COVID-19 update: B.C. reports 550 new cases, 2 related deaths
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has recorded another 550 cases of COVID-19 and two related deaths, health officials announced Tuesday.
The province has now seen a total of 85,119 infections and 1,393 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
In a joint written statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix noted it's been one year since they announced the first COVID-19 death in B.C., which was also the first in Canada.
"Today, we pause and remember everyone who has died from this virus and offer our condolences to those who have lost their loved ones," they said.
"Through the loss and uncertainty that has come with this pandemic, we have seen incredible resilience, as people throughout our province have adapted to the challenges COVID-19 has brought."
The province has also confirmed another 182 cases of COVID-19 variants of concern, for a total of 576. The vast majority – 530 – involve the B.1.1.7. variant associated with the U.K., while there have been 33 cases of the B.1.351 variant discovered in South Africa and 13 of the P.1 variant found in Brazil.
Tuesday's numbers pushed B.C.'s seven-day average for coronavirus cases up to 536 per day, which is the highest it's been since Jan. 13.
The province's active caseload also inched upward to 4,869, while hospitalizations increased to 249. That includes 68 people in intensive care.
B.C. has administered another 10,054 doses of vaccines since the last COVID-19 update on Monday, for a total of 343,381, including 86,938 second doses.
"With every new person who is vaccinated, we can take comfort in knowing with each immunization, we all benefit - Elders, seniors, families and communities. Let's keep moving forward and doing our part to put COVID-19 behind us," Henry and Dix said.
On Monday, B.C. launched its phone lines for booking vaccine appointments, with varying levels of success in different health authority regions. While 8,722 appointments were booked in Fraser Health, which also offered an online option, only 369 were booked in Vancouver Coastal Health.
There was more success on Day 2, however, with thousands more appointments booked under Vancouver Coastal by Tuesday evening.
More than a million callers flooded the phone lines in the first few hours, despite the fact that only about 47,000 people across the province are currently eligible to book an appointment.
Henry and Dix reiterated that only B.C. residents over 90 and Indigenous people over 65 are able to schedule their vaccination at this stage.