COVID-19 update: B.C. reports 589 cases, 7 deaths in last update of the week
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
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has recorded another 589 cases of COVID-19 and seven related deaths, health officials announced in their last coronavirus update of the week.
The province has now identified a total of 79,262 infections and 1,355 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
The update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix follows one day after officials confirmed the province-wide ban on social gatherings must remain in place into March.
Henry cited a number of troubling trends, including an increasing seven-day average for new cases and an increasing test-positivity rate in B.C.
But there was also a new ray of hope Friday as Health Canada approved two versions of a new COVID-19 vaccine, one from Oxford-AstraZeneca and a related shot from the Serum Institute of India.
In a joint written statement, Henry and Dix said the vaccine could be used for "accelerating immunization of priority populations and essential workers."
"Unlike the vaccines that have been available to date, this new, two-dose viral vector vaccine has the benefit of being 'fridge stable,' making it much easier to transport and distribute around the province," they said.
"This new vaccine will be integrated into our provincial immunization program as delivery and supply is confirmed in the coming weeks."
B.C. has so far administered 252,373 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, including 73,808 second doses.
Another 408 people have recovered from COVID-19, leaving 4,665 active cases across the province. There are 232 people in hospital, including 63 patients in intensive care.
An additional 8,040 people are under active public health monitoring after being exposed to a known case of the disease.
Health officials had no new outbreaks to declare Friday in the community or in health-care settings.
On Tuesday, Henry announced a milestone in the fight against COVID-19, revealing that not a single case or death had been recorded in a long-term care home or assisted-living facility since her previous update.
This is a reflection of the vaccines that we have had and their use and deployment to long-term care and assisted living facilities in this province," she said at the time. "It really is remarkable."
According to data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control last week, a full 91 per cent of long-term care residents and 95 per cent of people in assisted-living facilities have received at least one dose of vaccine.
B.C. health officials are expected to share more information on the province's plan for immunizing older seniors who don't live in care homes on Monday.