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B.C. currently on track for Phase 2 of restart

Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Réka Gustafson Aug. 17, 2020.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government
June 07, 2021 - 4:10 PM

The daily number of new COVID-19 infections in B.C. fell well below 200 twice this weekend as vaccination rates inched up, two things that together bode well for how restrictions will be lifted in the days ahead.

Over the weekend, 218 were diagnosed with COVID-19 for the period from June 4 to June 5, 131 from June 4 to June 6, and 133 were from June 6 to today, June 7. Over the three days, 101 of these cases were in Interior Health.

There were 12 deaths, and 199 people are still in hospital with 63 of those being in ICU. 

Additionally, there have been 3,635,795 doses of every vaccination distributed with 314,246 of these being second doses.

All this puts B.C. on the right track for Phase 2 of the restart plan to be implemented June 15.

"We are on track. Our first dose immunizations are high — as we mentioned 74% of those over 18 and 72% of those over 12 — and the important indicators of what's actually happening with COVID-19 in our community (are in the right direction)," Dr. Reka Gustafson, deputy provincial health officer, said.

These indicators aren't just the proportion of people immunized, they also include whether the vaccination is having the desired effect, such as declining caseloads, hospitalizations, critical care admissions, and low mortality.

"All of the indicators are in the direction that we want them to be," she said. "So this is very, very encouraging."

B.C., she said earlier in the daily press conference, is in a much better position overall thanks to immunization and she said that heralds a shift in focus. 

"If we keep going, we can get back to the things that sustain us, back to our communities, back to work, back to the meaningful relationships in our lives."

Dr. Gustafson said as B.C. moves forward, public health monitoring and management will change.

"As cases continue to decline daily fluctuations, especially in cases, will be less and less meaningful," she said.

"Rather, seven-day averages and long-term trends are going to be better indicators of our progress from a public health perspective. As long as we continue on this trajectory we will be aiming to shift our approach from pandemic emergency response to sustainable public health management." This approach, she said, is actually similar to how health officials prevent and control other communicable diseases that often don't make the news.

"It also means public health teams can return to some of the other equally important work to prevent overdoses, to prevent injuries, and to reduce health inequities in our population," she said. "We are on a good path to get back to work, to school, to university, to seeing friends to travelling... resuming those connections that are so important to all of us, but to get there, please register and ensure you are fully vaccinated."

The vaccination rates of everyone in B.C. is currently higher than in many other areas, particularly south of the border.

Gustafson said throughout the world, once the pandemic is declared over, there will be reintroductions of COVID-19 to British Columbia, and of course the likelihood of reintroductions is higher when the population from where people are coming is less immunized.

"However, we actually have the means of preventing an introduction of an infection into turning into a local outbreak, by getting ourselves immunized," she said.

"We certainly hope that jurisdictions around us will continue to make efforts to immunize their population both near and far. We need to make sure that vaccines are available to every country around the globe but in terms of the impact of immunization rates from other parts of the world, on us. The single most important thing we can do is making sure that we have high rates of immunization here in British Columbia."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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