As the province starts to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone aged 18 and above, Island Health's chief medical officer said he's relieved to see the number of active cases in the Vancouver Island Health region continuing to trend down.
"What we are seeing is a general decrease both in south and central Island," Dr. Richard Stanwick said on CBC's On the Island on Friday. "The numbers are absolutely bang on ... and that means our contact tracers are able to make sure we get a hold of anybody who has been exposed at this point."
On Friday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Arian Dix reported 494 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including eight that were reported in the Vancouver Island region.
The region has now recorded 4,875 cases since the pandemic began, and on Friday, there were 149 active cases, including 16 people in hospital and five in critical care.
Stanwick said the warmer spring weather could be a contributing factor to the overall downward trend as more people head outside to enjoy the sun.
"Fortunately, people are taking advantage of our spectacular weather and amazing things to see on the Island," he said. "So that reduces the ability of the virus to spread."
He said over 400,000 vaccines have been administered to more than half of the population and approximately three per cent have received a second dose.
"I think the key word ... is register, register, register," Stanwick said. "Our immunization clinics have been doing phenomenal."
On Thursday, more than 11,000 people received their vaccine at the immunization clinics. Stanwick said he is advising the provincial heath office that vaccine administration for students can be done more effectively and efficiently at the larger clinics rather than at schools.
"This could be a totally different approach because we've got other vaccines we would like to administer to students and we normally do that in the schools," he said, "so we may have a different program, a different look in the fall."
LISTEN | Dr. Richard Stanwick talks about the number of active COVID-19 cases on CBC's On the Island.