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

Graduate Belle Riding is congratulated by Lake City Secondary School learning support teacher Gail Gardner as she makes her way across the stage to receive her diploma. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
2021 Lake City Secondary School grads take centre stage at Williams Lake campus ceremonies

Ceremonies took place over two days, with COVID-19 restrictions in place for second year in a row

BGC Williams Lake Sprockids participants get ready to hit the trails on Fox Mountain May 27 in Williams Lake. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Sprockids mountain biking program at BGC Williams Lake provides positive, outdoor outlet for youth

Sprockids aims to give youth the opportunity to saddle up on mountain bikes and hit the trails

Paradise Cinemas is ready to welcome back movie viewers once the province gives movie theatres the go-ahead. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
VIDEO: Williams Lake’s Paradise Cinemas eyes June 18 re-opening if COVID-19 restrictions allow

Managing partner Munraj Hothi is looking forward to showing movies again

The Williams Lake Tourism Discovery Centre (Photo submitted)
Bike wash station now available at Tourism Discovery Centre

The project was a long-time goal of the Williams Lake Cycling Club

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read