519 new cases of COVID-19 announced as B.C.'s active total dips below 5,000
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has recorded another 519 cases of COVID-19, as well as 12 more deaths from the disease, health officials announced Wednesday.
There are now 4,810 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C., including 360 people who are in hospital, 76 of whom are in intensive care.
The update brings B.C.'s active caseload below 5,000 for the first time since early November.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 59,072 total cases confirmed in the province, as well as 1,031 deaths.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced the new numbers in a written statement Wednesday afternoon, but updated numbers were posted to the B.C. COVID-19 dashboard before the statement was issued.
According to the dashboard, most of the new cases reported Wednesday were in the Lower Mainland, with 235 confirmed in Fraser Health and 117 in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere in the province, Interior Health recorded 84 new cases, Northern Health recorded 45 and Island Health recorded 34, which is the highest single-day increase ever seen in that health authority.
Four of the infections announced Wednesday were confirmed in people who normally reside outside Canada.
While the number of new cases being confirmed in B.C. each day has been declining in recent weeks, Vancouver Island and the province's north have been experiencing surges.
The seven-day moving average of daily new cases was 509.1 province-wide as of Tuesday, down significantly from a high of 779.4 on Nov. 26, but still several times higher than it ever got during the pandemic's first wave.
Amid this overall decline, the seven-day moving averages in Northern Health and Island Health are now higher than they've ever been, at 53.6 and 21.1, respectively.
Dix and Henry are expected to deliver their next live briefing on the pandemic Thursday.
In their joint statement Wednesday, they indicated that 63,430 people in B.C. have received COVID-19 vaccines so far.
"This will be the largest and most complex immunization program ever delivered in our province," the pair said. "It requires close alignment and co-ordination with public health teams, health authorities and many others in our health sector to ensure this is done safely and quickly."
Earlier in the day, Dix and Henry announced the addition of Vancouver Coastal Health chair Dr. Penny Ballem to the province's vaccine leadership team. They also addressed the issue of doctors from Vancouver Coastal Health caught jumping the queue to receive their second dose of vaccine, which Dix called "very disappointing."