B.C. reports 722 cases of COVID-19, 7 deaths in final update of the week
VANCOUVER -- B.C. health officials announced 722 new cases of COVID-19 and seven related deaths Friday in their last pandemic update of the week.
The province has now recorded a total of 134,341 infections and 1,602 related fatalities since the start of the crisis.
In a joint written statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix offered their condolences to the "family, friends and caregivers of the people who have died as a result of COVID-19."
Though case numbers remain high, the province's curve has been bending in the right direction. The latest update left the seven-day average at 694 infections per day, the lowest it's been since March 25.
B.C.'s active caseload also dropped to 6,757. The last time that number fell below 6,800 was March 28.
Hospitalizations have been declining in recent days as well, after reaching record levels last week. There are now 445 people battling COVID-19 in hospital, including 157 patients in intensive care.
Officials have stressed that it's still too early to loosen restrictions, however. With Mother's Day coming up on Sunday, Henry and Dix asked British Columbians to act responsibility.
"Following all of the public health orders, staying small and local, and getting your vaccine is making a difference, so let's all keep going this weekend, on Mother's Day and in the days ahead," they said.
The province has administered another 46,946 doses of vaccine since Thursday's update, pushing the total past the two-million mark. Some 2,042,442 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines have been given out, including enough first doses to protect 38 per cent of the provincial population.
When factoring out those who aren't eligible for vaccination, 45 per cent of B.C. has now received at least one dose of vaccine.
"For everyone who has received their vaccine, we thank you for doing your part. For those who will soon be eligible, we encourage you to join this vaccine effort when it is your turn," Henry and Dix said.
Currently, anyone 49 and older can book an appointment through the province's age-based program.
The government is also continuing to do targeted vaccinations outside of that program, including at outbreak locations and in high-transmission neighbourhoods. There are currently more than two-dozen neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland where anyone age 30 and up is eligible to book a shot.
Henry also held an unscheduled news conference Friday to address leaked documents from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, first obtained by the Vancouver Sun, which revealed that officials are gathering more detailed information on case locations and vaccination numbers than they are releasing to the public.
The provincial health officer defended the government's handling of COVID-19 data, but also said B.C. is working on providing more detailed information in the future.