COVID-19 update for May 19: Spanish study finds AstraZeneca vaccine followed by Pfizer dose is safe | Fraser Health epicentre of pandemic | 411 new cases and two deaths |

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 19, 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 18:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 140,075 (4,890 active cases)
• New cases since May 17: 411
• Total deaths: 1,650 (2 new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 360
• Intensive care: 127
• Total vaccinations: 2,566,936 doses administered; 131,837 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 133,383
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 6

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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: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021

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. – Spanish study finds AstraZeneca vaccine followed by Pfizer dose is safe and effective

A Spanish study on mixing COVID-19 vaccines has found that giving a dose of Pfizer’s drug to people who already received a first shot of AstraZeneca vaccine is highly safe and effective, preliminary results showed on Tuesday.

The Combivacs study, run by Spain’s state-backed Carlos III Health Institute, found the presence of IgG antibodies in the bloodstream was between 30 and 40 times higher in people who got the follow-up Pfizer shot than in a control group who only received one AstraZeneca dose.

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Meanwhile, the presence of neutralizing antibodies rose sevenfold after a Pfizer dose, significantly more than the doubling effect observed after a second AstraZeneca shot.

Around 670 volunteers between the ages of 18-59 who had already received a first dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine participated in the study, with some 450 given a Pfizer dose.

Just 1.7% of the participants reported severe side effects, which were limited to headaches, muscle pain and general malaise, said Dr Magdalena Campins, one of the study’s leaders.

-Reuters

5 a.m. – Fraser Health accounts for 75 per cent of new cases reported Tuesday

Fraser Health accounted for three quarters of all COVID-19 cases reported on Tuesday — despite its catchment serving 35 per cent of B.C.’s population.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said 285 of the 411 new cases of COVID-19 reported over the past day had been in Fraser Health.

Vancouver Coastal Health — which cares for 25 per cent of B.C.’s population — accounted for less than 10 per cent of Tuesday’s cases, with 37.

B.C.’s seven-day average daily case count continues to fall, with Fraser Health holding 1,000-dose pop-up clinics in hard hit areas like north-west Surrey.

-David Carrigg

12 a.m. – Provincial health officer reports 411 new cases and two deaths

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 411 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and two deaths.

Henry said there are now 4,890 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 360 are being treated in hospital including 127 in intensive care.

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Almost three quarters of the new cases were reported in the Fraser Health region – which remains the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic in B.C.

Henry reported one new COVID-19 outbreak – at the Cherington Place nursing home in Surrey – making six active health facility outbreaks.

As of Monday, there have been 2,566,936 doses of vaccine administered in B.C., of which 131,837 are second doses.

12 a.m. – Science World and PNE among anchor attractions to receive provincial lifeline

Science World and the Pacific National Exhibition are among the anchor attractions expected to receive up to $1 million each in funding after Premier John Horgan and Tourism Minister Melanie Mark announced a new $50 million grant to prop up struggling tourism operators.

However, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he’s disappointed that the funding leaves the city-owned PNE “critically short of the funding they need to continue operating as we’ve known and loved for over a century.”

The B.C. major anchor attractions grant will provide $1 million in funding to anchor attractions that welcome 75,000 visitors a year and $500,000 to rural tourism attractions that welcome 15,000 visitors a year. Tour bus companies will also be eligible to apply for funding.


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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