COVID-19 update: B.C. reports 15 deaths and 564 cases
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 -- British Columbia announced another 15 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, as well as 564 new infections.
The province has now recorded a total of 1,119 coronavirus-related fatalities and 62,976 cases since the start of the pandemic.
In a joint written statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province's COVID-19 curve is "trending in the right direction," but that the disease continues to spread widely throughout communities.
"We need to do everything we can to break the chain of transmission. Right now is the time to do that," they said.
"We must all continue to use our safety basics – at work, school, home and in the community. Right now, this is our number 1 means of keeping our communities safe."
B.C. now has 4,450 active cases – down from a peak of around 10,000 in mid-December – and 309 patients in hospital. That's the lowest number of hospitalizations since the end of November.
Of the total number of recorded COVID-19 cases in the province, approximately 89 per cent – or 56,010 people – have recovered.
Health officials also announced a new community cluster of 215 test-positive cases in the Williams Lake area on Thursday. Interior Health indicated the cluster is linked to "recent social events and gatherings."
Henry and Dix urged anyone who believes they're experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to get tested immediately.
There were no new outbreaks declared in long-term care homes or hospitals, and six such outbreaks – at Vancouver General Hospital, Ridge Meadows Hospital, Hart House, Fleetwood Villa, Arbutus Care Centre and Renfrew Care Centre – have ended.
B.C. has administered a total of 104,901 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, including 1,680 second doses. Tuesday of this week marked 35 days since the first vaccine doses were given out in the province, which is the extended interval for second doses that was decided by health officials.
On Friday, B.C. Premier John Horgan, Henry and others are scheduled to share more information on the government's mass vaccination plans. Residents are expected to get a rough idea of when they should expect to receive the vaccine.