BC public health officials reported 443 new COVID-19 in the 24 hours through Saturday, 424 through Sunday, and 424 on Monday, the fourth straight day with fewer than 500 new cases.
The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, reported 14 more deaths over the weekend. The number of people in hospital with coronavirus-related illnesses fell from 387 on Friday to 350 on Monday, 132 of them in intensive care.
Henry and Health Secretary Adrian Dix warned that while infections are receding, the pressure on hospitals remains significant. There are 128 additional “transitional beds” for treating COVID-19 patients and 14 intensive care beds reserved for responding to the pandemic, Dix said on Jan.
Henry said the restrictions on non-essential travel and indoor dining will remain in effect and will be reviewed until after the long weekend on May 24th. “After that we can go ahead and move forward,” said Henry.
The vaccine program delivered more than 28,000 doses on Sunday as the community clinic network opened bookings to all adults aged 18 and over from Monday. There are also targeted clinics in Surrey, one of the high risk areas. Of the 1,360 cases over the weekend, 861 were confirmed in the Fraser Health area, 291 in Vancouver Coastal, 126 in Interior Health, 47 in Northern Health, and 36 on Vancouver Island over the three days.
Henry said BC has reserved 20,000 second-dose doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people who have received it for the first time, and timing of offering second doses is being considered. She said studies from the UK and elsewhere show that protection from a single dose continues to increase for up to 12 weeks, and the AstraZeneca present in BC can be stored for further uses until the end of June.
“We know it works better if you wait a little longer,” said Henry.
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