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COVID cases drop to less than one per day on Coast

Doctors say cottage visits don’t count as essential travel
A BCCDC map shows a breakdown of vaccine coverage according to local health area for people aged 55 and older. The higher the percentage of people vaccinated, the darker the shade of green.

COVID-19 infections on the Sunshine Coast have been falling to less than one case per day, according to the latest Sunshine Coast COVID Physician Task Force update – though they say precautions are still needed given its persistence.

“We are happy to report that our local COVID-19 infection numbers have dropped since our last update, with a decrease down to less than one positive test per day over the past week,” said the May 13 update.

“While this is positive news, COVID-19 is still here on the Coast and we need to exercise every precaution to keep those numbers moving in the right direction.”

The week prior, from May 2 to 8, the Sunshine Coast had 10 confirmed cases, according to data released by the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The last week of April, BCCDC reported 11 cases on the Coast.

In Powell River, cases have remained low, with two confirmed May 2 to 8, while the local health area of Howe Sound, which includes Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish, continues to see a dramatic downshift in case counts, with 11 reported during the same period.

Vaccine, meanwhile, is making its way into more Sunshine Coast arms. As of May 13, the task force reported 17,000 people on the Sunshine Coast have received a dose. 

Data released this week by the BCCDC show that at 80 per cent, the Sunshine Coast is among the top performing local health areas in the province when it comes to its vaccine coverage for people 55 and older.

Between 41 and 60 per cent of Sunshine Coast residents 18 years and older had received their first dose as of May 10.

Provincially, 2.27 million doses had been administered as of May 12, 115,295 of which are second doses.

The task force doctors, as with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) officials, have clarified that anyone on the Sunshine Coast who received a dose prior to April 6 and haven’t registered online using the booking system must do so to receive a notice to book their second shot.

Anyone 18 and older is eligible to register, while Indigenous people 18 and older, pregnant people 16 and older and the general population aged 30 and older (born in 1991 or earlier) are eligible to book a vaccine.

People can register online at, by phone at 1-833-838-2323, or in person at any Service BC location.

On May 12, the province announced that given limited availability of the AstraZeneca vaccine, B.C. is holding all remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for second-dose booster immunizations.

People who have already booked vaccine appointments at pharmacies will have those honoured, but no more appointments will be accepted, according to the announcement.

As for non-essential travel – that issue has also made its way into the task force update, given the approaching Victoria Day long weekend.

While people from other areas within the VCH and Fraser Health regions are free to travel to the Sunshine Coast while the emergency order banning non-essential travel between regional zones remains in place, the task force is asking travellers to think twice.

“If you are thinking about visiting the Coast, we would encourage you to stay home until travel within B.C. has been opened up again,” said the May 13 update, adding that provincial health orders advise people to stay local “unless you have an essential reason to travel (opening up your cottage doesn’t count).”