After the CDC said on Thursday that Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked for her take on when BC might follow suit.
“There’s a couple things about that,” she explained.
First, she said, the province doesn’t rely solely on “immunized percentage – although that’s obviously an important piece.”
Henry said officials also look at trends and transmission rates in communities, beyond just the day-to-day numbers, and more on what is happening over an extended period of time.
“Those are going to be some of the factors,” she said, adding that people can expect to see some further guidance in more detail “after the May long weekend.”
Henry also spoke to questions around the wearing of masks outdoors.
“When you’re outside, as long as you’re not in a large group and talking closely, masks are optional,” she said. “We know that outside versus inside is much much less risk.”
Henry announced 587 new test-positive COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 137,810.
Broken down by health region, this equates to 126 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 365 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 21 in the Island Health region, 60 in the Interior Health region, and 15 in the Northern Health region.
There are 5,691 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.
Of the active cases, 413 individuals are currently hospitalized, 141 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
There have been five new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,632 deaths in British Columbia.
To date, 2,335,513 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in BC, 119,691 of which are second doses.
A further 130,310 people who tested positive have recovered.