As vaccination rates climb and daily transmission rates drop, many British Columbians wonder when health officials will ease restrictions on social gatherings.
But don't plan on having any wild parties this summer.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters in the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday (May 13) that vaccination rates are increasing across the province but that it is still too early to make any significant changes to existing health measures.
While over 50 per cent of eligible adults have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccination in B.C., Henry noted that "we are not using only immunized percentage, though that's obviously an important piece."
Instead, Henry said health officials are also looking at the trends in transmission across B.C. communities. "I know we spend a lot of time thinking about the day-to-day numbers but really it's how do we look at the numbers over time - what's happening in our communities."
If transmission rates continue to trend down, Henry said by the July long weekend people "should be able to do even more in terms of having small gatherings [and] having those events that are so important."
Moving into the fall, if case rates continue to decline, Henry said restrictions could be eased further. However, she emphasized that the transition will be done "slowly" and "gradually."
"This virus has taught us that we cannot be complacent. I'm watching very carefully what's happening in the UK and I think that's a very good example for people to think about - slowly, gradually reopening, getting back to doing the things that we need to do in our lives," she said.
New maps show which B.C. communities are COVID-19 hot spots
The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has released new maps that show new coronavirus cases down to the community level.
The maps show the testing positivity rates in communities located within local health areas. So far, the province is only providing community-level data for Metro Vancouver, Abbotsford, Greater Victoria and Kelowna.
Each week, the BCCDC releases an update of the COVID-19 cases for the most recent seven-day period (Sunday to Saturday). Previously, it only provided information for local health areas, rather than community-level data.