What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for May 3

·5 min read
Two people eat at a table on a sidewalk outside a restaurant in Vancouver on April 15.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Two people eat at a table on a sidewalk outside a restaurant in Vancouver on April 15. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

THE LATEST:

  • B.C. announced 2,714 COVID-19 cases over a three-day period Monday, for a daily average of 725 cases.

  • 15 more people died from the disease, most of them in their 70s.

  • There are 7,327 active COVID-19 cases in B.C.

  • More than 45 per cent of eligible British Columbians have received at least one vaccine dose.

  • 474 people are in hospital, the lowest number since April 20.

  • Of the people in hospital, 176 are in intensive care.

  • Everyone in B.C. will be able to receive a first dose sooner than July 1 goal, says Dr. Bonnie Henry.

  • The province is looking to shrink the four-month window between first and second doses as supply increases.

  • Henry says big outdoor events won't be taking place this summer or fall, but smaller events should be allowed.

B.C.'s third-wave curve continues to decrease as the province Monday confirmed 2,174 new COVID-19 cases over a three-day period.

The province confirmed 835 cases Friday to Saturday, 671 cases Saturday to Sunday, and 668 cases Sunday to Monday, for a daily average of 725 cases.

That marks a 13-per-cent drop from the previous Monday, as B.C.'s third-wave curve continues to decline, more than a month after the province implemented a "circuit breaker"-style lockdown on indoor activities.

"There are some encouraging signs that our efforts are working," said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

"We are starting to come down on the other side of the curve. And as we have seen in places like the U.K. and the U.S., once we get down that curve, we can start to see dramatic decreases."

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix cautioned that hospitalizations remain too high and are straining the province's health-care system. He said residents must continue to adhere to public health measures to protect health-care workers.

Transmission down by as much as 40 per cent

Sally Otto, a UBC professor and COVID-19 modeller tracking variants, said over the weekend the province is heading in the right direction after what appeared to be an ominous third wave.

"It is really striking how British Columbia has been able to bend the curve when things are starting to spiral out of control," she said.

Otto says getting more people vaccinated and the so-called circuit-breaker health measures have reduced transmission by as much as 40 per cent.

"If we can hold these restrictions where we are, in a month when we've got a lot more people vaccinated, then we can really look forward to opening things back up," she said.

Vaccinations on 'warp speed'

As of Monday, 1,877,330 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 91,731 second doses. More than 45 per cent of eligible British Columbians have now received a first dose.

Henry said the province is entering a new era of vaccinations, with the province expecting to receive more than a million doses in May.

Henry said the province will be able to meet its goal of providing the first shot to every eligible British Columbian by July 1 and likely sooner than that.

She said as increased shipments continue, the province should be able to shrink the four-month window between the first and second doses.

Getting jabbed

Henry also urged all B.C. residents to register online for their vaccinations, even those who received their first vaccine from a pharmacy.

She said pharmacies and workplaces are inputting doses into the province's immunization registry, but glitches and delays can happen.

British Columbians aged 54 and older who have registered to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are now receiving invitations from the province to book their shots, while everyone 18 and older can register for their vaccination.

Registering for a vaccine is not the same as booking the appointment to get your shot. Once registered, users receive a confirmation code. They then wait for an email, text or call telling them they are eligible and can then book their vaccine appointment using that code.

The province is also vaccinating people between the ages of 30 and 65 with the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in local pharmacies throughout the province.

There are three ways to register for vaccinations:

  • By phone through the provincial phone line at 1-833-838-2323.

  • In person at any Service B.C. location.

B.C. has also begun booking appointments to immunize priority front-line groups such as first responders and teachers.

Winona Waldron, president of the Greater Victoria Teachers' Association, said district teachers were notified Friday and some had successfully booked appointments for as early as Monday.

"Just huge, huge relief," said Waldon, during an interview on CBC's On The Island.

Read more:

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of Sunday, Canada has reported 1,234,180 cases of COVID-19, with a five per cent decrease in active cases from the week before.

A total of 24,299 people have died of the disease.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.

  • Cough.

  • Tiredness.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Loss of taste or smell.

  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.

  • Keep at least two metres away from people outside your bubble. Keep your distance from people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.