The seven day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases in B.C. continued to fall Tuesday, as the province recorded 165 new cases of the virus and no new deaths.
In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are currently 2,051 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.
A total of 203 people are in hospital, with 57 in intensive care.
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are down by 20 per cent from last Tuesday, when 254 people were in hospital with the disease.
The number of patients in intensive care is down by about 29 per cent from 80 a week ago.
The provincial death toll from the disease remains at 1,722 lives lost out of 145,695 confirmed cases.
An outbreak at the Brookside Lodge in Surrey, the second outbreak at the long-term care facility over the course of the pandemic, has now been declared over.
So far, 3.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with about 71.9 per cent of eligible British Columbians over the age of 12 having received a first dose and 345,508, a second jab. On Monday, 31,262 second doses were administered, a new high for second doses delivered in a single day.
"It is very encouraging to see a steady increase in the number of people in our province who are protected with a COVID-19 vaccine," Henry and Dix said. "And now, more and more people are fully vaccinated with both of their doses."
'On track' to relax restrictions
On Monday, Deputy Provincial Health Officer Réka Gustafson signalled that the end of the province's emergency response to COVID-19 is in sight.
Gustafson said public health officials are starting to plan a move away from managing COVID-19 as an emergency.
As cases decline and vaccination rates rise, she said she has hope the virus will soon become "an expertly managed communicable disease that we rarely hear about" like other illnesses.
Addressing questions about B.C.'s four-step plan to reopen the province, Gustafson said "we are on track" to move on to Step 2 on the target date of June 15.
That would mean no more travel restrictions within the province and outdoor social gatherings with up to 50 people would be allowed.
"We are on a good path to get back to work, to school, to university, to seeing friends, to travelling," she said.
Book a shot, get a shot
Any eligible British Columbian who has not booked an appointment for their first vaccine dose is encouraged to do so immediately.
Anyone aged 12 and older can register in three ways to be immunized against COVID-19:
By calling 1-833-838-2323. Translators are available in 140 languages.
Those who received their vaccine before the Get Vaccinated portal launched on April 6 would have booked through the old system and would not have been registered with the province's current online registration system.
Those people need to register now to receive an email or text notification of their second dose appointment.
Health officials continue to remind British Columbians who received AztraZeneca-Oxford as a first dose that they can choose to either received the same vaccine for their second dose, or have one of the mRNA vaccines.
"Take the time to think through your options so you are ready when your eight weeks come up, and it is your turn. Whether you return to your pharmacy or go to a mass clinic for an mRNA vaccine, there is enough vaccine for everyone," Henry and Dix said.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) says, where warranted, people may mix and match AstraZeneca-Oxford, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
However, when it comes to people aged 12 to 17, Pfizer is still the only vaccine approved for use.