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COVID-19 update: B.C. hospitalizations drop below 800

A pedestrian wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck A pedestrian wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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The number of COVID-19-positive patients in B.C. hospitals has dropped below 800 for the first time in weeks, as the province prepares to relax several public health restrictions.

There are 787 patients with COVID-19 across the province, including 124 in intensive care, the Ministry of Health said Tuesday. The total hasn’t been that low since Jan. 16, when there were 761 test-positive patients in hospital.

The 787 includes people who were admitted for reasons unrelated to the disease, then tested positive incidentally.

Officials also announced two new coronavirus-related deaths, both in the Northern Health region, bringing the provincial death toll to 2,766.

The latest COVID-19 update comes after government officials announced they're lifting several of the province's public health restrictions.

Measures set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday will see bars and nightclubs reopen and organized events such as wedding and funeral receptions move back indoors.

During a news conference Tuesday, officials also announced that all of those businesses and venues will be permitted to operate at full capacity, along with movie theatres, performance spaces and sports arenas.

Limits on household gatherings are also being removed, allowing hosting at home to "return to normal," according to the province's plans.

Premier John Horgan credited the public's broad compliance with existing health orders for making the dramatic shift in approach possible.

B.C.'s data also continues to show the importance of vaccination in the fight against COVID-19.

So far, 90.4 per cent of eligible British Columbians age five and older have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 85.3 per cent have received two.

Among B.C. adults, 55.5 per cent have also received a third dose or booster shot.

On Tuesday, health officials also announced one new COVID-19 outbreak at The Heights at Mt. View health-care facility within the Island Health region.

They also announced that another outbreak within the Island Health region – at Island View Place – has now been declared over. That leaves 39 active outbreaks across the province, the majority in long-term care homes.

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