COVID-19 update: B.C. adds 1,005 cases as hospitalizations continue to climb
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has recorded another 1,005 cases of COVID-19 and six related deaths, health officials announced Friday as the province once again broke records for coronavirus hospitalizations.
There are now a record 425 people battling the disease in hospital, with a record 127 patients in intensive care, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint written statement.
The latest infections also pushed the province's active caseload to a new record high of 10,084. B.C. has now recorded a total of 117,080 cases and 1,530 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
With sunny weather in the forecast this weekend in Vancouver, Henry and Dix stressed that seeing people outdoors is "not without risk," and urged the public to use their layers of protection if meeting friends or family members in person.
"This means keeping a safe distance and wearing masks, especially if someone is higher risk for serious illness," they said.
"If you choose to see a close friend for brunch on a patio, then make sure it is the same friend every time. If you decide to have a barbecue in your backyard, then keep to your roommates or family only."
Health officials stressed that people should not look for "loopholes" in the province's current COVID-19 public health orders, which allow for gathering outside in small numbers but still prohibit meeting people socially indoors.
The total number of identified cases involving variants of concern has increased to 5,739, of which 212 remain active. During her monthly modelling presentation on Thursday, Henry revealed about 60 per cent of new cases being discovered across B.C. now involve variants – and that climbs to about 70 per cent in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
The new variant cases being identified are split approximately 50/50 between the P.1 variant associated with Brazil and the B.1.1.7 variant associated with the U.K. Both are believed to be much easier to catch, and there are concerns P.1 may have some vaccine resistance.
The modelling also predicted that if B.C. residents don't decrease their "infectious contacts" to 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, the province could soon be recording upwards of 2,000 cases per day.
Meanwhile, the province's vaccine rollout is continuing to pick up steam. Another 46,228 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines have been distributed since the last update, for a total of 1,282,091 doses.
That includes 1,194,121 first doses – enough to protect about 23 per cent of the population – and 87,970 second doses.
On Monday, health officials are expected to provide an update on the temporary public health orders introduced on March 29, which include a ban on indoor dining at restaurants. Dix has previously suggested they will be extended, though it's unclear for how long.