COVID-19 update for May 5: B.C. CDC admits virus is airborne | Active cases continue to fall | Pregnant women now prioritized for vaccine

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 5, 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.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on May 4:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 132,353 (7,161 active cases)
• New cases since May 3: 697
• Total deaths: 1,597 (1 new death)
• Hospitalized cases: 486
• Intensive care: 173
• Total vaccinations: 1,910,162 doses administered (92,244 second doses)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 10,961
• Recovered: 122,383
• 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


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

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


LATEST NEWS ON COVID-19 IN B.C.

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.

5 a.m. – B.C. Centre for Disease Control now accepts virus can linger in the air

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has changed its definition of COVID-19 spread, confirming the virus can be transferred by tiny aerosolized droplets and not just large droplets that fall quickly to the ground.

On Tuesday, the Centre updated its website, stating “COVID-19 spreads from a person with COVID-19 to others through smaller droplets known as aerosols.”

Until now, the Centre had stated the disease spreads only through large droplets.

That means the threat of catching COVID-19 isn’t only from large, virus-laden droplets that fall to the ground, but from small particles that can linger in the air for hours, building up in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, while quickly dispersing outdoors.

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Therefore the size of an indoor space, how many people are in it, the length of exposure and air circulation all factor into how easily viral particles might spread.

The Centre states the risk of transmission of the disease by touching surfaces is very low.

-David Carrigg

5 a.m. – B.C. fears cross-border transmission as virus rages in Alberta

With signs on the B.C.-Alberta border the only thing to deter our provincial neighbours from vacationing here, there’s growing concern that Alberta’s high COVID-19 rates could spill into B.C., just as cases edge downward here.

Alberta has more than 23,000 active COVID-19 infections and has the highest case rate of any jurisdiction in North America. A record 154 infected people were in intensive care on Monday.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is warning that as Alberta grapples with the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita in Canada, interprovincial travel could increase transmission in B.C.

Alberta’s daily COVID cases have been on a steady upward path since March, nearing 40 cases a day for every 100,000 people. In comparison, B.C.’s daily cases have been trending down since the second week of April, hitting about 17 dacases a day for every 100,000 people for the week of April 23 to 29.

On Tuesday night, Premier Jason Kenney announced all school students will move to online learning. Alberta will close restaurant patios, hair salons and tattoo parlours and reduce the capacity of retail shops to no more than 10 per cent of customer capacity. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people instead of 10.

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-Katie DeRosa

12 a.m. – Active and new cases continue to fall

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has reported 697 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and one death. Henry said there were 7,161 active cases of the disease, of which 486 were being treated in hospital including 173 in intensive care.

She said one person had died, bringing that tally to 1,597. The bulk of all new cases are occurring in the Fraser Health region, specifically Surrey.

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.

Henry said 1,817,918 British Columbians have received at least one dose of vaccine, as the province’s seven-day average daily case count and active cases continue to fall.

12 a.m. – Pregnant women in B.C. now prioritized for vaccine

Pregnant women are now being prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine, B.C. announced Tuesday.

The move follows Ontario and Quebec, which have moved pregnant women up the vaccine priority list as a result of increased risk of severe illness linked to COVID-19.

“All Health Canada-approved vaccines are safe and effective, and I encourage everyone to register and receive their vaccine as soon as they are eligible. Today, this includes people who are pregnant,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement Tuesday.

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Pregnant people over the age of 16 can register at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated and phone 1-833-838-2323, identifying as being pregnant. Online booking for pregnant people is not available.

-Katie DeRosa


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



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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