Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C.’s mandatory mask order could be gone as soon as July as COVID-19 infection rates fall and vaccination rises. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C.’s mandatory mask order could be gone as soon as July as COVID-19 infection rates fall and vaccination rises. (B.C. government)

B.C.’s COVID-19 infections below 200 for second day Wednesday

71% of adults vaccinated, ahead of travel target for June 15

B.C.’s new COVID-19 cases were below 200 for a second day Wednesday, the lowest infection rate in six months, and the province has already reached vaccination rates to allow for lifting regional travel restrictions on June 15.

Public health targets for the next phase of its restart plan, easing of the mandatory mask mandate as early as July 1 are also in reach, but no changes will be made sooner than those dates, Health Minister Adrian Dix told reporters June 2. The other key measure is patients in hospital, which have continued to drop with under 250 in hospital and 70 in intensive care, down from 80 on Tuesday. There were four additional deaths in the 24 hours up to Wednesday, for a total of 1,707 in B.C. since the pandemic began.

Dix said he is encouraged by the increase in vaccination rates, with 71 per cent of adults having at least one dose and more than 79 per cent of people aged 40 and up. That is well past the province’s stage two reopening plan to lift restrictions on travel between the Lower Mainland, Interior and Vancouver Island as early as June 15, which called for at least 65 per cent to be vaccinated.

Targeted communities with low vaccine rates such as Rutland north of Kelowna and Fort St. John in the Peace region are also responding, he said, with a whole-community clinic in Rutland Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Asked if B.C. should provide prizes or incentives as some U.S. states have done, Dix said the protection of the vaccine is incentive enough.

“I don’t think it’s an issue of sports tickets or lottery tickets or chocolates or bourbon,” Dix said.

B.C. recorded 194 new confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday, with the hotspot of Fraser Health down to 122 of them. There were 33 each in Vancouver Coastal and Interior Health, four in Northern Health and two on Vancouver Island.

RELATED: What you can do and when in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

RELATED: U.S. offers free beer for vaccine as acceptance rate falls


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

CVSE officer checking out all the trucks before the convoy, which started at Riverlodge Recreational Centre in Kitimat BC and finished at the George Little Park in Terrace BC. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
VIDEO: Kitimat truck drivers rally together in honour of 215 bodies discovered at Kamloops Residential School

The convoy started at Riverlodge Recreational Centre and finished at the George Little Park

Northwest cancer patients in medical trials may soon have access to follow-ups closer to home. Dr. Rob Olson stands in front of a linear accelerator at the BC Cancer - Prince George centre. The machine is used to deliver SABR treatment to clinical trial patients. (Photo: supplied)
Pilot project brings access to care closer to home for Terrace cancer patients

Northwest B.C. will be the first region to partner in the international clinical trial project

Terrace River Kings’ Mason Richey celebrates a third period goal during CIHL action on Saturday at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre during the 2019 season.
Senior hockey plans post-pandemic return to Terrace this fall

The Central Interior Hockey League hopes to have eight teams hit the ice

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Participants of the Indigenous-led agricultural training program pose for a photograph with the staff at Tea Creek Farm in Kitwanga. (Photo courtesy, Alex Stoney)
Indigenous-led food sovereignty program trains first cohort in Kitwanga

Tea Creek Farm trained participants from northwest B.C. First Nations

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read