COVID-19 update: B.C. health officials announce 498 cases, 4 deaths
Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s top health officials have announced another 498 cases of COVID-19 and four deaths from the disease.
The update, which came in a written statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, brings B.C. closer to 90,000 infections since the pandemic began. The province has now recorded a total of 89,427 cases of the coronavirus and 1,411 deaths.
Currently, 4,851 cases of COVID-19 are active in B.C. That total includes 281 people who are hospitalized, 83 of them in intensive care.
The newly added cases bring B.C.'s seven-day rolling average down slightly to 539. The rolling average of 544 recorded on Tuesday was the highest B.C. had seen since mid-January.
Wednesday's numbers did not include an update on the number of cases of coronavirus variants of concern in the province, something Dix and Henry attributed to "a lab sequencing issue."
As of Tuesday, there were 996 confirmed variant cases in B.C., with the vast majority of them (921) the B.1.1.7 variant associated with the U.K. A total of 130 variant cases remained active as of Tuesday.
B.C. has now administered 444,140 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 87,093 of which are second doses. The 357,047 first doses administered so far are enough to cover about 6.9 per cent of the province's population.
Dix and Henry said the ongoing vaccination program makes the coming weeks "a time of hope and renewal for all of us," reminding B.C. residents that public health orders now allow for outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people in public spaces.
“If you choose to see others, then please connect safely, so you are not inadvertently increasing the risks to your loved ones or yourself," the health officials said. “Some may choose a day of snowshoeing, others a bike ride with friends or a playdate at your local beach. The key is to keep it small, to keep to the same group of people and to keep using your protective layers."
There are currently 9,472 people under active public health monitoring because of exposures to known cases of COVID-19, according to Wednesday's update.
A total of 83,083 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. are now considered recovered. That represents nearly 93 per cent of all cases recorded in B.C. since the pandemic began.