Five people died of COVID-19 in B.C. over the weekend, including someone in their 20s, B.C. health officials announced on Monday as they unveiled the latest modelling that suggests a dramatic drop in transmission of the disease.
During the first update on the pandemic since Friday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said another 145 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in B.C. over the last three days — an average of 48 cases a day.
The seven-day rolling average of new cases has now fallen to 62, the lowest number the province has seen since last August.
While an official announcement has yet to be made, Henry said "things are looking really good" for B.C. to move to Step 3 of the reopening plan on the target date of July 1.
Henry presented modelling that shows a steep and sustained decline in B.C.'s caseload, and said she was heartened to see that some pockets of the province were completely free from new cases in the last week.
Henry also noted that deaths from COVID-19 have stayed relatively low even during the punishing third wave of the pandemic, which she said "reflects the ongoing durable protection from immunization."
COVID-19 in British Columbia by the numbers
She presented preliminary results from a study of people between the ages of 50 and 69 who received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine this spring.
"Immunization is preventing seven out of 10 infections," Henry said.
Meanwhile, the reproductive rate of the virus, which shows how many new cases are resulting from each person infected with the virus, is now consistently well below one in every part of the province.
"We now have a sustained low reproductive rate. For most people that are infected, they are not passing this virus on to anyone else," Henry said.
She added that this is how the pandemic will "fizzle out" in B.C.
Deaths per day due to COVID-19 in B.C., daily total and rolling average
There are now 930 active cases of the novel coronavirus across the province. Of those, 107 people are in hospital, including 37 who are in intensive care.
To date, 4,886,709 doses of vaccine have been administered, including 1,320,194 second doses. A total of 78.1 per cent of adults and 76.8 per cent of people over the age of 12 have now received at least one shot, while 30.5 per cent of adults have now received both doses.
Though some appointments had to be rebooked during the hot weather this weekend, a new high of 427,000 doses of vaccine were administered across the province last week, including 61,053 shots over the last three days — a record for a weekend.
B.C.'s COVID-19 vaccination progress
While the data collected to date suggests that vaccines have significantly reduced deaths related to the virus, Henry noted that they aren't 100-per-cent effective. So far, 65 people who've received one dose have still died of COVID-19, as did nine people who were fully vaccinated.
To date, 1,754 people have died of COVID-19 in B.C. The five deaths reported this weekend include one person in their 20s, one in their 60s and three in their 70s.
Henry said she couldn't provide further information about the young person who died, except to say they are in the Fraser Health region.
Meanwhile, the modelling presented Monday suggests that the high transmissible delta variant of the virus now accounts for about 12 per cent of cases in B.C., up from about four per cent in the last modelling update on June 10.
Despite that, Henry said the number of cases is dropping steadily across all the different variants of the virus.
Current hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in B.C.
British Columbians are being encouraged by health officials to get two doses of the vaccine as soon as they are invited to do so.
British Columbians aged 12 and over can register in three ways:
By calling 1-833-838-2323. Translators are available in 140 languages.
The province is aiming to have most people receive their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine eight weeks after their first.
Location of new COVID-19 cases in B.C. by health authority