16 more deaths from COVID-19 in B.C. as province announces vaccine plan
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has added 619 more cases of COVID-19 to its total, as well as 16 deaths.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided Wednesday's numbers in a live briefing on the coronavirus.
Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 39,337 cases of COVID-19 overall, and 559 deaths from the disease. The 16 additional deaths recorded Wednesday tie the province's record for the largest single-day death toll.
Currently, there are 9,329 active cases of the coronavirus in the province. That includes 338 people who are in hospital, 75 of whom are in intensive care.
Wednesday's update came alongside details of B.C.'s plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines over the coming weeks.
Henry said almost 4,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be arriving at two sites in the province - one in the Fraser Health region and one in Vancouver Coastal Health - next week.
Currently, B.C. cannot transport the vaccine once it arrives in the province, so the first 4,000 doses will be distributed to health-care workers working in long-term care and assisted-living facilities who are able to go to the vaccine distribution sites for their immunizations.
Later doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed at a greater number of sites, and the Moderna vaccine is more easily transported, so it will be used to immunize residents of long-term care homes as well as seniors over age 80 living in the community.
Henry said the province expects to be able to immunize close to 400,000 people by March, at which point additional types of vaccines will be available.
The provincial health officer also announced one additional outbreak in a long-term care home, at Courtyard Terrace Seniors Community in Burnaby. In a news release later in the day, Fraser Health said four residents at the assisted-living facility had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Two more outbreaks - at Royal Ascot Care Centre in Vancouver and in one unit at Burnaby Hospital - have been declared over, Henry added.
B.C. still has 57 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted-living facilities, as well as eight outbreaks in acute-care facilities.
"This is where we hope to be able to make a difference with the vaccine that is coming next week," Henry said when discussing outbreaks in long-term care.
Most of the new cases announced Wednesday were detected in the Lower Mainland, with 384 recorded in the Fraser Health region and 121 in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere in B.C., 81 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours in the Interior Health region, and there were 27 cases in Northern Health and five in Island Health. One of Wednesday's cases was recorded in someone who normally resides outside of Canada.
A total of 11,126 people are currently under active public health monitoring in B.C., and 28,448 who have had the coronavirus are considered recovered.