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Active COVID-19 infections in B.C. fall to more than 11-week low

Six more COVID-19 deaths raise province' death toll to 1,667.
Bonnie Henry on May 20
Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry speaks to media

The number of people actively fighting COVID-19 in B.C. has fallen for the 20th straight data update to 4,507 – the lowest total since March 1, more than 11 weeks ago. 

That data tidbit probably best signals the province's recent success at wrestling down the spread of COVID-19, although the province also saw declines in the number of those in hospital, and those in intensive care units (ICU), signifying that serious infections are also on the decline. 

The vast majority of the 4,507 people still fighting infections have been told to self-isolate, although 319 are in hospital (down 12 from yesterday), with 107 of those in ICU (down six from yesterday.)

The number of new cases detected in a 24-hour period on May 20 sunk to 357, which was the lowest total since February 19. That total rose in the past 24 hours, by 63, to 420, but is still far below the more than 1,000 cases in a day seen twice in the past month. 

Unfortunately, six more people have died from the disease in the past day, raising the province's death toll to 1,667.

Of the 141,373 people known to have contracted COVID-19 in B.C. since the province detected its first case in January, 2020, the province considers more than 95.5%, or 135,068 people to have recovered. 

The province's way of determining who is recovered is based on a determination of who is infectious, Henry recently explained. People who are self-isolating are given 10 days from the date that they first started exhibiting symptoms. As long as they are continuing to improve, they are declared to have recovered at that 10-day mark.

B.C. on May 20 administered a record 63,453 doses of vaccine to a record 59,793 new people, with 3,660 others getting needed second doses. Those totals all fell a bit in the past day, as provincial officials provided 56,660 doses of vaccine to 53,160 people, while 3,500 others got needed second doses. 

In total, the province has provided 2,744,020 vaccine doses to 2,601,614 people, with 142,406 people being fully vaccinated, with two doses.

Premier John Horgan has called B.C.'s ban on travel throughout the province, and on dining indoors at restaurants a "circuit breaker" to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.

Yesterday, he said to "expect on Tuesday that the circuit breaker will be over."

The British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association today alerted its members that the ban remains in effect though the weekend, but that they will be able to open up indoors on May 25. 

B.C.'s provincial health officer, Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix also stressed that these measures remain in effect. 

"On Tuesday, the details of the Restart Plan will be shared with everyone," they said in a joint statement. "At that point, you'll be able to start to plan for what that means for you, your family and your business. There are no changes for individuals or businesses until that time."

Four active outbreaks at seniors' homes in B.C. include:
• Cherington Place in Surrey;
• Chartwell Carlton Care Residence in Burnaby;
• Heritage Manor in Fort St. John; and
• Spring Valley Care Centre in Kelowna.

The only active outbreak at a B.C. hospital is at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.

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