B.C. announces 634 more cases of COVID-19 as province tops 300,000 vaccine doses
VANCOUVER -- B.C. health officials announced 634 more cases of COVID-19 and four related deaths in their final pandemic update of the week Friday.
The written statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced that B.C. has now administered more than 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, as the province prepares to open registration for vaccine appointments to members of the general public next week.
To date, B.C. has administered 311,208 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 86,865 second doses, mostly to vulnerable populations and frontline health-care workers.
There are currently 4,901 active cases of the coronavirus in the province. That total includes 255 people who are hospitalized, 66 of whom are in intensive care.
Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 83,107 cases of COVID-19 and 1,380 deaths.
Friday's update marks the first time B.C. has recorded more than 600 new infections in a day since Feb. 18., and the highest single-day total reported since Jan. 7. It's also the first time B.C. has had more than 4,900 active cases of COVID-19 since Jan. 12.
Four new cases of coronavirus "variants of concern" have been added to the province's total since Thursday, Henry and Dix said in their statement. There have now been 250 confirmed variant cases in the province.
That total includes 222 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant associated with the U.K. and 28 cases of the B.1.351 variant associated with South Africa.
Only 12 of those variant cases are currently active, according to Friday's update.
Henry and Dix also announced a new outbreak of the coronavirus at Holmberg House Hospice in Abbotsford.
B.C.'s infection numbers are trending in the wrong direction just as its vaccination program prepares to accelerate with the integration of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the opening of community registration.
“Building on this momentum, the federal government approved a fourth COVID-19 vaccine today," Henry and Dix said in their statement. "The newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine is another tool in our immunization program that will help accelerate protection of people throughout our province."
The health officials referred to this week as "a week of progress" in B.C.'s COVID-19 response, but cautioned that it's not yet safe to ease public health restrictions.
“Our days are brighter, but the number of new cases remains higher than where we want it to be," Henry and Dix said. "So, as we get outside and enjoy the many activities we can do safely, let’s ensure we are also staying the course with our safety measures."
Most of the newly added cases in Friday's update were recorded in the Lower Mainland, with 365 in the Fraser Health region and 149 in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere in the province, Northern Health added 60 cases, Interior Health added 33 and Island Health added 26. One new case reported Friday was detected in someone who resides outside Canada.
There are 8,861 people under active public health monitoring because of exposures to known cases of COVID-19, and a total of 76,752 people who tested positive for the disease have now recovered.