COVID-19 in B.C.: Dose interval shortened; non-urgent surgeries resume; UBC rapid-testing clinic; and more

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      After three days with a new case count below 300, today’s count rose near the 400 mark.

      As part of B.C.’s reopening plan, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that updated guidelines have been posted for indoor services that can resume today, with a maximum of 50 people.

      She also said that guidelines for overnight camps for children will be amended to allow them to take place this summer.

      UBC rapid-testing clinic

      UBC announced today that yesterday, it opened a rapid-testing COVID-19 clinic for students in residence, faculty, staff, and other groups living and working at the Point Grey campus.

      The clinic is located at the Orchard Commons Residence, and it’s an expansion of the rapid-testing pilot held at UBC Vancouver from February to April, in which 1,100 people participated.

      This clinic which will operate for 13 weeks, also includes a clinical trial that will collect data to determine the viability of self-administered rapid COVID-19 testing for potential use by the Canadian public. People can opt to participate in the clinical trial.

      More information about the clinic is available at a UBC website.

      Henry said at today’s briefing that the self-test kits were only recently approved for use in Canada and that testing teams across Canada are taking at look at where these kits can be used. She said that they have “limited usefulness” but can help support people return to workplaces, communal living settings, or correctional facilities, and can be used to identify clusters early.


      B.C. update: May 27

      Henry said there are 378 new cases in B.C. today. By region, that includes:

      • 189 new cases in Fraser Health (50 percent);
      • 98 in Vancouver Coastal Health (26 percent);
      • 68 in Interior Health (18 percent);
      • 14 in Northern Health (four percent);
      • nine in Island Health (two percent);
      • no one from outside Canada.

      Active cases decreased by 37 cases to 3,543 active cases today.

      Hospitalized cases also decreased by 10 cases to 286 people in hospitals today, with 88 of those patients in intensive care units (nine fewer people since yesterday).

      In comparison, B.C. Health Minister Dix pointed out that B.C.’s record high for hospitalized cases was 511 people, and a high of 183 patients in intensive care units.

      With the strain on the healthcare system alleviated, Dix said that non-urgent scheduled surgeries can now begin to resume. He gave a presentation about surgeries, which have been postponed since April 19, during the third COVID-19 wave that began on April 12.

      Tragically, fatalities remain high—Henry announced seven new COVID-19-related deaths today, which brings the total number of people who have died to 1,690 deaths during the pandemic.

      Of today’s deaths, Henry said that there was one person in their 60s, three people in their 70s, and three people who were 80 years or above.

      Dix said that five of the deaths were in Fraser Health, and two in Vancouver Coastal Health.

      With 412 recoveries since yesterday, a cumulative total of 137,929 people have now recovered.

      B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 143,264 cases during the pandemic, which includes:

      • 83,523 cases Fraser Health (58 percent);
      • 34,653 in Vancouver Coastal Health (24 percent);
      • 12,229 in Interior Health (nine percent);
      • 7,625 in Northern Health (five percent);
      • 5,036 in Island Health (four percent);
      • 198 people from outside of Canada (less than one percent).
      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix
      Province of British Columbia


      B.C.’s immunization program has passed a major milestone, with over three million doses administered.

      Henry said that 3,032,811 doses of vaccines have been administered, which includes 156,730 second doses. That represents 66 percent of all British Columbians who are 18 years and above, and 62 percent of all those 12 years old and above.

      Henry said they now have confirmed sufficient deliveries of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to shorten intervals between first and second doses from 13 weeks to about eight weeks (the maximum for intervals is 16 weeks).

      She also said that today, more shipments of Moderna have been confirmed.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Henry said there are six active outbreaks in healthcare facilities: four in longterm care facilities and two in acute care facilities.

      None of the five regional health authorities listed any new community outbreaks or public exposure events.

      Fraser Health listed Selkirk Community Inclusion Day Program (22334 Selkirk Avenue) in Maple Ridge being closed due to COVID-19 on May 26.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added these four flights to its lists of public exposures (for affected row information, visit the BCCDC website):

      • May 19: Air Canada 246, Vancouver to Edmonton;
      • May 19: Air Canada/Jazz 8547, Winnipeg to Vancouver;
      • May 19: WestJet 3314, Kamloops to Calgary;
      • May 23: WestJet 3111, Calgary to Kamloops.

      McDonald’s listed two locations with staff members who tested positive:

      • one employee who tested positive last worked on May 24 at the 1482 West Broadway location in Vancouver;
      • an employee who tested positive last worked on May 25 at the 32983 South Fraser Way location in Abbotsford.
      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.