The B.C. government is preparing a second “restart” schedule for this summer, as COVID-19 mass vaccination of adults runs ahead of schedule and infection rates fall.
On Friday, public health officials reported 494 new cases of the novel coronavirus, the first time it has been under 500 since late February. The number of people in hospital also dipped to 387, after peaking at more than 500 and prompting scheduled surgery cancellations in Lower Mainland hospitals.
With daily community infections falling, and dropping off sharply in communities that have had all-age vaccination, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says indoor dining and other orders are being reviewed after the current restrictions expire on May 25. Recreational travel to and from the Lower Mainland and indoor group fitness are also prohibited for at least the next 10 days.
“Those are going to be some of the factors that we are putting into the Restart 2.0 that we’re working on across government and the public health input into that,” Henry said in a briefing May 13. “It will have advice, direction and guidance on several different aspects on things we can do in our communities once we reach a certain level of protection through immunization, as well seeing trends in the right direction for the other important factors, but also the individual level things we can do.
“Expect to start seeing some of that after the May long weekend in more detail, and I’m working with my colleagues across the country to make sure we’re all aligned in some of the messaging we’re giving.”
As of Friday, people aged 25 and up are eligible for vaccine appointments at clinics around the province, and by the end of the weekend the mass vaccination system will reach all adults 18 and older. More than 2.3 million doses have been administered in B.C.
“Since we last reported, we have had 140 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 288 new cases in the Fraser Health region, eight in the Island Health region, 33 in the Interior Health region, 25 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in their May 14 statement. “There have been two new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,634 deaths in British Columbia.”