With just over a week left in BC’s current “circuit breaker” restrictions, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Monday that people should temper their expectations when it comes to any major changes in BC’s current health orders by the scheduled end date.
“I know that for many people, the May long weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer, and I know that we are looking forward to this summer being different,” she said. “But we are not yet ready to make any changes to the current provincial health orders, and they will remain in place through the upcoming long weekend.”
And even then, people shouldn’t plan “on things changing, lifting, and everything being different” when this happens.
“It will happen slowly and gradually, and we’ll pause and watch and make sure that we’re not seeing a resurgence of disease as we get through this next little while,” she said.
Asked if this means that people should prepare themselves for an extension of the orders, Henry didn’t answer directly, saying instead that officials are “still trying to figure out how we’re going to do every piece of that. Nothing is changing until after the 25th.”
Henry also addressed what a reopening and easing of restrictions might look like, noting that it won’t just be a single-day event.
“A sustained increase in immunizations, combined with a slowdown of new cases and outbreaks, are what will allow us to gradually ease some of the restrictions and get to the next phase,” she said. “We’re closely monitoring our progress to determine what changes we can safely make and when.”
Henry made the comments during a press conference on Monday, in which she also announced weekend COVID-19 cases in BC dropped below 500 for three days in a row.
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She reported there have been 1,360 new test-positive COVID-19 cases since Friday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 139,664.
There were 443 cases reported from Friday to Saturday, 493 from Saturday to Sunday, and 424 from Sunday to Monday.
Broken down by health region, this equates to 291 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 861 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 36 new cases in the Island Health region, 126 new cases in the Interior Health region, and 47 new cases in the Northern Health region.
There were also 14 more deaths over the weekend, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,648.
There are 5,021 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 350 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 132 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
Henry said that 132,841 individuals who tested positive have now recovered.