outbreaks are transmitted and what strains are circulating. The primary strains in the province continue to be the Alpha and Gamma strains, previously known as the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) and P.1 (Brazil) variant respectively.

There are 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 176 of those people are hospitalized, 49 of whom are in intensive care.

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel

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