Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)

B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

B.C. public health officials confirmed 596 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours up to Saturday, 605 up to Sunday and 558 up to Monday, continuing a slow decline in coronavirus spread continuing since a peak in March and April.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported Monday that 20 more people have died in the past three days, mostly aged 70 and older. Two people in their 40s and two in their 50s also died of COVID-19 since Friday.

The latest totals leave B.C. with 6,140 active cases and 415 people in hospital, 150 of them in intensive care. That’s down from more than 500 people in hospital in recent days, prompting the health ministry to postpone scheduled surgeries in Lower Mainland hospital for a second time since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

With more than two million vaccination doses administered in B.C. and shipments increasing, Henry said the goal of relieving pandemic restrictions is coming closer. Current essential-only travel orders between the Lower Mainland and other B.C. regions are to extend for another two weeks at least.

“We are moving in the right direction, but as you can see by today’s numbers, COVID-19 continues to spread in our communities,” Henry said May 10. “Immunization is going to get us there, but we are not yet at the point where we can ease up on our restrictions.”

Another priority is lifting the ban on indoor dining at restaurants, as more people are vaccinated and have had time to develop immunity, Henry said.

RELATED: Canada expects 2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine this week

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With the age-based vaccination program offering appointments to people aged 40 and older starting this week, additional clinics are being set up in areas of high transmission areas, mostly in the Lower Mainland and also in Summerland, the Kelowna suburb of Rutland and Golden in Southeastern B.C.

Workplace outbreaks are also being targeted with vaccination. Henry noted Monday that there has been a new outbreak at Sunrise Poultry’s plant in Surrey.

In the health care system, outbreaks have been declared over in an acute care area at Surrey Memorial Hospital and at Dufferin Care Centre, a senior home in Coquitlam. There are currently three active outbreaks in B.C. senior care facilities, which have seen greater protection from vaccine and the return to social visitors for seniors who were isolated for much of the past year.


@tomfletcherbc
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