1,462 cases, 11 deaths of COVID-19 in B.C. as phone lines open for vaccine appointments
VANCOUVER -- As British Columbia launched another part of its vaccine rollout plan, provincial health officials announced another 1,462 cases of the novel coronavirus had been recorded over the weekend.
The latest update, given by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in Victoria Monday, brings the total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 84,569.
Of those, 4,854 are considered to be active cases. The doctor said of the 240 people currently hospitalized with the disease, 66 are in intensive or critical care.
Nineteen of the cases confirmed over the weekend were epidemiologically linked, she said. Over the past few days there have also been 144 cases of what health officials in Canada are calling "variants of concern," bringing the province's total to 394.
Of those, the vast majority of cases are the variant associated with the U.K.
In addition to 363 cases of B.1.1.7, another 31 are B.22.214.171.124., a variant tied to South Africa.
She said 87 cases are active. The remaining are considered recovered. Most have been in the Fraser Health region, where the majority of cases overall have been located.
Henry said in one-quarter of variant cases, health officials don't know how they were transmitted. This shows the variants are now being transmitted within communities, she said.
There were also 11 more deaths attributed to COVID-19. The total COVID-19 death toll in B.C. has now reached 1,391.
In addition to those known to have the novel coronavirus, another 8,723 were being actively monitored by public health officials as of Monday, Henry said.
She added 78,237 are now considered fully recovered, or 92.5 per cent of known cases.
On Friday, B.C.'s daily infections total surpassed 600 for the first time since Feb. 18. With 634 cases, it was the highest single-day total since Jan. 7.
It was also the first time B.C. has had more than 4,900 active cases of COVID-19 since Jan. 12.
While the province's case numbers have been relatively high, Henry suggested that officials could soon be easing some of the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place since November.
On Monday morning, phone lines opened for people over the age of 90 and Indigenous people over the age of 65 to register for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Henry's latest update on vaccinations was that 333,327 doses have been given out in B.C. Of those, 86,925 are second doses.
But Henry outlined a new outbreak in the province, this time at a care home where some have already had both shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Henry said all of the residents and staff had been offered the vaccine at Cottonwoods Care Centre in the province's Interior, and that the uptake was high.
"This serves to remind us that while we are very confident that vaccine is very effective, and prevents particularly severe illness and death, it doesn't necessarily mean that all transmission will be stopped," she said.
The doctor urged everyone to continue taking precautions, particularly when visiting older people.
Sharing some good news, she said the outbreak at Royal City Manor has been declared over, something she said was a "huge relief" to staff and families.
An outbreak at the Simon Fraser University child care centre is also considered over.
The latest updates bring the total active number of health-care outbreaks in B.C. to 18.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alyse Kotyk