Health officials in British Columbia say the province is heading in the right direction towards entering Stage 2 of its reopening plan come mid-June.
The announcement was made on Monday afternoon during a COVID-19 press conference with Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Réka Gustafson and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
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“At the moment, when we look at … the criteria that were established for being able to move to the next stage, we are on track,” Gustafson said.
As of Monday, 74% of people in BC over the age of 18 have had their first vaccine dose. Gustafson added that there are also “important indicators” that show what’s happening with COVID-19 in the community.
“The indicators tell us not only what proportion of people are immunized but that the immunization is having the effect we want it to have,” she explained. “Which is that cases are declining, hospitalizations are declining, critical care admissions are declining, and mortality has remained low and stable throughout this third wave to the pandemic.”
In order to ensure that BC’s restart is slow and gradual, its extensive reopening plan is broken down into four steps. The province will attempt to move through steps every week and although they’ve provided approximate target dates, health officials stress it will mostly be based on the level of provincial immunization, case counts, and hospitalizations.
“All of the indicators are in the direction that we want them to be, so this is very, very encouraging,” Gustafson added. “And of course, the additional information that is provided by being able to monitor it for another week gives us that additional assurance.”
The decision will be made by the provincial government with advice from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. BC’s restart plan targets June 15 as the earliest date that it will move into Stage 2.