COVID-19 in B.C.: Dr. Bonnie Henry raises hope of outdoor arts events and urges pregnant women to get immunized

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Today, B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, ruled out massive public events this summer, fall, and winter with many thousands of participants.

      That means there will be no huge parties like the Vancouver Pride Parade and the Honda Celebration of Light.

      But Henry didn't rule out all outdoor arts and cultural gatherings during her Monday briefing.

      "What we hope—with the program we are on now, with the amount of vaccine we have—is that we will be able to have some small outdoor events," Henry said. "I can say there is not likely to be big events of any sort even outdoors through this summer and into the fall and winter of next year."

      She added that it might be possible to have hundreds of people at these events.

      Henry noted that in the U.K., where there's been more vaccinations, they are experimenting with public gatherings by monitoring participants before and after to learn how to mitigate risk.

      She also encouraged pregnant women to get vaccinated if they're eligible.

      Prior to saying this, Henry told reporters that the B.C. immunization committee and public health team are reviewing data with perinatal colleagues. 

      In addition, Henry said that "small numbers of pregnant women" have needed to be hospitalized, some in intensive care, due to contracting COVID-19.

      Moreover, Henry said that an important study in the U.S. reaffirmed the safety of all of the vaccines available in B.C. in all stages of pregnancy.

      "We also know now that there is good evidence in that immunization in women who are breastfeeding means transfer of antibodies to the infant as well," Henry said. "So that's good news in protection of infants."

      Today, she reported 2,174 new cases of COVID-19 over the past three days, bringing the provincial total to 131,656.

      Henry also revealed that there have been 15 new COVID-19 deaths in B.C. That has raised the number of fatalities in this province to 1,596 from the virus.

      There are 474 people in hospital, including 176 in intensive care.

      Nearly 1.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., of which 91,731 are second doses.