COVID-19 update for May 4: Surrey has highest rate of cases in B.C. | Entering a ‘new warp speed’ with vaccine supply | 2,174 cases, 15 deaths over the weekend

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for May 4, 2021.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


As of the latest figures given on May 3:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 131,656 (7,327 active cases)
• New cases since April 27: 2,174
• Total deaths: 1,596 (15 new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 474
• Intensive care: 176
• Total vaccinations: 1,877,330 doses administered (91,731 second doses)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 11,781
• Recovered: 122,518
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 11


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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19 FAQ: What you need to know about the vaccine rollout in B.C.

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

12 a.m. – Parts of Surrey grapple with high rates of infection, low rates of vaccination

Even as B.C. tries to douse COVID-19 hot spots with targeted and rapid vaccination, one area of Surrey has significantly higher infection rates than the rest of the province but lower vaccination uptake, according to internal data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Surrey continues to have the highest rate of COVID cases in the province with 29 per cent of all B.C. cases for the week of April 23 to 29, according to Disease Control information provided to Postmedia News but not released publicly.

Parts of northwest Surrey including Whalley and Newton had an average of 40 COVID-19 cases a day for every  100,0000 people, more than double the rate of most other areas of Metro Vancouver. In Whalley and Newton, more than 20 per cent of COVID-19 tests were positive, compared to 11 per cent for the whole province.


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Those neighbourhoods, plus Guildford, had a lower first-dose vaccination rate. Just 21 to 40 per cent of adults in those neighbourhoods have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to between 41 and 60 per cent of adults in South Surrey, Delta and Langley.

Sarah Otto, a UBC epidemiologist, said the high rate of COVID cases and lower vaccination rates in northwest Surrey is an indication that “we’re not vaccinating fast enough in the places that are hardest hit.”

— Katie DeRosa

12 a.m. – Entering a ‘new warp speed’: Dr. Bonnie Henry on upcoming vaccine supply

More than a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in B.C. this month, according to the provincial health officer.

“We have reached a new and encouraging point in the vaccine supply,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “Starting today, the vaccine that we will be receiving will be increasing significantly. In the month of May alone,  we’ll be receiving over a million doses of vaccine available for people across the province.

“This is good news for all of us. It means that everybody who’s eligible, right now that’s down to age 16, will have access to a vaccine before Canada Day, and we think significantly before that.”

So far, B.C. has received 2,055,690 doses of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines — with Pfizer accounting for the majority. Close to 1.8 million people have been administered vaccine, which is around 40 per cent of the eligible population.

Health Minister Adrian Dix confirmed 276,000 doses a week of Pfizer vaccine was to arrive in May, plus hundreds of thousands of doses of Moderna. It’s not known when more doses of AstraZeneca will arrive and a fourth approved vaccine from Johnson & Johnson has arrived in Canada but is not yet being distributed over concerns it may be tainted.


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“That leads us to think about the interval we have between dose 1 and dose 2,” Henry said, adding that fewer than 92,000 people had received the required two doses.

— David Carrigg

12 a.m. – Canadians should wait for Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if they can, federal advisory committee says

OTTAWA – The federal government’s vaccine advisory committee is recommending people who can wait for an mRNA vaccine, like Pfizer or Moderna, hold out for it, once again contradicting the long-standing advice to Canadians to get the first shot they’re offered.

On Monday, the National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI) issued its recommendation for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Due to an extremely rare blood clotting issue, NACI is recommending that the vaccine be given to people over the age of 30, who don’t want to wait for a mRNA vaccine.

NACI’s co-chair, Dr. Shelley Deeks, said the mRNA vaccines have been proven to offer strong protection and don’t come with the rare blood clot risk.

“What we’re saying and what we’ve said all along is that mRNA vaccines are the preferred vaccine,” she said.

NACI’s advice on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, created by its European division Janssen, is similar to the advice they offered when recommending the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 30 due to the blood clot risk.

The U.S. has administered roughly eight million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine and has reported 17 cases of the rare blood clot. Canada has administered just over two million AstraZeneca shots and has reported seven cases of the clot, one of which was fatal.


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Deeks said while the clots were rare, they were extremely serious and Canadians deserved to know the risk, before they accepted a vaccine.

“They need to make an informed choice as to whether they would prefer to get vaccinated sooner with a Janssen, or AstraZeneca vaccine or wait to receive the mRNA vaccine,” she said.

— Postmedia News


LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

– With files from The Canadian Press


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