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B.C. drops in-person COVID-19 briefings as cases slow to trickle

Masks not mandatory as of Canada Day, 78% of adults vaccinated
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix give a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the B.C. legislature, April 21, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. public health officials are moving from orders to advisories on COVID-19 restrictions, as travel resumes across Canada and new infections in B.C. slowed to a trickle on Tuesday.

Daily new infections stayed below 100 all last week and have continued to drop off steeply, with 50 on Sunday, 38 on Monday and a new low of 29 on Tuesday as the province confirmed its is moving to the next phase of its pandemic restart plan on July 1.

That includes the end of a mandatory mask order for indoor public spaces, with masks recommended for people who have not yet received two doses with 14 days to develop immunity. Restaurants and pubs can resume normal operations, and public health orders for private gatherings are also lifted.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the effectiveness of community and targeted vaccination clinics is highlighted by the fact that the Fraser Health region recorded only seven new cases for June 29. A few months ago the region was responsible for most of the daily cases that topped 1,200 a day a few weeks ago.

B.C. is down to 876 active cases, with 110 people in hospital and 34 in intensive care. There were no new deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the 24 hours up to Tuesday.

Dix said while he and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry aren’t getting any time off soon in a pandemic that has lasted 16 months, they are ending their regular in-person briefings. Pandemic and vaccination information will continue to be provided each weekday.

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