COVID-19: B.C. records 515 new cases as infection numbers trend downward

British Columbia has extended its state of emergency, first declared March 18, 2020, until May 25.

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Case numbers are trending downward and vaccinations are on the rise in British Columbia.

On Tuesday, B.C. health officials reported 515 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths, for a total of 1,624 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.

There are 6,020 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 426 are being treated in hospital, including 141 in intensive care.

All of those numbers continue to drop as the province’s COVID-19 curve bends downward.

Seven days ago, health officials were reporting 7,161 active cases, 486 hospitalizations and 173 people in ICU.

In a statement, Health Minister Adrian Dix and the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said there have been 2,219,856 doses of vaccines administered in B.C., 110,516 of which are second doses.

“Last week, almost 400,000 people registered for their vaccine. We can break that record this week,” the statement said.

British Columbia has also extended its state of emergency, first declared March 18, 2020, until May 25.

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The declaration allows police to issue tickets to those who defy provincial health office orders, such as the ban on social gatherings.

Between Aug. 21 and May 7, B.C. police have issued 1,974 tickets, including 361 fines of $2,300 to organizers of public events and 1,508 fines of $230 for failing to comply with the orders.

Police agencies have also doled out 153 violation tickets, totalling $288,736, to individuals found to be in contravention of the federal Quarantine Act.

“Most British Columbians have been doing their part to stay close to home and follow public health guidance, and that commitment is showing as the number of cases and hospitalizations begin to ease,” Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said in a statement. “But we’re not through this yet, and everyone must continue to follow the rules or face enforcement. More importantly, by following orders for the next while and avoiding non-essential travel, you’ll be doing your part to get us all through this sooner.”

On April 23, B.C. introduced its strictest travel orders yet, prohibiting people from travelling for non-essential reasons between three zones, including a combined zone for Vancouver Coastal Health and the Fraser Valley, another for the Northern and Interior health regions and a third for Vancouver Island.

Since then, the RCMP, which began operating COVID-19 travel checkpoints along B.C. highways last Thursday, have issued just one $575 ticket to an individual for failing to comply with the travel restrictions.

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