COVID-19 update for May 21: Poll shows nearly half of B.C. residents skirting travel ban | 357 new cases, three deaths | Parents with vaccine bookings can bring children age 12 to 17 for jab

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 21, 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 20:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 140,953 (4,636 active cases)
• New cases since May 19: 357
• Total deaths: 1,661 (3 new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 331
• Intensive care: 113
• Total vaccinations: 2,687,360 doses administered; 135,246 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 134,521
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 5


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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.

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


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. – Almost half of British Columbians polled are still skirting travel bans

Almost half of British Columbians admit to having travelled for non-essential reasons in the past three months, according to a new poll.

Carried out by Leger for Postmedia, the poll comes as the premier said to expect an easing of restrictions on gatherings soon and as RCMP prepare to set up road checks to enforce travel restrictions that remain in place until midnight on Tuesday.


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“When there has been a long weekend, we have seen an increase in case counts, which leads to an increase in potential fatalities, an increase in hospitalization, which could lead to intensive care units being overrun,” said Premier John Horgan on Thursday.

“I appreciate it will be a gorgeous weekend,” he said. “So stay local, stay close to home. We need to follow the rules until we come out of the circuit-breaker. Let’s get through this weekend. It is so critically important. We can’t stress enough how important it is to follow the guidelines.

The Leger poll showed that 40 per cent of British Columbians over the past three months continued to travel for non-essential reasons, particularly those between 18 and 34 years old.

Of the 1,000 respondents, 36 per cent went outside of their neighbourhood, 24 per cent went outside of their city, eight per cent travelled outside of their health region, two per cent went outside of B.C., and one per cent travelled outside of Canada.

The poll also showed a majority — between 77 and 87 per cent — of respondents supported both allowing residents to follow travel restrictions without government enforcement and enforcing and fining people because “residents cannot be trusted” to follow the guidelines.

-Susan Lazaruk

5 a.m. – As British Columbians continue to register for first jab, it is still unclear if vaccine hesitancy will stall pace

B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program appears to show no signs of letting up.


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For about 10 days, the average number of people getting vaccinated daily has been 50,000. And there are more than 808,000 British Columbians registered for a vaccine on the province’s booking system as of May 19 who had yet to get a first dose, according to information provided by the Ministry of Health.

That means about 75 per cent of adults in B.C. have either had their first jab or are registered to get it.

Recent Canadian government modelling suggests restrictions can be eased for the summer once 75 per cent of adults receive a first dose and 20 per cent their second doses.

About 39,000 people a day in B.C. registered to get vaccinated last week, less than the daily number of people getting the injection, but there is still a backlog of people waiting and wanting a vaccine.

Some scientists have said, however, that higher levels of vaccination will be needed, as much as 85 per cent of adults, because the vaccines don’t provide complete protection and because surging virus variants transmit more easily and cause worse outcomes.

-Gord Hoekstra

12 a.m. – Parents with a COVID-19 vaccine booking can bring their children 12-17 with them for a dose

Parents who have a COVID-19 vaccine booked can now bring their children aged 12 to 17 with them to get the dose as well.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said this was a way to help get the 310,000 youth aged 12-16 in B.C. immunized as quickly as possible. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for use in children aged 12 to 17.


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Henry said there were 357 new cases of the disease over the past day and three deaths. There are now 4,636 active cases of the disease in B.C. – of which 331 are being treated in hospital including 113 in intensive care.

Henry said youth did not need permission from their parents or caregivers to receive the vaccine.

Premier John Horgan said restrictions on travel within three regions in B.C. based on health regions would be lifted on Tuesday, when the government explains its COVID-19 restart plan.

12 a.m. – B.C. set to announce provincial restart plan on Tuesday

The British Columbia government is poised to announce details of a provincial restart plan to support the post-pandemic economy.

Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s economic recovery minister, told the legislature today a restart announcement is set for Tuesday, but he provided few other details.

Kahlon made the comments during question period, where the Opposition Liberals called for an economic plan that includes targets and timelines.


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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