COVID-19 update for May 20: Premier set to announce vaccine plan for youth | More road checks on long weekend | 521 new cases, eight 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 20, 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 19:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 140,596 (4,815 active cases)
• New cases since May 17: 521
• Total deaths: 1,658 (8 new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 340
• Intensive care: 118
• Total vaccinations: 2,623,907 doses administered; 135,246 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 133,985
• 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


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.

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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


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

Premier John Horgan is expected to join health officials to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

Horgan is expected to announce B.C.’s plans today on how it will vaccinate thousands of children and youth in the province
against COVID-19.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for use in children aged 12 to 17.

5 a.m. – Mounties to increase COVID-19 road checks on four highways this weekend

The head of the RCMP’s B.C. Highway Patrol says COVID-19 travel checkpoints will be bolstered over the coming Victoria Day long weekend.


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Superintendent Holly Turton said check times at the four established locations on Highway 1, 3, 5 and 99 would be extended and others checkpoints established.

Under a provincial health order it is unlawful to travel between three regions in B.C., as defined by health authority boundaries – under threat of a $525 fine. This order – which applies to non-essential travel – will expire on May 25 and could be extended.

5 a.m. – SFU researchers map secondary health effects of COVID-19

In the densely populated West End and Downtown, there’s a sea of dark pink to indicate it’s a high risk area for loneliness and isolation — not surprising given its high percentage of people 65 years of age and older and number of people living in private single dwellings.

But click on the level of education disruption, which looks at the percentage of people aged five to 19, and it’s a different story: the map switches to beige, indicating a low risk.

Overall, in a map measuring the potential secondary health impacts of  COVID-19, the two neighbourhoods are light green and dark green, indicating they’re at medium high risk and high risk in the later phases of the pandemic.

Anyone can go to the map and check on the risk factors for their neighbourhood by typing in their address. The map has been created by a team of researchers at Simon Fraser University to focus on the pandemic’s longer term impacts.

SFU geography professor Valorie Crooks said a post-pandemic world is beginning to take shape as people start thinking about the reopening of the U.S. border and the resumption of international travel.


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“One of the things we wanted to contribute to that dialogue was a bit of a pause to say, ‘Wait a minute,’” she said in an interview.

“While there are a lot of things we can look forward to in terms of resuming aspects of our lives, we need to recognize that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to be lasting far into the future.”

The interactive map of the province is based on five factors contributing to secondary health impacts: housing insecurity, job insecurity, occupational burnout, loneliness/isolation, and educational disruption.

-Kevin Griffin

5 a.m. – B.C. restaurants place bets on when indoor-dining restrictions will lift

Managers at Tap & Barrel-affiliated restaurants have been busy hiring and training staff at their locations around Vancouver in anticipation of a reopening of indoor dining, though CEO Daniel Frankel isn’t placing bets on exactly when that will be.

“If you look at it historically, if you look at every decision Dr. Bonnie (Henry) has made, they haven’t been easy to guess,” said Frankel, who heads the seven-property Tap & Barrel Group.

And Tuesday, Premier John Horgan didn’t offer a more definitive date other than “we will give as much notice as we can” about the end of the so-called “circuit breaker” restrictions, including indoor, in-person restaurant dining announced March 29.

“I want people to understand, though, that we are not out of this yet,” Horgan said, and the restrictions will remain in place until next week.


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On Monday, Henry cautioned people to “not expect to see one day everything is going to come back.”

The order was first in place until April 19, but extended to May 25 as COVID-19 infection rates declined, but remained uncomfortably high.

However, with new daily infections dropping to 411 on Tuesday, active cases declining to 4,890, and vaccination rates rising with appointments open to everyone over 18, pressure is also increasing to lift those restrictions.

That, however, will be done “slowly and gradually,” Henry said, with pauses to guard against a resurgence of infections.

-Derrick Penner

5 a.m. – Vaccine mixing and dose spacing study seeks B.C. volunteers

B.C. is looking for 300 volunteers to be part of a national study into the impact of changing COVID-19 vaccine dose intervals and whether it’s safe to mix vaccines.

Dr. Manish Sadarangani, a Vancouver-based principal investigator on the project, said the study would determine the effect of different COVID-19 dosing intervals on immunity, and what the immune response is if two doses of different COVID-19 vaccines are used.

When the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were rolled out in B.C. last December and January the set dose interval was between 14 and 21 days.

However, manufacturing and supply problems meant vaccines dried up in late January and early February, forcing the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, to extend the interval between first and second dose to four months. This gap is now approved by Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization.


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Reports of blood clots in B.C. from the AstraZeneca vaccine have also led to concerns from people who are set to receive the second dose of that vaccine. A report from Spain released Tuesday found that giving a second dose of Pfizer to someone who had received a first shot of AstraZeneca was safe and effective.

To participate in the study visit this website.

-David Carrigg

12 a.m. – 521 new cases, eight additional deaths as registration system opens for youth ages 12 to 17

B.C. reported 521 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total of active cases in the province to 4,815.

Of the active cases, 340 people are in hospital, including 118 in intensive care. The majority of the new cases are in Fraser Health (335) and Vancouver Coastal Health (77).

There were eight reported deaths, bringing the total death toll from the virus to 1,658.

More than 2.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given to people, said health officials in a statement.

On Wednesday, the provincial Get Vaccinated website is allowing youth 12 to 17 years old to register to receive a future invitation for a vaccination appointment. More details are expected tomorrow.

Health officials are also asking anyone immunized before April 15 before the online registration site was launched to register in order to simplify notification for the second-dose booking. If you are unsure, call 1-833-838-2323 to make sure you are registered.


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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