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

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

Most Read