The number of British Columbians known to be actively battling COVID-19 infections fell for the 13th consecutive government update, to 5,887.
This is the lowest number since March 25, almost seven weeks ago, and it comes as the province's vaccination effort has ramped up, and new infections have stayed significantly lower than they were one month ago.
Another 600 people were identified overnight as having COVID-19, raising the number of total known infections since January, 2020, to 137,223. Of those, the province considers more than 94.3%, or 129,524 individuals, to have recovered.
The vast majority of those battling infections have been told to self-isolate at home, but 423 are in B.C. hospitals, with 141 of those in intensive care units.
One person lost their life in the past day while being infected with COVID-19, raising the province's death toll from the disease to 1,625.
Health officials provided 57,462 doses of vaccine to 52,583 new recipients, while another 4,779 people got needed second doses. The one-day record for vaccinations was yesterday (May 11), when 60,753 doses were provided to 56,295 new recipients, with 4,458 others getting needed second doses.
In total, provincial officials have provided 2,277,318 doses of vaccine to 2,162,023 people, with 115,295 of those individuals getting needed second doses.
Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix have been urging people to register with the province's online system even if the individuals received their first doses at pharmacies and did not need to register for those first doses. They repeated that message today.
As of earlier today, those aged 40 and older were eligible to book appointments to get vaccine jabs. That age requirement is set to be lowered to 30 years old "later today," according to Dix and Henry, although that change may happen at midnight.
"Text and email invitations will be going out shortly, so take two minutes to get yourself registered," they said in a joint statement.
Yesterday, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec announced restrictions on using the AstraZeneca vaccine, and Nova Scotia and Manitoba followed that up earlier today by announcing new restrictions on that vaccine. Some concern about that vaccine is a rare risk of a blood-clotting condition known as vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT.
Henry and Dix said that given limited availability of the AstraZeneca vaccine, B.C. is holding all remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for second-dose booster immunizations.
"Existing pharmacy bookings will proceed, but no additional appointments will be accepted at this time," they said.
Some studies are ongoing in the U.K. on the efficacy of using different vaccines for second doses. Henry and Dix said that they are waiting to find out the results of those studies, as well as what Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization advises.
"This will help determine our approach and options for second doses," they said.
In addition to those aged 30 years and older who later today can book appointments province-wide to get vaccinated, anyone 18 years old, and older, is eligible to get vaccinated at specific clinics if they are in what the province considers to be a hot spot, they register online and they enter their postal code.
Only those with eligible postal codes will be able to receive a vaccine through the high-transmission neighbourhood program, according to Henry and Dix.
The official service areas for that program are broken down by health region.
In Fraser Health, the communities named by the province are:
• Abbotsford Rural;
• Burnaby Southeast;
• Burnaby Southwest;
• Central Abbotsford;
• East Abbotsford;
• East Newton;
• North Delta;
• North Surrey;
• Port Coquitlam;
• South Langley Township;
• South Mission;
• West Abbotsford;
• West Newton;
• Whalley; and
In Vancouver Coastal Health, the eligible areas are:
• Cedar Cottage;
• Sunset; and
In Interior Health, the eligible areas are:
• Rutland; and
In Northern Health, the eligible areas are:
• Dawson Creek;
• Fort Nelson Population Centre;
• Fort St. John; and
• Fort St. James North.
There remain three outbreaks at long-term care homes in B.C., all of which are in the Interior Health region:
• Orchard Haven in Keremeos;
• Sandalwood Retirement Resort in Kelowna; and
• Spring Valley Care Centre in Kelowna.
The two B.C. hospitals with active COVID-19 outbreaks are Dawson Creek and District Hospital and Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.