VANCOUVER -- It's been one year since the first COVID-19 case was publicly announced in B.C. and since then, the province has seen more than 1,000 people die from the disease, restrictions come and go and the promise of vaccine ahead.

Jan. 28, 2020, marked the first time a case of the novel coronavirus was formally announced in B.C. after a man who travelled to the province from Wuhan, China, tested positive. Since then, more than 65,000 people have also tested positive in the province.

In the last 12 months, British Columbians have experienced varying degrees of public health orders, from closures of many businesses in March to an economic restart in the spring and summer, then back to severe social restrictions as the province entered its second wave in the fall.

St. Paul's Hospital

"Over the past year, British Columbians – like people around the world – have faced challenges, hardships and loss. COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down," Premier John Horgan said in a statement.

"While the end of the pandemic is in sight, thanks to the availability of vaccines, the threat is not over. We must remain vigilant."

Deaths overwhelmingly in long-term care

Tragically, more than 1,100 people have died from COVID-19 over the past year. The first person to die of the disease in B.C. also marked the first death from the coronavirus in the entire country. That victim was an 80-year-old man living at the Lynn Valley Care Centre, a care home that struggled to contain its outbreak, leading to 20 deaths before it was declared over.

"Today is an appropriate time to commemorate the more than 1,000 British Columbians we have lost so far to COVID-19," Horgan said earlier in the week. "It is also the time to acknowledge the countless efforts and sacrifices people have made to help protect and take care of others over the last year."

Long-term care homes

Throughout the pandemic the province has been criticized for its response to outbreaks in long-term care homes. At Little Mountain Place in Vancouver, 99 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 41 people have died to date. There, reports have suggested staff were overworked, came to work while sick and didn't have proper protective equipment. 

A report released earlier this month showed about two-thirds of deaths in the province related to COVID-19 until then had happened in long-term care, assisted-living or independent-living facilities. 

Little Mountain Place

Now, B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie is looking into all care homes in the province, but specifically those that failed to contain outbreaks and faced devastating consequences. Those include Little Mountain Place, Langley Lodge, Tabor Village and Lynn Valley Care Centre. 

Vaccines on the horizon

On Dec. 15, the first British Columbian received a COVID-19 vaccine dose, about a week after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for use in Canada. The province announced residents and health-care workers at long-term care facilities would be first to receive the vaccine in the province, with doses to be distributed to the general population by age after.

COVID-19 vaccine B.C.

That full timeline was released on Jan. 22, with 4.3 million British Columbians expected to be vaccinated by the end of September. However, the timeline is based solely on shipments of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and shipment delays are already happening. 

In a COVID-19 update earlier this week, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the province will delay second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to 42 days from 35 as a way to manage the shortage. As well, the province's premier says he's been assured by the federal government that B.C. will receive its first total allotment of doses by the end of March.

COVID-19 vaccine B.C.

Even though vaccine doses are being distributed, Horgan and Henry have warned the province still has a long road ahead in the pandemic.

"Despite the fact vaccines have arrived, we have a long, long way to go," Horgan said at a news conference Wednesday.

"I want British Columbians to reflect on how much they've sacrificed over the past 12 months and ask you to dig down a little bit deeper. Find that extra gear to get through the next weeks and months as we get our vaccine program up and running."