COVID-19 update: B.C. adds 120 cases, 1 related death
VANCOUVER -- B.C. health officials announced 120 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, and one death related to the disease.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided Thursday's update in a live briefing from Victoria.
They said there are now 1,451 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C. That total includes 131 people who are hospitalized, and 44 of those are in intensive care units.
Those totals represent a slight decrease in total hospitalizations, but a slight increase in ICU admissions over the last 24 hours.
The latest numbers bring B.C.'s rolling seven-day average for daily new cases to 114, which is the lowest it's been since Oct. 4.
B.C. has now administered 4,231,871 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including enough first doses to partially immunize 76.5 per cent of adults in the province.
Among B.C. residents ages 12 and older, 74.8 per cent have now had at least one dose of vaccine.
Second doses have been ramping up in recent weeks, and B.C. has now fully immunized 768,008 people, Henry said Thursday.
She dedicated a portion of her remarks to reacting to new guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, which announced Thursday that it was recommending a messenger RNA vaccine as a second dose for those whose first dose was the AstraZeneca viral vector vaccine.
Henry said the update was "not surprising," given that studies are beginning to show evidence that having one dose of each type of vaccine generates a better immune response in the person being immunized.
At the same time, the provincial health officer said B.C. would not be changing its guidance for second doses of AstraZeneca.
"Mixing an mRNA after a dose of AstraZeneca may give some boost to the immune system, but we don't know whether that translates into whether you're better protected or not," Henry said. "We don't know that definitively and we may not know that for some time. As a result, here in B.C., our advice has not changed: You make the choice that is right for you, because all the vaccines that we have for use here in B.C. are safe and highly effective."
The new infections announced Thursday bring B.C. to a total of 146,794 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Of those, 143,579 people - or roughly 98 per cent of those infected - have recovered from the disease.
Most of Thursday's new cases were found in the Lower Mainland, with 13 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 53 in Fraser Health.
Elsewhere in B.C., Interior Health had the largest increase, with 43 new infections identified. Island Health and Northern Health each saw five new cases, while one person who tested positive normally resides outside Canada.
The person who died in the last 24 hours was in their 80s and contracted the coronavirus in the outbreak that recently ended at Richmond Hospital, Henry said.
She also announced the end of a COVID-19 outbreak at Cherington Place in Surrey, leaving the province with three active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted-living facilities.
As of the most recent update on care home caseloads from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, a total of 28 people had tested positive in the Cherington Place outbreak, and four residents had died.