Efforts to quell the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. appear to be working, with the number of people battling the virus that has caused a global pandemic steadily falling. That, in turn, leads to less chance of transmission because fewer infected people are circulating and able to pass the disease to others.
B.C.'s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix released data May 27 that showed only 244 active cases of the disease in B.C. That is a drop of 14 people, compared with the 258 individuals who were battling the disease yesterday in B.C.
Compared with two weeks ago, on May 13, there has been a 38.5% drop from the 397 people who were then fighting the virus in the province.
Most of those battling the disease are self-isolating at home, but 37 have illnesses severe enough to be in hospital, while seven of those are in intensive care units.
Since January, when the BC Centre for Disease Control first identified cases of COVID-19 in B.C., a total of 2,550 people have been diagnosed as having the virus. Of those, 162 people have died, and 2,144 people have recovered.
The breakdown of all COVID-19 infections by health region is:
• 899 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 1,267 in Fraser Health;
• 127 in Island Health;
• 194 in Interior Health; and
• 63 in Northern Health.
Overnight, the province identified nine new cases and one new death.
There remain 14 long-term care or assisted-living facilities with viral outbreaks, and one acute-care unit that has an active outbreak.
"Public health teams continue to provide support for community outbreaks at federal corrections facilities, the processing facilities in the poultry sector and for individuals connected to the Kearl Lake plant in Alberta," Henry and Dix said in a joint statement.
The province has moved to what it calls Phase 2 of managing the pandemic – a phase that includes allowing the reopening of restaurant dining rooms, hair salons and nail bars, as long as operators abide by provincial guidelines to limit spreading the virus, such as having employees wear masks or other protective wear, and having customers stay apart as much as possible.
Henry and Dix said that they will assess progress but are so far encouraged.
"COVID-19 has a two-week incubation period, which means any new cases that are a result of the easing of restrictions will start to appear over the coming week," they said.
"With this in mind, let's continue to take advantage of parks and other activities closer to home, and look to increase social interactions only after fully considering the risks to you and your family. Once we have a good understanding of how we are doing in mid-June, we'll have the data we need to determine our timing for further actions."
Many tourism operators have reopened operations and are eager to be able to welcome customers from across the province. Henry and Dix have not yet, however, said it is OK for British Columbians to travel around the province. That encouragement is not expected until later this summer.
Premier John Horgan said at a press conference today that setting timelines for loosened restrictions later in the summer is impossible.
"During the past 10 weeks, every day seems like seven days," he said.
"We are doing a whole bunch of stuff in a short period of time and every day brings new challenges, every day brings new opportunities."
Horgan added that the rules that his government worked hard to put in place appropriate rules and that those would be altered based on evolving circumstances, whether that relates to encouraging travel around the province or welcoming the National Hockey League (NHL) if that organization wants to make Vancouver a hub city for hosting the 2020 NHL playoffs.