B.C. reports 515 cases of COVID-19, the lowest single-day increase since mid-March
VANCOUVER -- B.C. health officials announced 515 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the lowest single-day increase in infections since mid-March.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix also reported two more deaths related to the disease, bringing the local death toll to 1,624.
"Our condolences are with the family, friends and caregivers of the people who have died as a result of COVID-19," Henry and Dix said in a joint written statement.
B.C. has now recorded 136,624 infections since the start of the pandemic, and roughly 94 per cent are considered to be recovered.
The province's daily case increases remain high, but have been moving in the right direction for weeks.
The last time B.C. reported fewer cases in a day was March 17, when officials announced 498 new infections.
The weekly average has dropped to 609 cases per day, down from an all-time high of 1,130 on April 12, while B.C.'s active caseload has fallen to 6,020, down from a record of 10,081 on April 16.
Hospitalizations have also been coming down, though progress has been shaky. The number of people battling COVID-19 in hospital increased to 426 on Tuesday, from 415 on Monday, while patients in intensive care dropped to 141, from 150.
Meanwhile, the province is continuing its ramped up immunization program. Another 60,753 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered since the last update, bringing the provincial total to 2,219,856.
That includes 2,109,340 first doses – enough to protect 41 per cent of the population – and 110,516 second doses.
Henry and Dix urged any B.C. adult who has not yet registered for a vaccination to do so.
"Last week, almost 400,000 people registered for their vaccine. We can break that record this week," they said.
"Speak with your friends and family – young and old. If they are not yet registered, help them to sign up to ensure their doses are reserved for them."
Beginning on Tuesday evening, health authorities in the Lower Mainland will begin booking vaccine appointments for registered residents 36 and up. Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health will begin booking those 30 and up on Wednesday evening.
Earlier in the day, the Ontario government announced it would no longer offer AstraZeneca as a first dose due to the rare reports of blood clots associated with the vaccine. As of May 8, eight residents of that province have developed blood clots following vaccination.
Asked about Ontario's decision on Tuesday, B.C. health officials called the AstraZeneca vaccine "safe and effective."
“Since we are not expecting any additional AstraZeneca supply in the short term, we will continue our vaccination effort primarily with Pfizer and Moderna," a Ministry of Health spokesperson said in an email.
"We do expect to receive additional AstraZeneca to ensure everyone can receive their second dose, or if they prefer to receive AstraZeneca over a mRNA vaccine or have contraindications to mRNA, like an allergic reaction."