COVID-19 in B.C.: Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares for "summer of hope...summer of healing"

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      Today, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke from Prince George, where she is meeting with Northern Health teams, while B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix broadcast from Vancouver. 

      “As we move through Step 2 of the B.C.’s Restart plan, we are progressing well,” Henry said. “We continue to see a sustained drop in hospitalizations, in new cases and clusters in communities across the province.”

      Henry said this gives us a “strong foundation” for a “summer of hope and a summer of healing”, in which COVID-19 will “be in the background, instead of front and centre in our lives”. 

      She pointed out that the province is diverse and that each region has experienced different challenges, such as in the north where some communities may be small but are closely interconnected. She added that there are rural areas spread out in the north where it is challenging for people to travel to visit an immunization clinic.  

      She added that the virus is still with us, and that examples from around the world, including the U.K., Israel, and the Yukon, show how outbreaks and rapid transmission can still occur and cause serious illness. 

      The B.C. government extended the provincial state of emergency to July 6. However, the Public Safety Ministry stated in a news release that “the state of emergency may be cancelled before July 6 if B.C. continues to see solid progress on case numbers, hospitalizations, and vaccination rates”. 

      Step 3 of the B.C. Restart Plan could potentially begin on July 1 at the earliest. 

      Meanwhile, B.C.’s immunization program passed a major milestone—over 1 million second doses have now been administered.

      In addition, in-person B.C. COVID-19 briefings are being reduced from twice per week to once per week, while written statements will continue to be issued during weekdays. 

      B.C. update: June 22

      Henry said that B.C. has 56 new COVID-19 cases today.

      • 18 in Fraser Health;
      • 15 in Interior Health;
      • 12 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • seven in Northern Health;
      • three in Island Health;
      • one person from outside of Canada.

      The number of active cases continues to drop. A decrease of 54 cases since yesterday leaves 1,150 currently active cases today.

      However, hospitalized cases slightly increased. With three more cases than yesterday, there are 111 individuals currently in hospitals, and 41 of them are in intensive care units (seven fewer than yesterday). 

      Some good news: there are no new COVID-19-related deaths today. However, the number of fatalities during the pandemic is at 1,743 people who have died in B.C.

      With 110 recoveries since yesterday, a cumulative total of 144,263 people have now recovered.

      B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 147,187 cases during the pandemic.

      In B.C.’s immunization program, 77.7 percent of all adults in B.C. and 76.2 percent of those 12 and older have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

      A total of 4,511,923 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered in B.C., and 1,001,192 of those are second doses.

      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix
      Province of British Columbia

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Today, Northern Health declared the outbreak over at Heritage Manor II in Fort St. John, where there were a total of five cases and no deaths. 

      Vancouver Coastal Health imposed restrictions at Hollyburn House Care Centre in Vancouver on June 21 though an outbreak has not yet been announced. 

      There are now only three active outbreaks in healthcare facilities: two in longterm care facilities and one in an acute care facility. 

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following flights to its public exposure lists (affected row information is listed at the BCCDC website when available):

      • June 14: WestJet 3116, Victoria to Calgary;
      • June 15: Air Canada 204, Vancouver to Calgary;
      • June 15: Air Canada/Jazz 8543, Winnipeg to Vancouver.