B.C. reports 420 cases, 6 deaths in last COVID-19 update before long weekend
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has recorded another 420 cases of COVID-19 and six related deaths, health officials said in their last update before the Victoria Day long weekend.
There have now been 141,373 coronavirus infections and 1,667 related deaths in the province since the start of the pandemic.
Case numbers have been steadily declining for weeks, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said it's important for the public to remain on their best behaviour throughout the weekend.
“This long weekend is the time to stick with all of the public health orders and travel restrictions – staying small, staying local and getting registered for your vaccine if you have not already done so," they said in a joint written statement.
The number of infections announced Friday is slightly below the average of 438 per day recorded over the past week. The rolling seven-day average has fallen by more than half since reaching a peak of 1,130 back in April, at the height of the province's third wave of the pandemic.
B.C.'s active caseload has also fallen to 4,507, the lowest it's been since March 1.
The number of people battling COVID-19 in hospital decreased to 319 on Friday, including 107 patients in intensive care.
While all of B.C.'s COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, officials have offered a ray of hope that some of the measures could be lifted on Tuesday. This week, Premier John Horgan said the "circuit breaker" measures implemented back in March will be lifted at midnight on Monday.
Henry has cautioned that the province's progress is fragile, however, and can slip away, particularly while many residents remain unvaccinated and many who have received their first dose haven't had enough time to build up antibodies.
“We need to keep pushing COVID-19 down to be able to safely turn the dial on the current restrictions. The only way we can do that is to keep using our safety layers and getting more and more people immunized," Henry and Dix said in their statement.
Another 56,660 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered since Thursday's update, bringing the total to 2,744,020. That includes 2,601,614 first doses – enough for about 51 per cent of B.C.'s population – and 143,406 second doses.
On Tuesday, Henry and Dix are scheduled to appear with Horgan again to announce the details of the province's Restart Plan. Officials have offered few hints about what the plan could include, except that British Columbians will "be able to start to plan for what that means for you, your family and your business."
“We’ll be taking a gradual approach to our restart, monitoring our progress as we go to ensure cases, outbreaks and hospitalizations don’t start to creep up. And, we need everyone to also do their part – this long weekend and in the weeks ahead," Henry and Dix said.