Case counts continue to drop

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Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the COVID-19 response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are reporting 76.5% of all adults in B.C. and 74.8% of those 12 and older have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In total, 4,231,871 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 768,008 of which are second doses.

"We have had 120 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 146,794 cases in British Columbia.

"Of the new cases, 13 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 53 are in the Fraser Health region, five are in the Island Health region, 43 are in the Interior Health region, five are in the Northern Health region and one is a person who resides outside of Canada.

"There are currently 1,451 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. A further 143,579 people who tested positive have recovered. Of the active cases, 131 individuals are currently hospitalized, 44 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"The outbreak at Cherington Place is now over.

"There has been one new COVID-19 related death, for a total of 1,739 deaths in British Columbia. Our condolences are with the family, friends and caregivers of the people who have died as a result of COVID-19.

"We're making significant progress in our COVID-19 vaccine program, using every available dose to get people fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

"First doses continue to progress well, and health authority teams are using a number of tools to make it as easy as possible for everyone 12 and older to get their vaccines. Second-dose immunizations are also accelerating with invitations to book going to tens of thousands every day.

"For those who had an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine for their first dose, it is safe to get a different mRNA vaccine for your second dose - mRNA interchangeability does not influence effectiveness. While we will do our best to get you the same vaccine for the first and second doses, operationally this is not always be possible due to supply, and means you will be offered the other mRNA product.

"For those who first received an AstraZeneca vaccine, we have weighed all of the data and real-world evidence on vaccine effectiveness when mixing different types of vaccine. Our advice remains the same.

"You have a choice to get a second viral vector vaccine or have an mRNA vaccine instead. You can make the choice that is right for you because all of the vaccines in use in Canada are safe and highly effective. So are all of the second-dose options.

"As our immunization program progresses, we are closely watching how the vaccines are working here in B.C., and to date, all are proving to be highly effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing new cases and outbreaks.

"Public health and WorkSafeBC have played an important part in our pandemic response, supporting businesses to put comprehensive COVID-19 safety plans in place to keep employees and customers safe.

"Now, as we look toward Step 3 and Step 4 of BC's Restart plan, the requirements for businesses in B.C. will be changing. Building on the success of the COVID-19 specific plans, going forward, businesses will be required to adapt their COVID-19 plans into communicable disease safety plans.

"Over the summer months, WorkSafeBC will help workplaces make this transition to ensure plans are in place for the fall and winter seasons when respiratory and other communicable diseases typically increase.

"Our progress through this pandemic is the result of everyone working together, doing your part and supporting others to do the same. As we bridge to the brighter days of summer, let's continue to safely restart our province and put COVID-19 behind us."