COVID-19 update: B.C. adds 108 cases as province relaxes more restrictions
British Columbia reported 108 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, hours after officials opened up the province for recreational travel and relaxed several other public health restrictions.
There have now been 146,561 COVID-19 infections and 1,734 related deaths in B.C. since the start of the pandemic. Health officials had no new coronavirus-related fatalities to report on Tuesday.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 increased by three to 139, while the number of patients in intensive care decreased by three to 39.
The update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix continued the encouraging downward trend in case numbers that's been happening for just over two months.
The rolling weekly average has dropped to 124 cases per day, the lowest it's been since Oct. 11 and roughly one-tenth of the all-time high of 1,130 cases per day recorded back in April.
Much of that progress has been credited to B.C.'s immunization program, which has now administered at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to about 76 per cent of the province's adult population.
In total, 4,102,905 shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca have been given out so far, including 657,491 second doses.
The vaccine protection could be tested under Step 2 of the government's restart plan, which allows for non-essential travel across the province, outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people, and the resumption of high-intensity indoor fitness classes. Bars and restaurants are also now allowed to serve liquor until midnight.
"As has been the case since the start of the pandemic, our success in this next phase is dependent on all of us doing our part to keep COVID-19 low and slow," Henry and Dix said in a joint written statement.
"Let's work together to continue to progress on this path."
While the tourism industry has been anxiously awaiting Tuesday's reopening, health officials asked travellers to be mindful of where they're going and not impose on communities that aren't welcoming visitors yet.
"Some people and some communities are moving at a slower pace – a pace that works for them," Henry sand Dix said. "Please be respectful when making any travel plans."
Step 1 of B.C.'s restart plan allowed residents to host up to five visitors (or one household) at home for things like dinner parties, and brought back indoor dining in restaurants. So far, there hasn't been a noticeable impact on case numbers.
Of all the infections identified across the province so far, about 98 per cent – or 143,299 people – have recovered.