A man wears a protective face mask as he walks past a opened restaurant patio on Granville Street in Vancouver, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. British Columbia has entered into phase 2 of the provinces re-start plan allowing some business to reopen. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Dr. Henry ‘encouraged’ as B.C. records two days of single-digit COVID-19 case increases

Four people have died due to the virus in the past 48 hours

B.C. has recorded 12 new cases and four deaths since Saturday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said in her Monday (May 25) update.

The province saw five new cases from Saturday to Sunday and seven in the past 24 hours. Four longterm care residents died in the past 48 hours, bringing the province’s death toll to 161.

There are 267 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., and 2,102 people have recovered. Of the active cases, 37 are in hospital and seven of those are in ICU.

Henry said the province has made “significant progress” since the height of B.C.’s cases in March.

“I’m encouraged our new cases continue to track low,” she said, but warned that British Columbians needed to remain cautious to avoid a resurgence in cases.

B.C. entered Phase Two of its COVID-19 pandemic on May 19 as many retailers and salons opened up, and restaurants opened their doors for dine-in service, albeit with capacity reduced by 50 percent and physical distancing measures in place. Many provincial parks opened for day-use on Thursday, and camping reservations opened on Monday for dates starting June 1.

Henry said she was waiting to see what kind of effect the loosening of restrictions would have on the new case count. B.C. is about one week into the incubation period for both the Victoria Day long weekend and the beginning of Phase Two.

The ban on gatherings of 50 or more people remains in effect, Henry said, with drive-in movie theatres limited to 50 cars.

“It is a rational approach,” she said.

“That’s where we are right now.”

But although Henry is remaining conservative as she loosens restrictions, she said there are a lot of factors at play, not just the daily new case count.

“My intent is not to add restrictions back on,” she said.

“There’s a whole variety of indicators we’re looking at but there’s no set number.”

Henry said a big part of her calculations will be new infections that are not linked to known COVID-19 cases.

“Right now we have very few of those,” she said, noting that public health staff are contacting every new case within 24 hours and tracing contacts.

READ MORE: 82% of all test-positive COVID-19 cases in B.C. have recovered

READ MORE: COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

READ MORE: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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