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Active COVID-19 infections in B.C. fall to lowest level since November

Total number of people with at least one dose of vaccine in B.C. has passed three million.
Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry speaks to media May 31

B.C. continues to show progress in its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, making it more likely that the province's plan to loosen health restrictions will go ahead as planned.

The number of people in B.C. actively fighting COVID-19 infections fell on May 31 for the 26th consecutive data update, to 2,953 – the lowest number since November 5, when there were 2,945 people known to be battling infections. 

More than 96.7%%, or 139,562, of the 144,289 people known to have contracted COVID-19 in B.C. are deemed by the province to be recovered, or no longer infectious. 

The vast majority of those known to be fighting infections have been told to self-isolate, although 249 are in hospitals, with 78 of those in intensive care units (ICU). That's the fewest people in B.C. hospitals with the disease since March 11, and the lowest number of people with the disease in ICU since April 1.

Case counts are also staying comparatively low, with health officials detecting 708 new cases in the past three days: 258 on May 29, 238 on May 30, and 212 in the past 24 hours. The total for the past day is the lowest number of newly detected cases in a 24-hour period since October 26, when health officials detected 207 cases.

By health region, the 708 infections in the past three days include:
• 140 in Vancouver Coastal Health (19.8%);
• 394 in Fraser Health (55.6%);
• 18 in Island Health (2.5%);
• 113 in Interior Health (16%);
• 42 in Northern Health (5.9%); and
• one in a person who regularly resides outside the province.

Unfortunately, another 11 people have died in B.C. from COVID-19 in the past three days, raising the death toll from the disease in B.C. to 1,703. One of those was a person who was aged between 40 and 49 years. The deaths also include two people who were in their 60s, six people who were in their 70s and two people who were in their 80s. 

There has also been a third identified case in B.C. of a person who has contracted blood clots, or Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia, as a result of getting a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This individual is a man in his 30s in the Island Health region who is recovering in hospital, said provincial health officer Bonnie Henry.

Vaccinations continue apace.

B.C. on May 28 set a single-day record of 73,458 doses of vaccine provided to a record 68,303 people, with 5,155 second doses. In the past three days, health officials provided a total of 143,892 doses to 124,823 people, with 19,069 others getting needed second doses. 

In total, health officials provided a total of 3,250,161 doses to 3,070,207 people, with 179,954 others getting needed second doses since the first dose in B.C. was administered on December 16. 

Henry said that her data show that the province has now vaccinated 69.7% of all B.C. adults with at least one dose of vaccine, and 66.1% of all people older than 12 years old with at least one dose of vaccine.

The B.C. government announced last week that if new and active infections continue to fall, a second step in the reopening process will go ahead on June 15. 

Some components in the second step of the reopening include: 
• no restrictions on travel throughout B.C.;
• the maximum number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings rising to 50;
• up to 50 people being allowed at seated, indoor, organized gatherings (such as banquet halls, and movie theatres);
• a consultation process to start to prepare for larger indoor and outdoor gatherings with safety protocols;
• up to 50 spectators allowed at sporting events; and
• indoor sports and games, as well as high-intensity fitness classes being allowed.

This opening is slated despite seniors' homes in B.C. continuing to have outbreaks. 

The outbreak at Chartwell Carlton Care in Burnaby has been declared over, but a new outbreak has been declared at the Richmond Lions Manor-Bridgeport in Richmond. 

This makes a total of five outbreaks at seniors' homes, including: 
• Brookside Lodge in Surrey;
• Cherington Place in Surrey;
• Heritage Manor in Fort St. John;
• Richmond Lions Manor-Bridgeport in Richmond; and 
• Spring Valley Care Centre in Kelowna

The only active outbreak at a B.C. hospital is at Richmond Hospital in Richmond.