It’s hard to believe the idea that this week most COVID-19 restrictions might be lifted.
During Monday’s press conference, Dr. Bonnie Henry hinted that BC will move into Step 3 of the restart plan on July 1st.
Today, a press conference will be held at 1:45 p.m. with Premier John Horgan, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix; Ravi Kahlon, the Minister of Jobs, Economic, Recovery and Innovation will also be joining them.
Details on Step 3 of British Columbia’s COVID-19 restart plan will be revealed.
“Things are looking really good in going to Step 3,” said Dr. Henry on Monday.
And Henry said it’s for good reason since cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have dropped dramatically since May.
BC’s health officials said that around 50% of BC’s population has developed antibodies to COVID-19 through infection or immunization; 78% and over 30% of eligible adults have had a dose of COVID-19 vaccinations; and close to 77% and 30% of those 12 and older have had a first-dose or are fully immunized against COVID-19, respectively.
In mid-June, BC health officials said the criteria for moving to Step 3 is at least 70% of the 18+ population vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with declining case counts and COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The last weekend of June was reported on Monday, with 143 new cases reported in a three-day period, 930 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 107 people in hospital and 37 in ICU.
Compared to the end of May, last month, when 708 cases were reported in a three-day period, 2,953 active cases, and a total of 249 people in hospital due to COVID-19 and 78 in ICU.
On Monday, BC health officials also presented data that showing that transmission is down and areas of BC that previously had cases, are showing zero cases widespread.
With transmission low it is to be expected more restrictions will be lifted, which Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed.
“It’s important to take away orders as soon as we can. We’ll now be moving towards guidance on where and when it is important to have those layers of protection, like masks,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Henry said that by Thursday, BC health officials will have further details on how the mask mandate will be operated moving forward, but still maintained the importance of there protection.
“Masks are an incentive for people who are fully immunized,” said Dr. Henry.
“If you’re fully immunized, you may not need to rely on that last layer of protection anymore.”
While the numbers have far exceeded what BC health officials anticipated, restrictions being lifted doesn’t mean we are totally back to normal.
Step 3 and 4 of BC’s Restart Plan:
Step 3 will see the provincial state of emergency and public health emergency lifted, an increased capacity for indoor and outdoor organized gatherings, with safety plans, and a return to usual indoor and outdoor personal gatherings.
Nightclubs and casinos are also welcome to reopen with capacity limits and safety plans.
Step 4 of the Restart Plan is intended to go into effect on September 7th and will see a return to normal social contact and increased gatherings, with businesses operating with new safety protocols.
With Canada seeing COVID-19 numbers drop, it’s still yet to be acknowledged whether Step 4 could come sooner than we hoped.
Here’s a further breakdown: